Kunming Travel Guide
Kunming, the capital and largest city of Yunnan Province, is the political, cultural, economic, and transportation center of Yunnan Province. Kunming is well-connected with Southeast Asia and is a pivotal destination on the south China tourist loop (Chengdu–Kunming–Guilin–HK).
Known as 'the City of Eternal Spring' and 'the City of Flowers', visitors come in great numbers to enjoy the spring-like climate and spectacular scenery.
See Kunming Facts for more background information.
Kunming COVID Restrictions [Dec. 2020]
Kunming is conditionally open and can be visited. If you are planning a trip to Kunming and want to know more details, please contact us. Alternatively, you can check out our popular Kunming tours for inspiration.
What you will need to visit:
- Green health code
Kunming is located on the elevated and mountainous Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in sub-tropical south China. From Kunming, you can visit tropical Xishuangbanna to the south, explore snow-capped Shangri-La in the Tibetan foothills to the west, and appreciate Luoping's rape flowers on mountain rice terraces to the east.
Top Reasons to Visit Kunming
- Kunming is known as 'the Spring City' as every season is like spring: changeable but not too extreme. It is a good place to escape a hot summer or a frozen winter.
- Covered with blossoms and lush vegetation all year round, Kunming is named and famed as 'the Flower City'.
- Home to 25 ethnic minority groups, Kunming is the focal point of Yunnan’s minority culture.
- Blessed with karst landscapes, snowcapped mountains, and red lands surrounding it, Kunming is a heaven for photographers.
- It is convenient for travel from the large China cities with international flights as far as America (pandemic measures permitting) and to Yunnan’s popular destinations.
Cannot wait to visit Kunming? See our Kunming tours page to find out what might interest you.
The Must-See Attractions in Kunming
Its beautiful natural scenery and colorful ethnic culture make Kunming one of the top 20 tourist destinations in China. Kunming has become a well-catered-for tourist destination with great infrastructure, holiday-spending, sightseeing, and entertainment combined as one.
- The Stone Forest World Geopark: It is a large comprehensive tourist zone with natural scenery, folk customs, and scientific research combined; and it's the spikiest karst landscape in the world.
- Dongchuan Red Land: Its terraced fields are the most character-filled and colorful red land on the Yunnan Plateau. Praised as 'God's palette', it is an ideal place for photography.
- Yunnan Minority Village: See shows, traditional clothing, and replica buildings displaying the culture of Yunnan’s 25 ethnic minorities.
- Western Hills (Xishan) Forest Park: It has enjoyed great fame for its beautiful and unique natural scenery since ancient times and is renowned as 'the most beautiful place in Yunnan'.
Kunming 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit
From January 1st of 2019, Kunming introduced a 144-hour (6-day) visa-free transit policy for visitors of 53 specified countries, including the US, Canada, Australia and most countries in Europe. This makes a Kunming trip much easier: travel without applying for a visa. Just bring your passport and an onward air ticket to a third country or region.
For more information about the free visa policy, read How to Visit China Without a Visa.
Consider our 3-Day Kunming Highlights Tour for a visa-free travel plan.
With its pleasant climate, Kunming is suitable for travel throughout the year. And the best time would be from March to October to enjoy local festivals and different flower blossoms.
Here’s a table of temperatures with what to visit Kunming for and pack in different seasons:
|Season||Temperature||What to Visit For||Packing List|
|Dry, mild–warm spring
|Enjoy peach blossom||Light sweater and coat|
|Warm, wet summer
|Escape from summer heat||Summer clothes and
a light coat for
evenings + waterproof/umbrella
|Taste various fruits||T-shirts and a light jacket|
|Sunny, Cool, Dry Winter
|Escape from winter cold||Thick sweater and
overcoat or down jacket
Special Notes on Weather for Traveling in Kunming:
- 1. It's especially windy in April, May, October, and November due to the monsoon season arriving and departing. You're highly recommended to take a coat with you owing to the large temperature differences between day and night, and sometimes hour to hour as the wind changes the weather rapidly.
- 2. Situated on a high plateau, with an altitude of 1,500–2,800 meters (4,900–9,200 feet), Kunming is exposed to strong ultraviolet radiation, you are advised to bring along a hat, sunglasses, and sun cream with a high SPF (sun protection factor).
More on Kunming Weather
The Most Popular Kunming Tours
Do you want to tour Kunming with a local expert? Our professional guides would help you have a superior experience: explore the less-visited and more remote areas of the Stone Forest, go to the best places to take photographs in Dongchuan Red Land…
Here are our most popular Kunming tours for you to consider:
- 3-Day Stone Forest and City Essence Tour — taking you to discover the most popular attractions in Kunming
- 8-Day Shangri-La Exploration Tour — including the must-see attractions in Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La
Contact us for a customized Kunming tour.