The site contains Kunming sights - photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you will find answers to questions: what to see in Kunming, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places of Kunming.
At the top of the Mingfeng Hill is the Golden Temple. It is also called the Temple of Supreme Harmony. It was erected by order of Emperor Wan Li (1602). According to legend, the place for the construction of the temple was prompted to him in a dream. In the 19th century, the Temple was rebuilt; more than 200 tons of bronze were used for this purpose.
In order to get into the Temple itself, it is necessary to overcome a high staircase, which is in the tradition of Taoist temples. In the hall you can see a sword, according to legend, that belonged to a deity who guarded the surroundings. The temple is located in a wonderful, picturesque place, surrounded by pines and cypresses.
In the center of Kunming is the majestic Yantong Temple - the only Buddhist temple in the city. It was built during the reign of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). The uniqueness of the structure is that the steps to the central hall are not up, as is traditional, but down. In the hall there is a large Buddha statue and dragons entwining the columns.
Outside the structure, you can see a picturesque pond with bridges, and in the center stands an octagonal pavilion. This place attracts a large number of pilgrims.
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Shilin "stone forest
More than 200 million years ago, waves of the deep sea splashed on the site of Shilin Province. Limestone layers settled, tectonic movements took place, and as a result, after the disappearance of the sea, stone blocks remained. Time, water and wind “built” out of the ocean day a huge stone forest that attracts attention with its unusual, fantastic landscape. Rocks took various forms, resembling figures of animals, people, mystical characters.
Today, Shilin is divided into seven separate parts: large and small stone forests, Naygu stone forest, Zhiyun cave, Quifeng cave, long lake, moon lake, Da Dishui waterfalls. The stone forest abounds with fantastic stone turrets, pillars and stalactites.
In a small stone forest there are many large beautiful meadows, thickets of bamboo, trees and mountain flowers. There are also famous stone flowers - “Towers supporting the Sky” as well as “Singing stones”.
The famous torch festival is held here annually. Tourists take part in traditional activities such as wrestling, bullfighting, pole climbing, dragon play, lion dance and dance.
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East and West Pagodas
One of the main attractions of Kunming are two Tang pagodas: East and West. They were built during the reign of the Tang Dynasty: between 824 and 859. The Eastern Pagoda was destroyed by an earthquake in 1833 and restored in the 19th century. The western pagoda has preserved its ancient flavor. The multi-tiered structure, despite its monumentality, gives the impression of an openwork structure.
Arches of Golden Horse and Green Rooster
The arches of the Golden Horse and the Green Rooster are symbols of Kunming. Many legends are associated with them. The very traditional one that narrates that the Golden Horse arrived in Kunming from the Sun, and the Green Rooster flew from the Moon. Horse and Rooster began to guard Kunming and turned into one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Arches and symbolize the combination of the moon and the sun - shadows from arches and really occur when both celestial bodies appear on the same level, however this natural phenomenon occurs quite rarely.
The arches themselves are structures almost 20 meters high and 14.5 meters wide, they are decorated with elaborate carvings, and Kunming landscapes are also depicted on them. In April 1999, the arches were inaugurated after restoration.
Nayuga Stone Forest
The famous stone forest of China is located 126 kilometers from Kunming. Once upon a time this place was the seabed. It is thanks to centuries-old erosion and leaching by sea waters, and subsequently the effects of water and wind that formed a stone forest. Although there is a more beautiful version in Chinese folklore - supposedly a long time ago the giant athlete decided to help ordinary people build a dam. Throughout the night, he moved huge stones with the help of magic tools "borrowed" from the wizard. But by morning, the enchantment had weakened, the instruments had lost their strength, and the stones remained in complete disorder.
A visit to the Stone Forest is included in many tourist programs. Entrance fee is approximately 80 yuan.
World Garden Art Fair
In 1999, China challenged the world by inviting dozens of countries to participate in the Garden Art Fair. 95 countries, as well as about ten million visitors, responded to the invitation. The fair was opened on May 1 and ended at the end of October. The motto of the exhibition was: "Man and nature - entering the 21st century."
After the closure of the "Garden Gardening Fair", the city authorities decided to turn this place into a city park. More than ten years have passed since then, but the park is in excellent condition. Moreover, most of the pavilions of the participating countries have been preserved.
Walking through the park, you can enjoy impressive exhibits, including unique recreated landscapes, artificial mountains, islands, terraces, gazebos and much more.
The Golden Temple was built on top of the Mingfeng Hill (translated from Chinese as “Singing Phoenix”) in 1620 by order of Emperor Wan Li. An ardent supporter of Taoism, Wan Li saw in a dream the legendary immortal Lu Dongbin. The immortal ordered Wan Li to get to the foot of Inwu Mountain (the Ministry of Finance was called in those days), which he did the next morning.
