First printed on: November 18, 2019
With so many issues to do in Kunming from pure wonders and cultural points of interest to trendy buying districts, Yunnan’s capital metropolis is greater than only a transit hub.
Kunming Metropolis is commonly seen because the gateway to visiting China’s Yunnan province, however you’ll be stunned on the gems you’ll uncover there, with 26 totally different ethnic minorities, nice histories, gorgeous sceneries and healthful delicacies.
China is big, and fairly unattainable to discover in its entirety in only one journey. You may argue that seeing China’s capital Beijing or monetary powerhouse Shanghai would suffice, however that’s simply scratching the floor of a rustic with a historical past relationship again to historic instances!
Many individuals see Kunming as a transit location — the place they’d fly into however proceed their journey to different scenic cities of Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La, however the often-overlooked metropolis is charming in her personal methods!
From historic historic cities to glitzy buying districts and spectacular karsts and caves, listed below are 15 issues to do in Kunming, the Metropolis of Everlasting Spring!
Learn additionally: 12D Yunnan Itinerary — Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-la
Kunming Journey Necessities
Getting round Kunming: The simplest approach round Kunming is through Didi (China’s Uber equal), and short-distance rides throughout the metropolis price between 8RMB and 20RMB.
Connectivity: Web entry in China will be tough, we suggest getting a Hong Kong SIM card/eSIM with protection throughout the entire of China. On prime of that, obtain a VPN to get move the Nice Firewall.
Saving cash: Nonetheless a pupil? Pack your pupil card as a result of most points of interest give as much as 50% off entrance charges to college students.
Learn additionally: 9 Causes Why You Ought to Go to Yunnan, China
Kunming’s prime scenic points of interest
1) Yunnan Stone Forest (Yunnan Shilin, 石林风景名胜区)
The Yunnan Stone Forest isn’t technically a forest, however an enormous limestone karst formation shaped by erosion over tens of millions of years. The towering rocks with jagged edges look considerably just like clusters of petrified timber, therefore the title “Stone Forest”.
This UNESCO World Heritage Website will get crowded, so go to early within the day earlier than hoards of vacationers swamp the world! The Stone Forest is a large compound, and buses solely drop you on the outer entrance so that you’ll need to both stroll 6km into the Stone Forest or take a buggy that prices 25RMB/pax.
When you’re on the internal entrance, the one technique to get round is by strolling. There are well-paved paths to stroll on, however do put on correct strolling footwear!
There are each Massive and Small Stone Forests on the space, and we recommend heading to the Massive Stone Forest first because it’s the extra notable of the 2. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete sightseeing the entire space.
Entrance Charge: 120RMB (60RMB for college students)
Opening Hours: 7AM – 6PM
The right way to get there: Take Line 3 of the Metro to East Coach Station (Google Maps). Then, switch to a shuttle bus to Stone Forest for 34RMB (Google Maps). They depart round each half-hourly, or when full. The bus journey takes 1.5hrs one-way.
2) Inexperienced Lake Park (Cuihu Lake, 翠湖)
Kunming’s bustling noise and busy visitors will be overwhelming for first-time guests, however situated on the coronary heart of the town is a sanctuary away from the crowded streets. Inexperienced Lake Park gives the area, the greenery and the serenity for individuals who simply need to escape the noisy metropolis for a bit.
The very best time to go to Inexperienced Lake Park is throughout the weekends when people from varied ethnic teams collect and dance to conventional folks music. You possibly can even ask the locals to allow you to into the dance with them! They’ll be greater than glad to show you among the foot strikes.
Entrance Charge: Free
Opening Hours: 7AM – 10PM (outlets throughout the park shut at 6PM)
The right way to get there: Take Line 2 of the Metro to Chuanxin Gulou Station/穿心鼓楼站 (Google Maps)
3) Jiuxiang Scenic Area (九乡风景区)
Many know of Yunnan’s Stone Forest, however there’s one other scenic space simply as important within the eyes of the locals.
The Jiuxiang Scenic area is residence to probably the most magnificent cave methods in China. There’s a neighborhood saying that goes, “tianshang kan shilin, dishang kan jiuxiang” (地上看石林，地下看九乡), which interprets to “Seeing the Stone Forest above and seeing Jiuxiang from beneath”. So if you happen to’re already visiting the Stone Forest, there’s no purpose to not make a visit to the Jiuxiang Scenic area.
Enjoyable truth: The Jiuxiang Scenic area is the filming location of the film The Fable, starring Jackie Chan! You may recognise the Twin Waterfalls within the image above that was in a scene. It takes about three hours to stroll via the entire cave system.
Entrance Charge: RMB60 (30RMB for college students)
Opening Hours: 9AM – 6PM
The right way to get there: If you happen to’re going from Kunming Metropolis, take the coach buses from East Coach Station to Yiliang County, and alter to Bus 21 to Jiuxiang Scenic Area (Google Maps).
