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Two days trip in Kunming and hava a time travel with Yunnan-style Castle.


Dianchi Lake, also known as Kunming Lake, is a "plateau pearl" located close to Kunming, in Yunnan, China. Whilst driving through the area, tourists can not only enjoy beautiful sceneries of the plateau lake but also appreciate the Longmen in Xishan Mountain and panoramic views of Kunming.

Visitors are recommended to travel to ancient Yunnan kingdom, experience the millennium civilisation and stroll around the wetland field of Dianchi Lake. As you take in the landscapes of the lake, you can also hike, enjoying the unique fragrances of flowers and the beauty of ancient Jinning Town.

Day 1

Step across Longmen and pass through Ancient Yunnan

Longmen, Xishan Mountain - Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park (one hour’s drive, approximately 50 km)

Drive to Xishan Forest Park - the first stop around Dianchi Lake - go up and absorb the culture of Xishan Mountain, while experiencing the spectacular scenery of the lake. It is described as the “longest couplet under heaven.”

Once you visit the Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park, along the Southern Lake Ring Road, you don’t only see exquisite bridges, with water flowing under them, but also tall and jagged trees and egrets, so gracious they almost look like they’re part of a painting.

You will be able to experience the “fishing" culture associated with the famous ancient Yunnan city as well. Photography lovers have the chance to take plenty of snapshots with them back home.

The architectural design of the Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park mirrors plenty of Yunnan-style characteristics, and the design is quite unique. The park is decorated with a wide range of lavender fields you can visit, thanks to plenty of footpaths that are available.

Yihai Pier is another attraction worth visiting. Visitors can take sightseeing tours, ride a bicycle, or take a boat to visit the ancient Yunnan kingdom, learn about the culture of the maritime Silk Road and about the Chinese explorer Zheng He.

Scenic spots

Name: Xishan Forest Park

Address: 15 km to western suburb of Kunming

Admission: Free

Introduction: Featuring plenty of peaks, the Xishan Mountain also boasts green forests and buzzing birds, providing jaw-dropping experiences.

Name: Longmen

Address: Longmen Resort, Xishan National Resort, Xishan Road, Xishan District, Kunming.

Admission price: 40 Yuan per person

Day 2

Archaeology • Yunnan culture-featured ancient town • slow-paced life.

Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster – Jincheng Ancient Town

Drive to Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster, a major historical and cultural site under state protection. Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster is located in Shizai Village, Shangsuan Township, Jinning County, to the shore of Dianchi Lake. It covers an area of around 5,000 square metres and is the graveyard for a generation or generations of kings and their families and servants.

A cultural centre of Yunnan, it is an excellent representation of ancient Yunnan-bronze art and of bronze cultural relics in southeast Asia.

Since 1955, Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster has been subject to five excavations. A total of 86 tombs and over five thousand cultural relics have been unearthed. Twenty of these tombs were cleaned up and a large amount of bronzeware with extremely local characteristics, excellent casting techniques and distinctive shapes were unearthed. The “Stamp of Yunnan King” is amongst the relics found, confirming the Records of the Grand Historian ž Biography of Minorities in southwest China.

Most of the burial relics were sourced from big-sized tombs and are divided into bronze, gold, silver, iron, jade, agate, turquoise and seashell categories. Bronze wearables occupy the largest proportion, showing the special culture style typical of the Bronze Age in the Yunnan region.

One of the most striking is the shell receptacle, which is a kind of bronzeware used to hide the shell (the currency at that time), in the Yunnan Kingdom. From the late Warring States Period to the early Eastern Han Dynasty, the tombs in Shizhai Mountain showcase the history of the kingdom, from prosperity to decline.

As the capital of ancient Yunnan kingdom, Jincheng Town is the birthplace and the centre of Yunnan culture. It has a long history, boasting a unique pattern of ancient residential courtyards, streets and exquisite architectural sculptures. Here you will also find a typical "bamboo birdcage", listed in the intangible cultural heritage, which shows tourists the unique crafts of bamboo carving.

When you walk into Jincheng Ancient Town, you start to flip down through the beginning of historical records. For two thousand years of feudal dynasties, Jincheng was named after Dianchi County in both Xihan and Donghan dynasties. It served as the jurisdiction venue for Yizhou Prefecture, Jinning Prefecture, Ningzhou Prefecture and Jianning Prefecture (the venue of Tribe Cuan and the castle of Yangcheng in Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom in Tang and Song dynasties). No wonder Yuan Jiagu, a modern-day scholar, titled one of his works Dian Yi: “The Capital is the centre of politics.”

