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Kunming Transportation

Kunming Transportation

Written by Sunny XieUpdated Aug. 1, 2023

To get the most out of a visit to Yunnan Province, travelers would do well to familiarize themselves with the provincial, inter-provincial, and internationally-linked transportation network, including travel options by air, by rail, and by road. The main air, rail, and highway routes within the province and beyond are listed below.

Where is Kunming Located?

Kunming is located in east–central Yunnan Province, southwest China.

How to Get to Kunming by Air

Changshui International Airport is located about 25 kilometers northeast of downtown Kunming. A taxi there will take about 30–40 minutes.

It is the only national gateway airport in southwest China, and is the fourth largest national gateway airport following Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

Presently, there are 38 airline companies in the airport providing over 100 flights to domestic cities as well as international cities and regions. It is very easy to include Kunming in your itinerary.

From Number of Direct Flights Per Day (Approx.) Journey Time (Approx.)
Beijing–Kunming >19 3 hours 35 minutes
Shanghai–Kunming  >21 3 hours 40 minutes
Xi’an–Kunmin >17 2 hours 25 minutes
Guilin–Kunming >2 1 hour 40 minutes
Chengdu–Kunming 18 1 hour 30 minutes
Lhasa–Kunming 1 2 hours 25 minutes
Hong Kong–Kunming > 2 2 hours 25 minutes
Kuala Lumpur–Kunming 1 hours 50 minutes
Singapore–Kunming >1 4 hours 15 minutes
Bangkok–Kunming 4 2 hours 10 minutes

72-hour visa-free travel to Kunming began on October 1st, 2014. Foreigners are allowed to stay for up to 72 hours within Kunming without a visa. Travelers from 51 countries and regions, including the US, Canada, Australia, and most countries in Europe, with an onward flight from Kunming to the third country/region are able to benefit from this policy.

See our 3-Day Kunming Highlight Tour.

How to Get to Kunming by Train

Take a train to KunmingTake a train to Kunming

Serving as the province's railway hub, Kunming has five railway stations. The most important one is Kunming Railway Station, about four kilometers (2.5 miles) from the center of the city.

Traveling by Inter-Province Trains is Not Recommended

This station operates trains to many tourist cities like Chengdu, Guiyang, Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, and Guilin. Located in southwest China, Kunming is far away from the major tourist cities in other parts of China. For example, it takes over 30 hours to travel from Beijing/Shanghai/Xi’an to Kunming.

To save time, you are recommended to go by air instead of by train. You can search for more trains here: China Trains.

Travel by Train Within Yunnan Province

You can travel by train within Yunnan Province if you are not restricted for time. The train routes can reach Dali, Lijiang, Qujjing, and so on.

There are eight daily trains (K trains to fast trains) from Kunming to Dali, with departures from 08:10 to 23:15. It takes 6–8 hours. There are six daily trains (K trains to fast trains) from Kunming to Lijiang, with departures from 09:40 to 22:14. It takes 8–10 hours.

If you have a Yunnan tour package that includes Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang, taking a train journey is a good choice, which will give you an unforgettable experience.

You can board the train in Kunming and it will take 6–8 hours to arrive in Dali, and then take about 2 hours to reach Lijiang. You can see beautiful scenery along the way.

High-Speed Railway to/from Kunming

The Kunming–Chongqing High-Speed Railway will be constructed in 2016 and plans to go into operation in 2020. It is expected to shorten the traveling time between Kunming and Chongqing municipality from 19 hours to 3 hours.

The Shanghai–Kunming High-Speed Railway is partially under construction. The Guiyang–Kunming section is scheduled to open in late 2016. Then it will only take about 2 hours to travel between these two cities.

City Transportation

  • City buses: Over 300 bus lines completely crisscross the city, reaching every corner. The price is quite cheap and is usually 1 yuan for a normal bus and 2 yuan for an air-conditioned bus. There are also nine BRTs (Bus Rapid Transit) running on main roads.
  • Subway: Kunming has planned to build six subway lines, and three lines (Subway Line 1, 2, and 6) are already in use.
  • Taxi: The starting price is 8 yuan for the first three kilometers and 2.5 yuan will be added per extra kilometer. After 22:00, the price is increased slightly to 9 yuan for the first 3 kilometers and 2.5 yuan per extra kilometer.
  • Bicycle: Hotels around Kunming Railway Station provide bicycle rental services. The price is usually 2 yuan per hour and 10 yuan per day.


Bus Station Bus transport is the way for nearby tourist spots, buecommended for long distances.

Yunnan has built a comprehensive highway system with roads that reach almost all of the major towns and cities in the region. Bus travel across the region is now very convenient and easy. Travelers can take a bus there heading to the neighboring tourist destinations. But we do not recommend to take a bus for long distance (over 3 hours). Train or plane would be preferable.

There are five long distance bus stations in Kunming: East Bus Station, West Bus Station, South Bus Station, North Bus Station, and Northwest Bus Station.

Our Most Popular Kunming Tours

Travel with China HighlightsTravel with China Highlights, and you will be taken good cared by a private guide.

It is not easy for a foreigner to figure out the complex transport network in Kunming. We are here to help. Contact our travel advisors for help with arranging a tour in a time-saving and comfortable way. Our customized service will take the hassle out of your stay in China.

Here are our most popular Kunming tours, for your reference:

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