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How to plan a trip to Kunming?

Kunming, well-known as the City of Spring, is the political, economic and cultural center as well as the capital and the largest city of Yunnan Province. Kunming is regarded as one of the ten hottest destinations among tourists in China, with its beautiful scenery, brilliant historic sites and colorful ethnic customs.

Kunming got the name of “Spring City” because of its weather, it’s like spring all the year round in Kunming. If you don’t want to travel to places where the weather is too hot or too cold, Kunming can be your ideal destination. How to plan a Kunming tour? Here are something that may help you with your Kunming travel plan.

Kunming City View

Reading Guideline:


Best Time to Visit Kunming

As what we’ve mentioned, with the weather like spring all the year round, Kunming is suitable for visiting throughout the whole year. Actually, the best time to visit Kunming is from March to October, at that time there are the most numerous celebrations of ethnic festivals, meanwhile the best time for fruits and flower blossoms in Yunnan.

Annual Temperature: 16.5 ℃

Rainy Season: May to October

Crowded Season: Late Jan. or early Feb. (Chinese Spring Festival);

                               first week of May (Labor Day);

                               first week of October (National Day)


Read more about the Best Time to Visit Kunming.

Best Things to Do in Kunming

Visit Different Attractions inside Kunming

Western Hill and Dragon Gate will be a perfect place if you like mountaineering, for which has lush plants, dense forests and beautiful scenery. Facing Dianchi Lake, the famous landmark in Kunming, you could enjoy a great view up on the Western Hill. Don’t miss the chance to experience the exquisite stone carving art at Dragon Gate, which is located on the top of the Western Hill.

Western Hill and Dragon Gate


Dianchi Lake will be a good place to spend your time if you like water. Situated at the foot of the Western Hill, Dianchi Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province. From November to January, it’s the best time to watch thousands of black-headed gulls gathering around Dianchi Lake. You can spend your leisure time in Haigeng Park and Baiyukou Park which are located around Dianchi Lake.

Dianchi Lake

Except for mountain and water, if you are curious about the ethnic culture, have a visit in the Village of Ethnic Culture. If you are a flower lover, spend some time in the Flower and Bird Market of Kunming, furthermore, you could even have a trip to the 99 Horticulture Expo Garden.

Choose a temple to visit if you have interests. There are various of choices for you, Yuantong Temple, the largest and the most active temple in Kunming with a history of more than 1,200 years; Huating Temple, one of the best-preserved Buddhist temples in Kunming. And also the Golden Temple, Qiongzhu Temple


Go around Kunming

Have no interests? Maybe you’d like going somewhere near Kunming, experience the magic of Stone Forest, explore karst caves at Jiuxiang Scenic Area or even go to Luoping to appreciate a sea of rape flowers.


Stone Forest, World Natural Heritage Site. This natural wonder is a notable set of limestone formations which is formed by erosion over millions of years. It takes 1.5 hours from Kunming for driving.

Stone Forest

Jiuxiang Scenic Area, the largest karst cave group in China, with the most numerous and unique caves, large or small.

Jiuxiang Scenic Area

Luoping is a county located about 228 kilometers from Kunming, which is famous for its large scale of rape flowers. The best time for visiting is from late February to March.



Enjoy the Yunnan Impression Show

Go for a Yunnan Impression Show if you are interested in ethnic culture. You could watch different ethnic dances and enjoy the original songs through the Dynamic Yunnan. This show lasts about 100 minutes.

Yunnan Impression Show


More about the Yunnan Impression Show.


Experience the Pu'er Tea Culture

Pu’er Tea, as one of the top 10 famous types of tea in China, is native to Yunnan Province. Arrange for some time to experience the mysterious Pu’er tea culture may make your Kunming tour more memorable. If you want to buy some home, here are some tea markets you can go.

Pu’er Tea


What to Eat in Kunming

With its unique eating culture, all sorts of food in Kunming may tickle your taste buds. The most famous one, also the symbolic food of Yunnan Province, is the Crossing the Bridge Noodles (Guo Qiao Mi Xian in Chinese). Other popular food like Steam-pot Chicken and Rice in Bamboo Tube are also worth trying. Furthermore, you could try Dai Ethnic Restaurants in Kunming, with hot and sour flavor.


More information for Eating in Kunming.


Where to Stay in Kunming

Near Golden Horse & Jade Chicken Square (Jinma Biji Fang in Chinese): the most flourishing area in Kunming, with lots of shopping malls and pedestrian streets. Not too far from Yunnan University and Green Lake Park.