If you happen to’re visiting Jiuxiang the identical day as Stone Forest, there are additionally coach buses (￥25/approach) that depart Stone Forest to Jiuxiang Scenic Area (Google Maps).
Find out about Yunnan’s many nationalities and cultures
4) Stroll down historical past at Guandu Historical City (官渡老镇)
One of many birthplaces of the Yunnan tradition, Guandu Historical City is little doubt Kunming’s most well-known outdated city, and in addition the place it is best to head to for a greater understanding of Yunnan’s origins.
Guandu City was a fishing village throughout the Tang Dynasty and has lengthy been an enormous market and logistic hub of the close by Dian Lake.
In the present day, the outdated architectures nonetheless stand, however in place are tons of of retailers promoting Yunnan snacks and souvenirs equivalent to flower truffles, roasted rushan cheese, baba bread, Pu’er tea, silverware, and Burmese jadeite.
The right way to get there: Take buses 31, 174,185, 186, 232, 253, 255, 261, 908, A12, C143, C85, K15, or K42.
*Professional-tip: You possibly can e-book a non-public day tour of downtown Kunming, together with Guandu district through Klook.
5) Attain for luck at Longmen Xishan (西山龙门)
There actually isn’t wanting Chinese language sayings at Yunnan, and there’s one that actually makes everybody FOMO about visiting Longmen: “不耍西山等于不到昆明，不到龙门只是白跑一趟西山” (If you don’t go to the Western Hills, you haven’t visited Kunming; if you don’t come to the Dragon Gate, you haven’t been to Western Hills.)
On the prime of Western Hills Longmen, you’ll get a very good view of Dian Lake however that’s not all — most individuals head to Longmen to additionally go to the temples constructed on the hills. Many individuals make their approach up in hopes of reaching luck and success in life if you happen to attain for the gate’s wood knob!
If you need a stress-free expertise exploring Longmen Xishan and different components of downtown Kunming, you’ll need to e-book a personal day tour.
Entrance Charge: 30RMB (15RMB for college students). Further 25RMB for chairlift entry, 10RMB for buggy transportation journey, 25RMB for a one-way coach bus journey
Opening Hours: 8:30AM – 5:30PM, closes 6PM on weekends.
The right way to get there: Take Line 3 of the Metro to Western Hill Forest Park Station/西山公园站
6) Be taught in regards to the totally different ethnicities at Yunnan Nationalities Village (云南民族村)
Yunnan is residence to 26 totally different minority ethnic teams, every with their very own customs, traditions and methods of life. To go to and perceive all 26 ethnicities of their respective villages require plenty of effort, particularly when many are up within the mountains!
However not too far off Kunming Metropolis is the Yunnan Nationalities Village the place all 26 ethnicities are gathered collectively to showcase their distinctive cultures.
It could appear touristy at first, however do consider this place as an outside museum for curious guests to fulfill and work together with the pleasant locals of various ethnicities, and perceive their methods of life on the identical time.
Entrance Charge: S$15.75 through Klook
Opening Hours: 9AM – 6PM
The right way to get there: Take bus traces no. 44, 73 or A1 to Yunnan Nationalities Village Station.
*Professional-tip: Discover out efficiency timings on the entrance and head to them straight, because the village is fairly large. Additionally, it’s extremely beneficial to lease a pedal bike (100RMB) to get round.
Store until you drop in Kunming
7) Wenlin Avenue (文林街)
Resulting from its proximity to 2 native universities, Wenlin Avenue is a classy space the place younger Chinese language college college students hold about. It’s additionally right here the place yow will discover eateries nonetheless open after 6PM! Apart from meals, there are additionally bookstores, shops promoting quirky thingamabobs, and bars that open until late.
The right way to get there: Take Line 3 of the Metro to Panjiawan Station (潘家湾站). Alternatively, take buses 1, 85, 101, 125 or 139.
8) Nanping Pedestrian Avenue (南屏步行街)
For an Orchard Highway equal, there’s Nanping Pedestrian Avenue. This car-free highway is a buying haven and one among Kunming’s busiest industrial streets, the place yow will discover eating places, supermarts, and high-end branded outlets.
For guests who’re in Kunming Metropolis for a brief day or two, we suggest exploring Nanping Pedestrian Avenue and its environment if you happen to’re uncertain of issues to do in Kunming.
It’s additionally inside strolling distance to the Jingxing Flower and Fowl Market (景星花鸟珠宝市场), a busy market with pets, botany, and antiquity merchants.
The right way to get there: Take Line 2 or 3 of the metro to Dongfeng Sq. Station (东风广场站). Alternatively, take buses 68, 71, 108, 118 or 234.
