As the capital of Yunnan, Kunming strays from the traditional architecture and environment seen in many of the outer regions and has developed a more cosmopolitan flavour. While Kunming city may have attached itself to the modern dwellings of the present day China, it still maintains its laid back nature.
Located 2,000m above sea level in south-west china, the province enjoys comfortable climate and is well known for its glorious flowers. With these attributes, it is no wonder that people call it the “City of Eternal Spring”.
With little in the way of extremes, the Kunming climate is generally mild. January is when the city is at its coldest, though still in the high single digits, and July is when the heat peaks at a mere average of 24°C. When planning your travels, be sure to take into consideration the rainy season which lasts from May through to October. While summer is the best climate to travel in, the city can become a fair bit busier.
Once in Kunming, head straitght for the Western Hills. Here, south-west of the city, you can get spectacular views of the Dian Chi Lake. You can either climb on foot or travel by minibus; either way you will be glad you did, as from this lookout you can see the 40km long lake. Spot the fishing villages along its edges and the traditional bamboo boats floating on the calm waters.
Another must is the Yuantong Si, Yunnan’s prevalent Buddhist complex. Although it has been rebuilt on several occasions throughout the years, it remains a popular pilgrimage spot. Those that come to view the complex leave inspired by its golden skin. The stories go that the Buddha was built in this spot to appease a dragon that supposedly lived in the pond below.
After satisfying your spiritual desires, head down to the Flowers and Bird Market. You will find copious stalls of colour in amongst souvenir shops, cultural mementos, and rows of pets. It has become a popular eclectic market amongst the locals and tourists.
While researching Hotels in the area, consider these as your Kunming Hotel Guide:
So for a mix of cosmopolitan city life and the attractions of the traditional China, Kunming City provides a beautiful nest for those wanting a mix of old and new.