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7 Facts to Help You Get to Know Kunming

The key facts you should know about Kunming as a tourist are about: 1) its natural scenery, 2) souvenirs, 3) history, 4) ethnic culture, 5) regional status, 6) climate, and 7) transportation. 

  • Chinese: 昆明 Kūnmíng /kwnn-ming/) 'Older-brother Bright'

1. Kunming is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery.

The Stone Forest, Kunming

2. Kunming's most popular souvenirs include jade and minority handicrafts.

Kunming is a shopping heaven for people looking for unique Chinese trinkets. 

You can find beautiful wood carvings, Burmese jade, and other valuable stone items there. In addition, the various ethnic minority groups make beautiful handcrafted pieces like the handbags of the Yi ethnicity, brocade made by the Dai ethnicity, wax prints etc. For more information on these, see Kunming Shopping.

The centre of the city is located around Yunnan University. The very big Kunming Department Store area to the southeast is the main bustling shopping, theatre, and dining district.

3. Kunming has a rich cultural and historical significance

Being located in a mountain valley, Kunming was important as a trade route in the region and often changed hands among empires and kingdoms. Here are Kunming's history highlights:

  • 109 BC The Han Empire captured Kunming and gained partial control of the Southern Silk Road.
  • 765 AD The Nanzhao captured Kuning after rebelling against the Tang Empire.
  • 1253 The Mongols captured Kunming.
  • 1910 A rail line to Hanoi was built, and Kunming began to modernize and grow.
  • 1937 Kunming grew rapidly and industrialized after wealthy businessmen, the Chinese army, and Western air forces made Kunming a major war base against Japan.

4. Kunming has a beautiful blend of various ethnic communities

the Naxi MinorityThe Naxi ethnicity

Kunming has a population of about 6.2 million people, of which about 6% are minority nationalities including Yi, Hui, and Miao people. You can get an insight into the lives of the minority communities by visiting Yunnan Minority Village and Jianshui Ancient Town.

5. Kunming accounts for about half of Yunnan's GDP.

Kunming is the capital city of Yunnan province and the province's main commercial hub. The city area is developing as a tourism and resort region, which is very important to the Kunming's growing economy.

The service industry accounts for 49% of its economy. Other major industries include metallurgy, electrical appliances, and automobile manufacture. Manufacturing is about 45% of the economy, and the remaining 6% is agriculture. 

Also, with opening of direct rail services to neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand, the city's economic development is getting a major push.

6. You can visit Kunming throughout the year.

Srping-like weather in KunmingThere is spring-like weather to be enjoyed all year round in Kunming.

The climate of Kunming is pleasantly moderate throughout the year which is why it is called "the spring city". With temperature averaging 2°C (36°F) in January and 24°C (75°F) in June, Kunming doesn't get very hot or cold, despite its subtropical climate. 

For more details, and month-by-month weather pages, see Kunming Weather

7. Kunming serves as a China gateway and Yunnan transport hub.

Kunming Changshui International Airport is the 7th busiest airport in China. There are direct flights from almost all the major cities in China, as well as to the capital cities of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea. Flights to Vancouver, Paris, and Sydney have also started, which has made it easier to travel directly to Kunming. 

There are 5 regular train stations in Kunming. Recently, China launched its longest bullet train "Shangri-La of the world" from Kunming to Beijing. This and other HSR lines have reduced (or will reduce) travelling time to places like Chengdu, Guilin, and Shanghai by half a day.

Also, Kunming is a regional hub for highways and other transportation easier. To go to other popular Yunnan destinations like Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-la, and Xishuangbanna (whether by air, rail, or road), most people go via Kunming.

Planning a Trip to Kunming

China Highlights clients with Naxi people China Highlights clients with Bai People

If you want to take a tour of this magnificent city and enjoy it's cultural and ethnic diversities, we at China Highlights can assist you in planning the whole trip. We can also tailor-make your tour to suit your requirements.