"City of Eternal Marketing" Kunming by mke1963

Kunming Travel Guide: 607 reviews and 1,435 photos

Kunming is an attractive, pleasant city, and is the provincial capital of Yunnan. It has excellent air connections to the rest of China, and is the hub for most flights within Yunnan. Rail connections are less useful, although there are key major routes to Chengdu, Guiyang and Vietnam.
The city's modern and planned appearance is dictated by a fast-paced plan to modernise, and although many older boulevards and streets have disappeared under the bulldozers, there are a lot of old streets and buildings in many parts of the city.

The various guidebooks do not have much mention of Kunming, but there is a lot more to do and see than meets the eye. There are temples, pagodas, parks, some good museums, and good day trips from the city in all directions.

Kunming deserves more than just a day while waiting to transfer to Dali, Lijiang or Xishuangbanna. It is a cosmopolitan city, and a microcosm of China in one place.

The marketing slogan of "The City of Eternal Spring" is a bit contrived and forced upon you at every opportunity: it suggests a real insecurity about what the city really is all about. In fact, Kunming has been the Crossroads of Asia for a long time, and it is this aspect that creates the atmosphere, not the climate.

NOTES:
A review of the Stone Forest is included in the pages on Lufu/Shilin.
I have written up a trip through eastern Yunnan via Luoping and Puzhehei to Nijiao and back to Kunming. First stop on the way is Zhaokua.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Modern, commercial city; plenty to see and do
  • Cons:Difficult to get beyond the marketing hype to discover the real city
  • In a nutshell:Worth a week of exploring
  • Last visit to Kunming: Jan 2004
  • Intro Updated Apr 30, 2005
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mke1963

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