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Yunnan Transportation: Getting to/Around Yunnan by Plane, Train and Coach

Yunnan Province mapYunnan Province map

Yunnan is attracting an increasing number of visitors from China and abroad along, and this has led to developments in transportation.

Kunming, the capital of the province, functions as a transport hub connecting Yunnan with the rest of China, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. It is convenient to get to/around Yunnan by air, train, and coach.

By Air

Currently Yunnan Province has 13 airports in its major tourist cities, such as Kunming, Lijiang, Dali, Shangri-La, and Jinghong (Xishuangbanna), making these cities easily reached from the main cities in China.

  • Kunming Changshui International Airport is the largest airport in Yunnan, serving both domestic and international flights. It offers direct flights to and from major cities in Yunnan (including those below), China, and Southeast Asia, such as Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok. Learn more about Kunming transportation.
  • Lijiang Sanyi International Airport connects with 8 large cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing, and Hangzhou.
  • Dali Airport offers nonstop flights to two more cities than Lijiang Airport: Changsha and Zhengzhou.
  • Diqing Shangri-La Airport offers direct flights to/from three cities: Lhasa, Chongqing, and Guangzhou.
  • Xishuangbanna Airport has 3 airline routes: to/from Shanghai, Chengdu, and Chongqing.

By Train

Bullet train

It is possible to get to Yunnan by train, though it is not as convenient as travelling by air.

Bullet trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Jinan, Nanjing, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou are available to Kunming, but the journeys are long (6–12 hours for the quickest trains). It takes 20+ hours for inter-province sleeper trains to Yunnan.

Travelling by train is a better option if you travel between Yunnan and neighboring provinces Sichuan, Guizhou (Guiyang–Kunming now 2½h!), and Guangxi, or within Yunnan province. Click to check a train route schedule.

Yunnan Province is also expanding the provincial rail network to neighboring Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam and Myanmar.

By Coach

With Kunming city as the center, Yunnan has a developed highway network stretching to the major cities in Yunnan, neighboring provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Tibet, and even neighboring countries of Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.

It is convenient to take a coach between these tourist destinations in Yunnan:

  • Kunming to Dali: about 4 hours
  • Dali to Lijiang: about 4 hours
  • Lijiang to Shangri-la: about 4 hours

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