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Kunming has a 144-hour (or 6-day) visa-free policy for international stopovers using Kunming Changshui International Airport. During the time period, you may travel throughout the large area of the municipality of Kunming.
This is a convenient policy for those wishing to spend some time for a visit to the Kunming region without the hassle and extra cost of obtaining a China visa.
Here, we present useful information about the policy and how to take advantage of it for touring and visits.
Good news: Starting from January 1, 2019, Kunming's 144-hour visa-free travel policy came into effect. It replaces the earlier 72-hour policy.
Visit Kunming with your passport and air tickets, but NO visa!
This policy requires that passengers must be in transit to a third country or a Specially Administered Region of China. Making a round trip from/to the same country doesn't qualify.
Your itinerary should be departure country → Kunming → a third country or region. For example, Canada → Kunming → Australia is an acceptable itinerary.
Hong Kong and Macau are considered to be regions separate from Mainland China for international transit purposes, and you won’t need a visa if you transit in either of these Special Administrative Regions (SARs). You can include them in your itinerary like this: USA → Malaysia → Kunming → Hong Kong → USA.
1) Inform your carrier of your intent to use the 144-hour TWOV (Transit Without a Visa).
2) Fill in arrival and departure cards (available on your flights).
3) Apply for the 144-hour visa-free stay at the dedicated counter on your arrival.
4) Claim your luggage, go through customs, and exit the airport.
5) Leave from Kunming Changshui International Airport within 144 hours from 00:00 on the day after arrival.
More about China's national 144-Hour Visa-Free Policies.
Kunming Changshui International Airport is a medium-sized international airport in western China, and it has a small selection of international flights. So, when you are traveling to a third destination outside of Mainland China, you are likely to need to look carefully to find suitable connecting flights.
There are flights to many cities in China and a few flights to East Asia and the Middle East, plus a flight to Vancouver, one to Sydney, and one to Paris (ending Feb. 2020). Be aware that the airport has one big terminal, one of the biggest in China.
Changshui International Airport is convenient for city visits since it is only 25 kilometers (15 miles) northeast of the city center of Kunming and Metro Line 6 goes there directly. Line 6 takes about 50 minutes to go to the central Dongfeng Square area. Our 3-Day Kunming Tour is a private tour that includes airport pickup and hotel transfer for less hassle and saved time.
See Kunming Transportation for more local information.
Downtown Kunming around Dongfeng Square is conveniently about 18 minutes from the airport by taxi. This central area has tourist hotels, Green Lake (Cui Hu) Park and a zoo within walking distance, and major tourist shopping streets such as Nanping Business Street and Zhengyi Pedestrian Street.
Guandu Ancient Town is a place you can go to in the southern part of the city. Handbags made by the Yi and ethnic pewter products are available. There are little food stalls and traditional restaurants. It has some old pagodas and architecture.
Central Kunming is the best place for hotels for tourists due to the convenient central location and airport access. The Dongfeng Square metro station is the main hub station for lines 2 and 3. Be aware that Kunming is at a high elevation of 1,900 meters (6,230 feet). The climate all year around is pleasant spring-like weather. Having private transportation to avoid exertion will help to allay any initial altitude sickness.
The Stone Forest (Shilin) is about 90 kilometers (56 miles) southeast of the city of Kunming. It has among the most striking karst scenery in all of China. The area was seldom traveled by tourists until recently.
The area has waterfalls, lakes, and karst caves. We can pick you up at the airport and take you on a tour. A private driver makes a trip much more convenient.
If you are interested in visiting with some local people, our expert tour guides can help you visit the Yi ethnic people who live there. A good visit takes at least 4 hours. This would make for a good day trip.
The Dongchuan Redlands are another famed scenic area. These are terraced farmlands known for the peculiar red earth decorated with the bright multicolored fields of the highland farmers. It is among the most striking countryside in China.
The scenic natural terrain is beautiful as well. Two hours by car away, Jiaozi Snow Mountain reaches 4,330 meters (14,206 meters) high. The valley lowlands are lower than Kunming at 695 meters (2,280 feet). We have a special "Classic Dongchuan Red Fields Photography Tour (3–4 days)" that is perfect for your visa-free visit. We'll make sure you catch your flight.
The Yi people are the dominant ethnic group, but there are also Big Flowery Miao there as well. While seeing the scenery, you can enjoy the ethnic food and customs. The Yi are known for dance entertainments. You can get an insight into the lives of the minority communities by visiting with them in their homes. We can arrange that for you.
Along with being a large city, Kunming is a large region with many historic and scenic places. We can assist you in your visa-free tour of Kunming.
It makes sense to let experts arrange your local tour to save your time and save you from stress and headaches. Our experts can help you do what you want to do.
We could design a stopover in Kunming according to your wishes. Let us customize a unique tour for you.