What to see in Kunming

Kunming Attractions

It is easy to see why this relatively small Chinese city attracts so many visitors every year; the tourist attractions in Kunming are impressive and varied. Although parts of the city are industrial and unattractive, Kunming is special because of its unique setting among dramatic limestone hills.

Jiuxiang Scenic Area tops many travel itineraries in Kunming because it is so packed with natural phenomena that it could easily occupy visitors for a whole day or more. Jiuxiang has a magical subterranean world made up of more than 100 caves, as well as cliff paintings that date back to the Qin and Han dynasties. It also has several waterfalls and 'stone forests': striking limestone formations eroded over centuries to look like frozen trees. To see the most impressive example of these rather eerie formations visit the Stone Forest of Shilin, a must-see for anyone travelling in the Kunming area. The unique rock formations at Shilin are thought to be over 270 million years old.

If you have time for an excursion from Kunming, and want a travel experience off the beaten track, then head out into the Dongchuan Red Land, in Huashitou Country. Although the lack of infrastructure in the area can make travel less comfortable, the landscapes are unspoiled, colourful and startlingly beautiful; many of the visitors to the area are photographers.

Although it may seem as though all the attractions in the city are in fact just outside of it, there are plenty of things to see and do within Kunming. Green Lake is a popular park and lakeside area for relaxation, exercise and leisurely strolls. And Yuantong Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kunming: it is an active Buddhist temple with a history spanning 1,200 years and an unusual, picturesque layout. There are also abundant malls, cinemas, shopping streets and entertainment complexes to keep everybody amused.

Jiuxiang Scenic Area

The Jiuxiang Scenic Area near Kunming is only 7.7 square miles (20km sq) but packs a big punch in terms of important…

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Stone Forest

The Stone Forest of Shilin, about two hours' drive from Kunming, is a breathtaking and eerie landscape which is a must-see…

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Yuantong Temple

Unsurprisingly, the ancient Yuantong Temple in Yunnan Province, with its unique setting and architecture,…

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