The 3rd largest city in south-west China (next to Chengdu and Chongqing), Kunming is the political, cultural, economic and transportation center of Yunnan Province and a portal to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, southern Europe and Africa. It's located on Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, from which you can visit Xishuangbanna to the south, explore the snow-capped Shangri-La to the north, watch the Tengchong volcano to the west and appreciate Luoping rape flowers to the east. Kunming serves as a transportation hub in south-west China, which is conveniently accessible to the major cities of China.
Kunming enjoys a mild climate year-round owing to the cold current being stopped by the vast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; hence it's praised as the Spring City. The beautiful natural scenery, glorious historical heritages and colorful folk customs made Kunming one of the first excellent tourist destination cities in China, and Kunming has since become a comprehensive tourist destination with tourism, holiday-spending, sightseeing and entertainment combined as one. Over 100 sightseeing spots are available in Kunming, highlighted by the following.
Stone Forest World Geopark: a large comprehensive tourist zone with natural scenery, folk customs and scientific research combined, and it's the most grotesque karst landscape in the world.
Dongchuan Red Land: the most typical and characteristic red land on Yunnan Plateau, it features dark red, purple red and brick red colors. The red hills are blanketed by rape flowers and yam flowers in spring, and golden wheat rolls in billows like yellow river waves in autumn, making it an ideal place for photography. Read more about the best time and the most eye-catching places for photography in the Red Land of Dongchuan.
Verdant Lake Park (Cuihu Park):a green gem embedded in Kunming, it's located at the west foot of Wuhua Mountain, which is dotted with verdant bamboo forests and willows in spring and summer, hence its name. Swarms of black-headed gulls from Siberia flock there to spend winter from November to December, adding much vigor to the park.
Xishan Forest Park: it's a picturesque park where the birds sing among the verdant and thick trees, the streams run in the valley and the rosy clouds slowly rise, where the main cultural heritages include Huating Temple, Taihua Temple, Sanqing Pavilion and the Dragon Gate.
In addition, the World Gardening Exposition, an exhibit base of Kunming World Horticulture Exposition, is a perfect combination of architectural art, sculptural art and rare plants, fully representing the theme of harmonious development between human beings and nature. Golden Horse and Jade Rooster Archways are two delicately-decorated archways built in the Xuande Period of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Yuantong Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in Kunming and it highlights the 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) tall statue of Sakyamuni.
Kunming is a multi-ethnic city, where 26 ethnic groups live harmoniously together, including the Han, the Yi, the Hui, the Bai, the Miao, the Hani, the Dai and the Zhuang people. The ethnic minority people are good at both dancing and singing, and they have also retained their unique traditional ways of life, whose clothing styles and food cultures will be of interest, especially to foreigners. Yunnan Ethnic Minorities Village is an ideal place for you to learn more about the ethnic groups in Kunming.
The annual average temperature of Kunming is 15°C (59°F); the hottest and coldest temperatures are 31.5°C (88.7°F) in summer and 6°C (42.8°F) in winter respectively. Kunming is suitable for travel throughout the year, and many ethnic festivals, such as the Flower Appreciating Festival (on March 3rd) and the Water Slashing Festival (from April 13th to April 15th) are held from March to April; what's more, you also have a chance to appreciate the flowers in full bloom. It's rather rainy in April, May, October and November in Kunming due to the influence of a monsoon wind. You're highly recommended to take a coat with you owing to the large temperature difference between the daytime and the night-time.