Situated at an elevation of 2000m above sea level on the fertile Yunnan plateau, Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, is also known as the 'City of Eternal Spring'. Subtropical Kunming is skirted by mountain ranges to the north, east and west, and by large Lake Dianchi to the south.
Kunming has a history spanning more than 3,000 years. It is known to have been a small settlement as early as 109 BC, trading in salt, silver, gold, silk and lumber. Through the 8th to the 13th centuries it was the secondary capital of a small kingdom in the region, before falling to the Mongols in 1374. A small group of Mongols still exists at Tonghai beyond Kunming. In the early 20th century it became an important rail hub when the French constructed the rail link between Vietnam and China, and during WWII it was one end of the Burma Road built by the Allies.
Drawcards in Kunming include a number of important temples including the Yuantong Temple, the grandest and most important Buddhist temple in the Yunnan Province, the splendid Provincial Museum with artefacts from the past 2,500 years, the Old Muslim Quarter and the Bird and Flower Market.
Some 16km from Kunming are the Western Hills, which rise to 2,500m, and Dragon Gate, a series of winding steps, tunnels and statue-filled grottoes leading up to a lookout point, which is also served by a chair-lift. The views from the top extend over Lake Dianchi. Dianchi, also known as Kunming Lake, covers 130 square miles and was formed by a geological fault in the central Yunnan Plateau.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Kunming, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to China
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