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With 26 ethnic minorities, Yunnan has the largest number of ethnic groups of any province in all of China, earning it the title of “The Colorful Yunnan - a Tourism Paradise in China”.

Yunnan is located at the border area of the southwest of China, with Guizhou and Guangxi Provinces to the east, Sichuan Province to the north, Tibet at the northwest border, and Laos, Vietnam and Burma countries at the south and western borders. Boasting comfortable weather, stunning natural splendors and amazing cultural charm among its many ethnic minorities, “Colorful Yunnan” offers a rich combination of unique experiences that create an irresistible attraction to world travelers.

So, how do you get to Yunnan and travel within this fabulous land? You’ve got a lot options to choose from! Frequent direct flights, high-speed trains and traditional trains and coaches, make travel throughout Yunnan a hassle-free experience for travelers from all over the world.

Here’s a quick summary of travel in Yunnan by Plane.

For most international travelers the best way to travel to and from Yunnan is by air. As of 2019, there were 15 airports throughout Yunnan, bringing passengers to Kunming, Lijiang, Dali, Xishuangbanna and other parts of Yunnan. There are international airports in Kunming, Lijiang and Xishuangbanna. Fourteen airports operate flights among different parts of Yunnan Province.

The most frequently trafficked airports for international arrivals and departures are Kunming Airport and Lijiang Airport.

1. Kunming

Airport: Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG)(昆明长水国际机场)

Kunming, as the provincial capital of Yunnan, is well connected by flights to major domestic cities and some international destinations.

The airport is located 28 km (17 miles) northeast of the city. It services Southeast Asia, South Asia,  West Asia and also connects with Europe and Africa. The flights connect to many cities around the world, including most cities in China.

There are daily flights to Yunnan from domestic cities like Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Nanjing, Lanzhou, Harbin, Yichang, Taiyuan, Sanya and others.

There are also connections to international cities, such as Seoul (about two daily flights, about five hours duration; Singapore (about three daily flights, about four hours long); Bangkok (about seven daily flights, two to three hours in length); Kuala Lumpur (about three daily flights, three and a half to four hours in length); Phuket Island (about two daily flights, two and a half to three hours long).

Here’s a table showing flight connections to international cities.

Domestic CityDaily FlightsDuration (Hours)
BeijingOver 203.5-4
ShanghaiOver 15About 3.5
Hong KongOver 3About 2.5-3
XianOver 102-2.5
ChengduOver 151.5-2
GuangzhouOver 20About 2.5
ChongqingOver 10About 1.5
HangzhouOver 103-3.5


1.Kunming Changshui International Airport is located 28 km (17 miles) northeast of Kunming city center near Jinma and Biji Archway in a graded mountainous area about 2100 meters above sea level. It takes about 40 minutes to reach it by car or taxi. Kunming Airport has an effective, comprehensive transport system. Travelers can get to Kunming city by car, taxi, airport shuttle buses or metro from the airport.

2. Airport transfer to Kunming downtown: Take the Airport Shuttle Bus Line 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, which depart about every 20 minutes. It takes about one hour to reach the Kunming downtown area.

Another option is to travel by the Metro line 6. If you travel by taxi, you will be in the downtown area in about 40 minutes to an hour.

3. From Kunming Airport to attractions around the city center, such as the Green Lake, Yuantong Temple or the Flower and Bird Market, only takes about 40 minutes by car. Kunming Airport is 43 km (26 miles) from the Western Hills and 48 km (30 miles) from Dian Lake, which takes about 50 minutes to reach by car. The distance from the airport to various train stations in Kunming ranges from 28 km (17 miles) to 42 km (26 miles), and takes about 40 to 60 minutes to travel.

2. Lijiang

Airport: Lijiang Sanyi International Airport (丽江三义国际机场)

Lijiang (丽江) is a popular and romantic old city in Yunnan. It’s easy to reach from other major cities in China by air.

Lijiang Sanyi International Airport is 28 km (17 miles) east of town. From Lijiang there are 13 daily flights to Kunming and Xishuangbanna, as well as Beijing, Chengdou and Guangzhou. There are also flights to many cities around the world, including Bangkok, Singapore and Seoul.

Domestic CityDaily FlightsDuration (Hours)Domestic CityDaily FlightsDuration
BeijingAbout 2About 3.5ShanghaiAbout 2About 4
ChengduAbout 3About 1.5XianAbout 4About 2.5
GuangzhouAbout 3About 3GuiyangAbout 4About 1.5
ChongqingAbout 6About 1.5HangzhouAbout 3About 3.5

Besides the above cities, you can also fly to Lijiang from Guilin (about one daily flight, lasting about one hour and a half); Nanjing (more than three daily flights, lasting three to three-and-a-half hours; Wuhan (more than two daily flights, about two-and-a-half hours long); Changsha (about four daily flights, about two-and-a-half hours), Zhengzhou (more than two daily flights, about two-and-a-half hours), and so forth. Flights are also available between Lijiang and Taipei, and other international cities .

Transferring to Lijiang Old Town: Airport shuttle buses are available to Liantian Hotel (蓝天宾馆) in Lijiang Downtown. From there you can get to Lijiang Old Town in about 10 minutes by taxi. Or from the airport you could take a local taxi, which takes about 40 minutes to an hour.

3. Xishuangbanna

Airport: Xishuangbanna Gasa International Airport (西双版纳嘎洒国际机场)

Xishuangbanna (西双版纳), the botanic garden in Yunnan, is linked by flights with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xian, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. The flights depart daily and include one stop at a major city, such as Kunming, Dali or Lijiang. There are also some direct flights from Chengdu, Chongqing (every day), Hangzhou, Changsha, Guiyang, and other cities.

There are also international routes, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Luang Prabang.


Transfer to downtown. To get to the downtown area, you can take the local bus, which takes about 50-70 minutes. A local taxi will get you there in about 20 minutes.

Besides the above-mentioned airports, flights to Yunnan are also available from Dali, Mangshi, Tengchong, Zhaotong, Puzhehei, Baoshan, Lincang, and Simao.