In place, Wan Li saw a lone old shepherd. As soon as Wan Li approached him, he disappeared, and instead there were two clay pots left. Putting the pots together, Wan Li saw a hieroglyph in the form of the first letter of the name Lu Dongbin. The emperor considered this a sign from above and ordered the construction of a temple on this very spot.
In 1857, the temple was looted by Muslims. The restoration took many years and 250 tons of solid bronze.
The road to the temple is winding and long. It is designed to help drop all worries and bad thoughts along the way to the great shrine.
The most popular attractions in Kunming with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit the famous places of Kunming on our website.
Kunming city on a map of China
Kunming is located in the territory of Yunnan, the city is its administrative center. On the map, finding it is quite simple, it is located in the south of China, next to its southwestern neighbors. The distance from the city to the border strip with Laos and Vietnam is about 300 km, and to the Myanmar demarcation about 400 km.
Although the area of the city is quite large, more than 20,000 square kilometers, and the population exceeds the figure of 6 million people, but it is a real island of Chinese culture and nature. There are a lot of rivers, lakes of various sizes, parkland, forests with unique plants and animals, waterfalls and mountains. This list can go on and on. In addition, magnificent buildings still reflect the centuries-old history and culture in Kunming.
The metropolis is full of attractions, museums, centers and interesting places for tourists. Let's look at the most popular of them.
What to see in Kunming necessarily - the main attractions of the city
- Golden Temple
One of the hallmarks of the city is the Golden Temple, which is located on Mount Minfeng. He is a kind of personification of Chinese ancient religion - Taoism. By the standards of the history of the "Middle Kingdom", it was built not so long ago, namely, at the beginning of the 17th century.
It was built in honor of the 30-year-old ruler of Wan Li. According to legend, this temple was dreamed of by the emperor, after which he gave the order for its construction.
After some time, the temple building was partially destroyed, and already in the 18th century, the ruling authorities decided to restore it. In the process of restoration, more than 2 tons of yellow bronze were used. She restored the roof, replaced the door arches and columns.
In order to look at the shrine, you must climb the steep stairs. But, the incredible view of the hills covered with pine and cypress trees opens up, it is worth such an effort.
The main local relic is the sword, which is considered the property of a deity long-guarded this area.
This temple rightfully takes first place among the rest of the Buddhist buildings of the city. It is located near Lofeng Hill, on the north side of the city center. Many famous Buddhists from the immediate vicinity live here.
The temple has one amazing feature, namely, the road leading to the main hall goes down, not up. Which is completely unusual in the architecture of China. But despite this difference, indoors, everything is performed in the usual Chinese traditions. Here you can see a statue of Buddha, images of dragons. Also on the territory there is a pond with bridges passing through it.
- Bamboo temple
Another Buddhist sanctuary is located 10 km east of the center. This temple began to be built a very long time ago, under the rule of the Yuan family, which were descendants of the Mongols. But, over time, construction was abandoned, and restoration began only in the 15th century.
The temple became more famous at the very end of the century before last, when the best sculptors of Sichuan were invited to restore and restore it. They did a great job making 500 statues of the disciples of Buddha. They looked like real people, with expressed emotions and facial expressions.
The territory of the temple itself is a magnificent garden surrounded by Yanshan Mountain, ancient trees and a clear lake. The building is decorated with animal sculptures, which are painted with bright colors. About 500,000 tourists from different countries visit this temple annually.
- Stone forests
Stone Forest is located 80 km east of the city. This is a special phenomenon, tall stones from 5 to 30 meters are carved by nature very elegantly. This whole picture resembles a forest. Interestingly, there are stones resembling the silhouettes of animals and birds.
And the reason for the appearance of such a forest is that more than 300 years ago there was an ocean at this place, and limestone and salt settled on its bottom. Due to global climate change, the ocean has disappeared. And on its dried bottom there were stones that, under the influence of weathering and showers, turned into a "forest".
Kunming attractions on the map
An indisputable attraction that can be observed even on the map of Kunming is the largest lake - Dianchi, it is located in the province of the same name. In length, it stretched almost 40 km, and its width - 13 km, covers a total area of more than 300 square meters. km
Its appearance is no less surprising than its size. It is located at an altitude of about 2000 meters, surrounded on all sides by mountain hills. One has only to imagine its shape, which resembles a crescent. The color of the water in the lake seems crystal clear.
In addition, off the coast there are many places that are also historical: Daguan and Zhenhe Parks, Daguanlow Terem, Xishan Forest Park.