9) Park 1903 (公园1903)
This buying district is kind of elusive, so we determined to go there for ourselves and convey you footage of this hipster place that was fairly the fad on China’s Douyin (TikTok).
With buildings modelled after European cities, Park 1903 is China’s very first built-in open-concept park mall. It’s right here the place yow will discover official outlets of many worldwide and homegrown Chinese language manufacturers. It could appear barely upmarket however you’ll know you’re solely getting the actual offers right here.
Even when buying isn’t your agenda in Kunming, the attractive structure and artsy vibes of Park 1903 make it an incredible place to simply chill, take pictures, and people-watch.
Deal with: Close to No. 19 Qianweixi Highway, Xishan District, Kunming Metropolis 昆明西山区前卫西路19号附近
10) Spring Metropolis 66 (恒隆广场)
Picture credit score: Wongtung.com
Spring Metropolis 66 solely opened in August 2019, and is Kunming Metropolis’s largest shopping center thus far. The developer’s imaginative and prescient for Spring Metropolis 66 is to “present the world Kunming, present Kunming to the world”. With that, greater than one-third of the shops introduced into the mall are the primary of their variety in Kunming!
The right way to get there: Take Line 2 or 3 of the Metro to Dongfeng Sq. Station (东风广场站). Alternatively, take buses 52, 63, 78, 89, 105, 132 or K1.
What to eat in Kunming
11) “Crossing-the-bridge noodles” (Guo Qiao Mi Xian, 过桥米线)
Crossing-the-bridge noodles, identified regionally as guo qiao mi xian, is a soup-based rice noodle dish from Yunnan. However don’t mistake it in your peculiar bee hoon soup! This dish feels extra like a private sizzling pot the place the substances, together with the noodles, are served individually.
A big bowl of boiling sizzling soup is served to you, with dry noodles, uncooked meat, quail eggs and greens on the facet. To eat, throw the uncooked meat into the bowl of boiling soup first, then quail eggs, after which the greens. Lastly, add within the noodles and provides your large bowl of goodness a very good combine earlier than consuming.
Being a well-liked dish eaten throughout Yunnan, these noodles will be discovered at most eateries or eating places. Inside Kunming metropolis, Jianxinyuan is a well-liked go-to for genuine crossing-the-bridge noodles at cheap costs.
12) Steam Pot Hen (Qi Guo Ji 汽锅鸡)
One other Yunnan delicacy is the Steam Pot Hen (Qi Guo Ji). As its title suggests, this dish is served in a ceramic pot, the identical pot it was cooked in. The rooster is cooked with the recent steam sealed contained in the pot, retaining the wealthy and attractive flavours of the rooster inside.
Particularly with Kunming’s chilly climate all yr spherical, you’ll crave for this on a regular basis.
13) Yunnan Bread (Ba Ba 粑粑)
Throughout Kunming you’ll discover these easy and conventional confectionery outlets promoting one thing referred to as ba ba. As a rule, these ba ba come in several fillings, equivalent to purple bean, sesame, corn, or scallions. Good once you’re feeling snacky!
14) Roasted rushan cheese (Kao Ru Shan 烤乳扇)
Roasted rushan cheese is a snack that originated from the Dali province, however it may be present in Guandu Historical City too! Bought on a stick, roasted rushan cheese is manufactured from recent milk blended with yoghurt, or a souring agent like bitter papaya water, until the milk coagulates.
The solidified milk is then laid out flat on a grill earlier than being twirled onto a stick. I’d describe the style as one thing just like cheese, however with a tinge of sweetness to it. Do look out for stalls that promote freshly-made ones because it hardens rapidly when cooled!
15) Wild mushrooms (Ye Jun Zi, 野菌子)
Picture credit score: Information.sina.com.cn
Wild mushrooms are a delicacy in Yunnan — sure, solely the wild ones! Common farmed mushrooms are referred to as mogu (蘑菇) whereas wild ones are known as junzi (菌子). There are roughly 250 forms of wild edible mushrooms present in Yunnan, so once you’re in Kunming, probabilities of seeing an eatery serving up wild mushrooms are fairly excessive.
Of all of the mushrooms out there, the Jizong (鸡枞) mushroom is essentially the most highly-regarded for its rarity. Most eateries in Yunnan serve the wild mushrooms stir-fried, boiled or simmered in soup.
Add Kunming to Your Journey Bucket Checklist
Opposite to common perception amongst Singaporeans that China is an “outdated folks’s journey vacation spot”, it truly could be very trendy with nice points of interest amongst, and past, its nature. Personally, the Yunnan Stone Forest has been on my journey bucket checklist for a very long time, and seeing the Stone Forest for myself was an exhilarating expertise!
Know of any extra issues to do in Kunming Metropolis? Tell us within the feedback!
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