Covering an area of 306 square kilometers (118 square miles), the crescent-shaped Dianchi Lake is in the south-west of Kunming City. It is 39 kilometers (24 miles) from north to south and around 13 kilometers (8 miles) from west to east at an altitude of 1,886 meters (6,186 feet) above sea level. The ancient Dian tribe used to live near it, hence its name, and it has a water capacity of 15,700 million cubic meters.
Also known as Kunming Lake, Dianchi Lake is surrounded by hills with Jinma Hill in the east, Biji Hill in the west, Baihe Hill (White Crane Hill) in the south and Sheshan Hill (Snake Hill) in the north, whose shore area is fertile with a comfortable weather condition and abundant rivers for irrigation. Dianchi Lake has a long history. In the Warring States period, Dian State was built in this region. Dianchi Lake has crystal-clear water which looks like a glittering pearl set on a mountain basin and it reflects the surrounding mountains and the blue sky.
Dianchi Lake is one of the 12 national-level tourist resorts in China, and it’s filled with profound historical and cultural connotations, where the famous attractions include Dianchi Corner, Haigeng Park and White Fish (Baiyu) Mouth.
Situated south-west of Dianchi Lake, Dianchi Corner is actually a famous sanitarium in Kunming, where the highlights include Hollow Valley Garden, Leilou Villas, Yinsheng Bridge, Red Cloud Dock, Waiting-for-Moon Pavilion and Lukewarm Water (Wenshui) Spring. Buses 24 and 44 will take you there from Kunming city center.
Haigeng Park is actually a long causeway in the north-east of Dianchi Lake, where the rivers crisscross with drooping willows waving in the wind. In the south of Haigeng Park is a natural swimming pool, which attracts thousands of visitors each day during summer. In addition, Yunnan Folk Custom Village is also available in the park, where you can appreciate the unique folk customs of the Yi, the Dai and the Bai ethnic minorities. Thousands of black-headed gulls gather in the park to spend winter there each year, which is rather spectacular.
In addition, a number of scenic spots are also available around Dianchi Lake, including Xishan (West Mountain) Forest Park, Grand-View Park and Yunnan Nationality Museum.