The centre of Yunnan remained in Jianning (Jincheng currently) from the Warring States period until the Tang Dynasty.

During the Sui Dynasty, Jincheng, as the jurisdiction venue of Ningzhou Prefecture, was expanded with an urban area of 3.5 kilometres, nine gates and twelve passages by prefectural governor Liang Pi.

In the 22nd year of the Chenghua Period during the Ming Dynasty (1486), Jincheng received a brick castle, enclosures and four gates in eastern, southern, western and northern directions, which were destroyed and later renovated.

The former defensive broken wall was measured to have a circumference of 4,100 metres and a height of four metres, according to the results of field surveys from 1954. It was not completely removed until 1958. Fortunately, dwellings and public buildings of the ancient city of Jincheng were kept almost intact during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Even though some walls were removed, the remaining ones still recall the prosperous scene of the ancient city back then.

The ancient Jincheng town has a special status in the history of architecture and urban construction. The layout of urban construction of the Ming and Qing dynasties, covering an area over 600,000 square metres, still remains until today.

Eight streets including Shangxi Street, Xiaxi Street and Guanjing Street include dozens of alleyways, which are said to have been preserved since the Ming Dynasty. The residential courtyards kept in the streets are mostly of "stilt" and "one seal" structure, adopting "three principals with four stalls and “two principals with two stalls” in the courtyard layouts.

Panlong Temple is one of the temples most visited by pilgrims in Kunming. It can be found at the Panlong Mountain, Jinning District, on the eastern bank of the Dianchi Lake, approximately 40 kilometres away from downtown Kunming. Together with Xishan Mountain, in Kunming, and Jizu Mountain, in Binzhou, it is known as one of the three major Buddhist shrines in Yunnan. It was unveiled to be a major historical and cultural site under protection of Kunming in 1983.

The Panlong Temple was built in the seventh year of the Zhizheng Period during the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1347) and set up by a monk titled Lianfeng. For more than 600 years since its establishment, the Temple was hit with several disasters. Most of the buildings were destroyed in an 8.0-magnitude earthquake which hit Jinning in the seventeenth year of the Daoguan Period in the Qing Dynasty (AD 1837). During the reigns of Xianfeng and Tongzhi emperor, some temples were destroyed amid mutinies.

Local masses raised money in the fifth year of Guangxu Period in Qing Dynasty (AD1879) to renovate the temple. In the late 1960s, it would be further devastated. Fortunately, since the 1980s, the ancient Panlong Temple was successively renovated and has now gradually recovered its former appearance.

Scenic Spots:

Name: Panlong Temple

Venue: Panlong Mountain, 3km to the southeast of Jincheng Town

Ticket price: 15 Yuan

Panlong Temple is known as one of the three major Buddhist shrines in Yunnan together with Xishan Mountain in Kunming and Jizu Mountain in Binzhou. The temple was built in the seventh year of the Zhizheng Period, during the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1347), which was set up by Monk Lianfeng.

The number of disciples gradually grew, and the attendance of worshipers as well. Monk Lianfeng passed away shortly after, being consecrated as “Panlong Patriarch”.

The Panlong Temple is built along the terrain of the mountains. The first, second and third heaven gates are set up in the temple, and immortals from groups including  Buddhism, Taoist and Confucianism are worshiped in over 20 halls, taking in Yingxian Bridge, Tuofo Hall, Lvzu Hall, Patriarch Hall, Grand Hall, Jade Emperor Pavilion, Jialan Hall, and the attendance of worshippers in Patriarch Hall and the Medicine Buddha Hall.

According to a local legend, the temple was housing a dragon, which hid here. Monk Lianfeng, the patriarch of Panlong Temple, expelled the dragon, the water of the abyss was drained, and Monk Lianfeng set up the temple here.

According to another saying, there were six dragons previously in the abyss, and five of them were driven away, but the remaining one was not reconciled to be expelled, so he start to make troubles.

Monk Lianfeng made the incantation to have it surrendered and ride on it. Believers were growing when the temple was set up, and the attendance of worshipers became ever bigger. Monk Lianfeng passed away shortly after, being consecrated as “Panlong Patriarch.”

Then a monk continued to expand the Panlong Temple in the early Ming Dynasty, and built the Depository of Buddhist Sutras, Guanyin Hall. According to the Xu Xiake's Travels, “Lianfeng, the founder of Panlong Temple, passed away on August 18 during the Zhizheng Period of the Yuan Dynasty… then the Panlong Temple Fair lasted till now.”