In Kunming, there are many more attractions and unforgettable places that deserve attention. Therefore, every tourist who came here will never be bored.
Arches of a golden horse and green rooster
These two arches are the symbols of Kunming, with which many different legends and traditions are associated. The most common: the gods sent a golden horse from the sun and a green rooster from the moon to guard and protect the city.
While there are arches - nothing threatens the city. In fairness, it is worth noting that the arches were destroyed, rebuilt and reconstructed a couple of times, but this did not seem to affect the prosperity of the city.
In addition, the arches, or rather not themselves, but their shadows, symbolize the Zen symbol of Yin and Yang, the unity of the female and male principles, the moon and the sun: on days when the sun and moon are at the same level, the shadows of the arches meet - as the legend says. But is it really impossible to verify this? Two celestial bodies on the same level are a very rare occurrence.
East and West Pagodas
The date of their construction takes us back to the reign of the Tang Dynasty (824 - 859 gg.). The western pagoda was only reconstructed, while the eastern one was completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1833.
Near the pagoda there is a wonderful square where local pensioners like to relax, entertaining themselves by playing cards, mahjong or breathing exercises.
Like pagodas, it was built during the Tang Dynasty, and is now the only Zen temple in the center of Kunming. The temple is located in the center of a picturesque pond with turtles, connected to the outside world by carved bridges.
This temple is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world, but in addition it is a real oasis of peace and tranquility in the sea of crowds seething beyond its walls. Despite the fact that this is a religious object, a fee of 6 CNY is charged for visiting it.
One of the many parks located on the shores of Lake Dianchi. Entrance to the park costs CNY 20 per person. You can get here on foot or by bus 51 from the center (but we are not sure about this, as the bus routes are very tricky).
The park is located on islands and peninsulas connected to the main territory by openwork bridges. Here you can walk around the park, fly kites, ride a boat, have a picnic, as well as visit an amusement park.
In addition, the Daguanlow Pavilion is located in the park, which means “grandiose view”. This is a three-story building, built in the style of a classic pagoda, but with a very secular functionality: from its balconies, the emperor and the powerful people of this world used to watch magical landscapes, and now for a moderate fee 2 CNY (I already wrote about the Chinese passion for healing everyone and everything) anyone can do it. The gates of the pavilion are decorated with poems of a Chinese poet, telling about the glorious past of the city, its history, heroes and rulers. This work is considered the longest in Chinese poetry, as it consists of couplets written in 180 characters.
In the park you can ride a roller coaster, a huge Ferris wheel, or at any of the many other attractions. From the Ferris wheel (cost of one lap 30 CNY per person), a stunning view of the lake and the surrounding area opens up - I recommend it.
In general, you can safely take a day off to visit the park: wander along winding paths, try local goodies, wallow in the grass and breathe clean river and mountain air. By the way, earlier Dianchi Lake was so famous for its picturesqueness that it inspired one of the emperors to create the lake of the same name in the park of the Beijing Imperial Summer Palace.
Dianchi Lake and the Western Mountains
A few more parks on a beautiful lake, this time even more ambitious and incredible objects in terms of entertainment and beauty.
You can get here from the center by buses No. 24 and 44. The price of a visit starts from 40 CNY, but it will depend on what exactly and how you will look: after all, you can admire the lake only from the western mountains, walking there (just for 40 CNY), but it’s possible from the same mountains, but on a funicular (+ another 25 CNY), or you can take a funicular ride above the lake itself (+ another 40 CNY (if one way) or +70 CNY - if there and back) - there are many options.
In general, this place is so unique, overgrown with so many legends and made such an impression on us that we will probably tell about it separately.
ShiLin Stone Forest
Absolutely unique place, in fact, this is exactly what we went to Kunming for. 400 sq. kilometers of unique karst formations created by time, sea, wind - nature itself. This property is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s not very easy to get here, and it will take at least one day to visit - and then just see neither strength nor imagination ☺ The cost of visiting is 175 CNY per entrance + 25 CNY per transfer to the park gate (2-3 km walk quietly) .
When I was looking for information about the object, I found passage scheme for “hares” . Everyone chooses to pay or not to pay, but when you see at what level everything is organized in the park and in the adjacent territory, you understand what your money goes for.
There are quite a lot of different non-systematic information about the Stone Forest, besides this is such a large-scale object that it deserves a separate post ☺
We visited far from all the places worthy of attention, often we just walked the streets: aimlessly, a walk for the sake of the walk itself, so as not to get tired ahead of time. Kunming is the first city in our Chinese voyage, it destroyed all my ideas about what a Chinese city should look like, but unlike Luang Prabang in Laos, it was a pleasant surprise.