Experience the city of Kunming’s infectiously relaxed attitude and reverence for nature when you explore its quaint Old Town and surrounding national parks. The city’s climate is such that many of its blossoming arcades of trees are fragrant and flowering throughout much of the year. Historically renowned as the gateway to the Silk Road and its connections to India, Tibet, Sichuan and Myanmar, the city has a millennia-old history as a bustling mercantile hub.
A great place to begin your visit is in the Kunming City Centre. This beautifully preserved district is comprised of two squares and five intersecting roads. Check out the traditional archway and elegant architecture at Jinma Biji Square (also known as Jinbi Square) or head to Dongfeng Square to people-watch at this popular meeting place. Nanping Street is a busy pedestrianized strip lined with shops, casual diners and restaurants. Nearby, you’ll find the Jingxing Flower and Bird Market. Peruse the stalls selling eye-catching bird species and other critters or follow the scent of freshly cut flowers to the florists’ stalls.
Learn more about the region’s botanical prowess at the Horticultural Expo Garden or relax by the waterfront gardens of Green Lake Park. Daguan Park presents a wide vista across the city with a backdrop of blue-tinted mountains. Learn about some of the 26 ethnic minorities that live in this region at the Provincial Museum. Climb Mingfeng Hill to see the Golden Temple, which is among the largest copper temples in China.
If you have time to experience the splendor of Kunming’s surrounding landscapes, be sure to book a trip to the Stone Forest. These natural stone formations are among Kunming’s top attractions. Explore caves and karst lakes or learn about the local legends that are believed to have sculpted the landscape.
Kunming is a major transportation hub in southwest China and is easy to access by air, train and bus. Regional attractions such as Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La are linked by public transit. Despite the warm climate, you will still need to pack winter clothes between December and January. Enjoy clean air, preserved city streets and pretty parklands in Kunming.