Kunming Things to Do Tips by hooiluangoh Top 5 Page for this destination
Kunming Things to Do: 182 reviews and 325 photos
The golden temple
The Chinese general who opened the gate at Shan Hai Guan (in the north) to the Qing army and who was ultimately responsible for the collapse of the Ming Dynasty.
The Qing court thanked him by making him King of the Southwest. Here in the Golden Temple, which is a huge park with many beautiful botanical gardens, also houses the golden temple.
The golden temple is made of 250 MT of tonnes. It shines.
Address: North east of the city.
Directions: Bus 10 gets there.
It is called Jin1 Dian4 in Mandarin.
The nature part of Western Hill
This is a tourist spot many Chinese will visit. The interesting thing about it is that the stone-slabbed path to reach the dragon gate was entirely built by some religious hermits, manually, using simple tools, about 400 years ago.
That place also offers a good view of Dianchi(the biggest lake in Yunnan). From the temple of Dragon Gate, you can see the sheer cliff dropping down to the side to Dian-chi.
Spare at least half a day for this visit.
Admission : RMB 20.
It's also an idea to take the ski lift (RMB15) from Western Hill's mid-level. It goes up to the summit, and the view along the way is spectacular, the air crisp. From there you can take the steps down. This way it is less tiring especially for those who are not used to walking too much.
Note: only the steps from "Dragon Gate" downwards were manually built, the rest were only constructed recently for the sake of the ski-lift.
Address: West side of the city.
Directions: In the western part of the city.
Take a bus to 6th route bus terminal on Renminzhonglu, then take bus no. 6 to get to the foot of the hill. Then take a private bus to get up there for RMB3 each. Alternatively you can climb the hill on foot.
The "cable car" up to Dragon's back door
This is an excellent way to see the other side of the Hill.
When you get to the stop where the passengers vans end, you will find two cable car stations. One runs the proper enclosed cars the ferry passengers to the Minorities Park downhill beside the lake.
The other station have ski lifts that take passengers to the top of the Hill, where the Dragon's Back Door is (Long2 Hou4 Men2).
Take that one. The view - magnificent (imagine tree top slow surf) on a clear day. You can also see a mini stone forest there.
Then at the top, take your time coming down. It is a relaxing way to "track" Western Hills. No sweat.
Fare: RMB 15 per person. Insurance (optional): RM2.
Address: West side of the city.
Directions: Taxi - About RMB 60.
Bus no. 6 gets to the bottom of the hill. The passenger van costs RMB 3 - RMB 5. Go all the way up till the van stops.
The bird & flower market
This is where you can have a look at all the ethnic arts and crafts, and the birds and fish and flowers of course.
Enjoy your day !
And pizza de Rocco (a brilliant Italian restaurant) is nestled off this street.
Address: Jing Xing Street. Centre of the city.
Directions: It's a street perpendicular to the famous shopping road (Zhengyi Street)
The Pagado in the park
Built in the Ming Dynasty, it was originally a school founded by a Ming court official by the name of "Shi1 Shi2 Qiao".
Then in year 1634, his great grandson "Shi1 Sun1 Tai4" donated the building to the buddhists and had it converted to become a monastery.
This place is famous for a very old tree (broad-leaved epiphyllum), and hence the name. This plant is said to bloom only once in 10 years.
The park is huge, and squirrels run about.
Address: On the east side of the city
Directions: Take bus 54. Alight at the last 2nd stop. Cross the road, see that to your right there is a small road just after the traffic lights, walk 5 min and you will see the entrance.
Phone: (0871) 384 5448
Artist at work
The local artist will paint a picture using your name in 5 min flat if you can provide your name in chinese characters.
Objects drawns are all auspicious stuff like :
1) bamboo (chinese idiom - bamboo brings peace)
2) phoenix (an auspicious mystic animal)
3) dragon (another auspicious mystic animal)
Cost: RMB 2 per painting.
One artist we met sang auspicious phrases for the objects he painted as he went along, like a monk chanting.
Address: Anywhere in kunming, usually near scenic spots
This helps one understand the long couplet
There are only two things worth seeing:
1) how a man could write a couplet of 108 words long (usually the length of a couplet is about 14 words, 7 on each side of the main entrance) and,
2) sail the boat to the middle of Dianchi (the largest lake in Yunnan), to have a good look at the Western Hill. The locals say Western Hill(s) have a shape of a sleeping beauty, with the head on the left right to the breast and stomach and legs on the far right.
Can you see that ?
Also the boat trip allows one to witness how the lake is polluted by algae, to the point where although there is a lot of water in this huge lake, Kunming experiences household water shortage almost every year.
Admission ticket : 10 yuan.
Boat ride : get those "sampan", about RMB 20 per boat for an hour ride. You may want to row the boat yourself if you fancy.
Directions: Southwest of the city. Not far from city center. Bus 4, 22,52,54,100 go there.
The zig-zag bridge of Cui Hu
When I first heard of this lake, I imagine a quite lake in the woods where the water is so clear and still you can see the reflections of mountatins surrounding it. Perhaps sitting on the bank and reading a book could be a great thing to do.
Hah ! All wrong !!! This is basically a pool of water surrounded by concretes: concrete banks, cement railings, and concrete buildings and sealed roads. This is a lake in the middle of the city with a circumferance of about 2KM.
There is nothing fantatic about the lake itself really. But there is one thing interesting about the people who visit the site. You see how the Yunnannese live if you come here at 8:30am or 5pm.
In various corners of the lake, different interest groups are busy with:
1) practising cha-cha, tango, waltz, tap-tap dance with a mini-stereo blaring away chinese music with cha-cha rhythm etc.
2) chinese dance. It can be fan-dance, silk-band dance (sorry about the translation), or the click-click dance where the dancer holds a pair of little plates in each hand to produce the click-click noise.
3) practising kungfu: be it tai-ji (the slow-motion kungfu) or some kungfu which makes use of the sword.
4) chinese opera. This is the most interesting. You see the musicians and their instruments as well as the actor/actress very serious going about their their performance.
Address: Middle of the city.
Directions: Cui Hu Road
koi in the clear pool
This place is about 15 KM to the north of Kunming. It covers a big area of huge trees, and other planted shrubs. Taking a walk on a sunny day will be nice.
Entrance ticket = RMB10.
In winter (2003), the plum blossom garden comes into full bloom, and it smells awesome. I was so accustomed to seeing plastic plum blossom it was an eye-opener to see a real one.
Other times, you can take a look at this interesting pair of pools connected by a narrow waterway. One pool is deep, the other shallow. The water is murky in one pool and clear in the other, like they don't mix.
There are also several ancient taoist temples scattered on the slope on one side of the park.
Address: Black Dragon Pool bus no. 9 from North Station
Directions: North of Kunming, about 15 KM
Hani minority worship breasts
This place gives an idea on how the minority races in yunnan live their lives. You can to view samples of their houses, their dances, their wares etc.
Admission is expensive at RMB 80. But currently (June 2004) there is a promotion: you can get an annual pass of just RMB 50, provided you are a student or a worker (with the necessary permits). So travellers, you still have to pay that RMB 80.
Address: South west of the city.
Directions: Bus 72 gets there.
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