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City Guide: Kunming

Kunming is one of the biggest cities in Western China and the provincial hub of the Yunnan province. The city is also fascinating for tourists. Learn more about what to see and do in this City Guide!

China is a country full of different cities and cultures. The Yunnan province, located in the South-West of China, sure is one of the interesting parts of the country. While especially Dali and Lijiang are famous, I would also consider Kunming worth visiting. You can easily combine all three cities and also visit the fascinating Shilin Stone Forest when in Kunming. In this guide, we’ll give you a couple more inspirations on what to do when in Kunming!

Dragon Gate & the Western Hills of Kunming

If there is one real highlight in Kunming, it’s definitely the Western Hills. Located on the opposite side of Dian Lake, the location as such is already pretty special. You can reach the either by car, when arriving from the North, but taking the cable car is much more fascinating – for the views alone.

Kunming Cable Car

Once you have reached the Western Hills, you have the chance to enjoy magnificent views from several spots.

Kunming Longmen

However, most visits are here for the Dragon Gate, also known as Longmen, which has a very special place in Chinese history and culture.

Kunming Longmen

To get there, you have to go for a steep climb along the side of the hills, which is fascinating way to walk. However, it can get very crowded here.

Kunming Longmen

The Dragon Gate per se isn’t even that special, in my opinion.

Kunming Longmen

Yet, the views alone make it worth to take the walk. Plus, there are plenty of other nice things to see, from temples to the views to the nature.

Kunming Longmen

When in the Western Hills of Kunmin, you can also explore plenty of other spots as the whole area is kind of a culture park.

Western Hills Kunming

There are various pathways leading to different temples, each and everyone special in its own and really beautiful.

Kunming Longmen

I can really recommend taking some time for the Western Hills as there is so much to see that you can easily spend a full day here.

Western Hills Kunming

In my opinion, the Western Hills in Kunming are a real visit and something you definitely shouldn’t miss out on!

City Center & Cuihu Park in Kunming

The opposite is true for the city center of Kunming, which has not really anything particular to offer. The only really nice spot is Cuihu Park, which is the green oasis in Kunming.

Kunming Cuihu Park

The green lake spanning through this park makes it a great place to relax and rewind a bit.

Kunming Cuihu Park

At the same time, Cuihu Park is also really busy, particularly on weekends.

Kunming Cuihu Park

Other than that, there really is nothing special to see in the city of Kunming, which is a stark contrast to cities like Beijing and Shanghai, both offering a fascinating city center.

Jindian National Forest Park Kunming

While exploring Shilin for a day trip is a real must when visiting Kunming, I’d also recommend paying the Jindian National Forest Park a visit.

Kunming Jindian National Forest Park

It’s about 30 minutes away from the city center by car and located on yet another mountain.

Kunming Jindian National Forest Park

Here, you can find various different temples and a lot of places to get a sense of the local culture.

Kunming Jindian National Forest Park

Furthermore, there are a couple of different parks and other buildings, worth having a look at.

Kunming Jindian National Forest Park

While no must-see like the Western Hills, I’d say that you can spend an enjoyable half-day exploring this part of Kunming.

Overall impressions of Kunming

Kunming somewhat reminded me of Chengdu, a city without a lot of special spots in the city center itself, but exciting spots around town. While that might sound like you don’t have to go to Kunming, I would still recommend going as the Western Hills, Shilin and also the Jindian National Forest Park are definitely worth seeing. Plus, Kunming is a local transportation hub and is a good spot to start your tour through Yunnan province.

Do you have any questions about Kunming? Feel free to ask or share your impressions in the comments!

Check here for more reviews of cities all around the world!

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