Skip to main content
Introduction & Highlights
Kunming, Gateway to Yunnan (2)

Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, has been a city for more than 2,200 years. The city’s importance as a center of culture and trade dates back thousands of years. Much of its ancient history can still be seen and felt when walking its streets among some of its ancient buildings, which are still well preserved in the modern city.

Kunming, Gateway to Yunnan (2)

The city is located on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, surrounded on three sides by mountains and set on the shore of the great Dian Lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in China. Kunming is the core of the cluster cities of central Yunnan. The city stands amidst breathtaking mountain scenery and fertile pastoral landscapes.

Dianchi Lake

Today Kunming is a mighty metropolis with a population of nearly 7 million. It is the vibrant center of culture and commerce of Yunnan province, and the center of provincial government. The city’s colorful modern high-tech modern veneer blends with its ancient history, providing a richly layered historical and cultural experience to visitors.

Night view in Kunming

Because of Kunming’s mild climate year round it is known as the “Spring City.” As the principal urban center of Yunnan Province, which borders Vietnam and Myanmar, Kunming is a gateway city to Southeast Asia and South Asia. Kunming’s Changshui International Airport is a busy, modern hub linking South and Southeast Asia to China and beyond.

Kunming Changshui International Airport

China’s ancient history resonates in the streets of Kunming. On Kunming’s Old Street there are buildings that date back as far as 900 years. Many of the city’s old buildings still retain relics from the Qing Dynasty, China’s last imperial dynasty, which ruled China from 1644 to 1912. Some of the old houses on Kunming Old Street are courtyard houses that combine the characteristics of folk houses of the Bai and Yi ethnic groups, preserving a style of architecture rarely found in modern China.

Kunming Old Street

Tongren Street has architectural relics from the late 19th Century in the Kunming French fusion style of architecture, reflecting the rich cultural cross fertilization between China and Europe dating back centuries.

The city is rich in museum culture, with a great variety of museums to choose from, such as the Kunming Museum, the Yunnan Provincial Museum, the Deluxking Museum of Perfume, the Yunnan Railway Museum, the Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology, the Yunzi Museum, the Kunming Tap Water History Museum, the Yunnan Museum of Gems and Minerals, the Miniatures Museum of Minorities and the Guandu Folk Museum.

Yunnan Provincial Museum

The city’s great assortment of attractions includes the Green Lake, a sparkling gem of a lake lined with weeping willow trees in the downtown area. The lake offers waters sports such as boating and is at the center of many points of interest, including Wenhua Alley, a trendy area with many colorful shops, bookstores, restaurants and bars, and Yunnan University. 

Green Lake

Among the attractions to take in while visiting Kunming is the Yuantong Temple, an ancient Buddhist temple dating back more than 1200 years to the time of the Tang Dynasty. It is Kunming’s largest and oldest Buddhist temple.

Yuantong Temple

Also not to be missed is the Grand View Tower, also known as Daguan Lou, a three-story pavilion located in the popular Daguan Park on the outskirts of Kunming. Kunming is Yunnan’s indispensable city and must be part of any trip to the region.

Daguan Lou