Around Dianchi Scenic Spot: has a fine scenery of Dianchi Lake, comfortable for your vacation. And it’s convenient to go to the Western Hill, Village of Ethnic Culture and parks near Dianchi Lake.

Beside Kunming train station: convenient for you to catch the train.


Kunming 144-hour Visa Free Policy

For travelers who hold a visa to the third country with a connecting airplane tickets can apply for a 144-hour visa-free stay in Kunming. Just get a 144-hour Kunming tour during your international trip.


Conditions for Kunming 144-hour visa free transit

  • Citizens from specified 53 countries
  • Valid international travel documents
  • Connected international flights to a third country within 144 hours
  • Enter and leave from Kunming
  • Stay in Kunming for no more than 144 hours.


How to  apply Kunming 144-hour visa free transit

  • Necessary materials: valid passport, connected international flights to a third country
  • Fill in entry card and  get checked by staff from China Immigration Inspection to get temporary entry permit.


How Long to Stay in Kunming

2-3 days
  • Western Hill & Dragon Gate
  • Dianchi Lake
  • Stone Forests
4-6 days
  • Western Hill & Dragon Gate
  • Village of Ethnic Culture
  • Dianchi Lake
  • Stone Forests
  • Luoping


Recommended Kunming Tours:

Recommended Tour You Might Like

4 Days Kunming and Stone Forest Tour

Western Hill & Dragon Gate, Huating Temple, Grand View Tower, Stone Forest

Tailor-made your personal Kunming Tour: Free Online Tailor-made Tour


Transportation in Kunming

►To Kunming

There are domestic flights from more than 130 cities in China to Kunming Changshui International Airport every day, and international flights from more than 30 international cities, such as Bangkok, Paris and San Francisco.

Kunming Changshui International Airport

You can also go to Kunming by train, it’s convenient to take train to Kunming from many other cities in China. Or you can choose bus, there are five bus stations in Kunming, very convenient for your trip.


►Urban Traffic

Metro: connected to most of the attractions, shopping centers and train stations. Try to avoid the rush hours.

Taxi: flexible for your time.

Bus: also convenient to all the attractions but slower than metro.

Shared Bike: experience the local life along the way to your destination.


Read more about transportation in Kunming.


What to Prepare for Kunming Tour

What to Wear

With very short, cool but dry winter and long, humid summer, weather in Kunming is suitable for visiting the entire year. The raining season is from May to October. For other months, the weather is dry, try to eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink more water.

Spring: warm but dry, with large temperature difference between day and night. Bring a jacket with you and add clothes according to the changes of temperature.

Summer: the hottest season in Kunming, the weather is not too hot, but has concentrated rainfall, usually with heavy rain. Wear your summer clothing with hats since the ultraviolet ray is strong in Kunming. Better to bring sunscreen with you to avoid sunburn. As it’s the raining season, don’t forget to take umbrella.

Autumn: the weather is dry and cool, and has large temperature difference between day and night, better to bring a jacket with you.

Winter: with adequate sunshine so that the winter is not so cold in Kunming. Take clothes for different seasons and change as the weather changes.


What to Take

  • Get ready for your Visa, and do remember your passport.
  • Prepare for your SIM card to make sure the internet use in China.
  • Take some medicine with you for emergency use, especially if you have pollen allergy.
  • Prepare a pair of comfortable shoes if you want climbing activities.
  • A hat may be needed for the strong sunlight.


What to Know

  • Read some basic information about Kunming and China so that you could understand the local culture better.
  • Know something about ethnic minorities in Yunnan, it may help you have a better experience of the ethnic culture. Especially their special festivals, so that you could have a chance to take part in some of their traditional activities.
  • Learn some basic words and phrases in Chinese so as to communicate with local people easily.


Basic Chinese You Might Need

Chinese Pinyin English
你好  Nǐhǎo Hello/Hi
再见 Zàijiàn Bye/See you
谢谢 Xièxie Thank you.
不客气 Búkèqi  You’re welcome.
对不起 Duìbùqǐ Sorry


Qǐngwènwèishēngjiānzàinǎlǐ?  Excuse me, where is the restroom?
多少钱? Duōshǎoqián? How much?


Learn more about Survival Chinese Phrases.


Special Ethnic Festivals

Festival Date(Chinese Lunar Calendar)
Jindian Temple Fair (Golden Temple Fair)    9th, Jan
Huashan Festival of the Miao Ethnic Group 3rd-7th, Jan
Sanyuesan Festival of the Zhuang Ethnic Group 3rd, Mar
The Firebrand Festival of the Yi Ethnic Group 24th, June
Water-splashing Festival of the Dai Ethnic Group  Around 11st of April (the Gregorian Calendar)