Kunming Attractions - Top sightseeing and things to see  
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Kunming Attractions - Top sightseeing and things to see

Bamboo Temple (Qiongzhu Si)
Bamboo Temple (Qiongzhu Si), a Tang Dynasty temple known for its Arhat statues, is arguably the most famous of Kunming's temples. Arhats are famous monks and "saints" of Chinese Buddhism, usually displayed in large groups of 500 or more. The Arhats of the Bamboo Temple were made over a period of seven years by a famous craftsman from Sichuan called Li Guangxiu. His masterpieces are extremely realistic and lifelike, even if some of the statues are a bit surreal.

The temple is located on the Yu'an Mountain, about 15 km from the center of Kunming. On each side of the temple gate stand four ancient Cypress trees, planted during the Ming Dynasty, more than 400 years ago. Entering the temple, the first thing visitors notice is the carefully designed courtyard, spread over four layers, one on top of another. The Main Hall contains a trinity of enormous gilded Buddha statues seated on lotus thrones.

Two hours should be sufficient time to visit the temple.

How to get there: As minibuses (RMB3) departing from the railway station do not operate on a fixed schedule, depending on your budget, the best way to get to the Bamboo Temple may be to take a taxi. The ride should cost around RMB40.
Opening Hours: 8am-6pm
Cost: RMB10

Expo Garden
Although Expo '99 ended in October 1999, the Expo '99 Garden (Shiboyuan) now serves as a permanent gardening center in Kunming. The garden is now divided into the China Hall, the International Hall, the "Man and Nature" Hall, the Science and Technology Hall and the Greenhouse. The China Hall is composed of 34 sections according to China's provinces and regions, while the International Hall is comprised of 30 sections. As an international botanical garden incorporating educational and recreational activities in one location, the Expo '99 has emerged as a significant Kunming landmark. We recommend you spend at least a half a day in this lovely world class garden.

How to get there: The expo garden is 8km from the city center and can be reached by taxi for RMB20 from most parts of the city. Also, bus routes 68, 69, 72, 47 all link the garden with various places in the city.
Opening Hours: 8am to 9pm
Cost: RMB100 and RMB50 (from 2pm to 9pm).

Green Lake Park (Cuihu Gongyuan)
Green Lake Park (Cuihu Gongyuan) is one of the most picturesque parks in downtown Kunming. In November and December every winter, huge flocks of red-beaked gulls migrate here from Siberia.

Around the park, there are also many excellent bars and restaurants. Since the park is the only one that stays open until 10PM, it is an ideal place for enjoying some Kunming nightlife. Of course, at any other time, the park is always worth a stroll.

How to get there: The park is located in the northern area of the city and can be reached by taxi for RMB10. Also, bus 101, which starts from the Railway Station, circles around the park.
Opening Hours: 7am-10pm
Admission: RMB2.0

Taihua Temple
Taihua Temple, also called Fuyan Temple, is located on the side of the highest peak of the Xishan Mountain. This is one of the most important Buddhist venues in Yunnan. Since the construction of the temple over seven centuries ago, numerous renovations have taken place here.

In front of the temple stands a huge maidenhair tree with a diameter of over 2 meters. The tree was planted by an emperor during the Ming Dynasty. After passing through the main hall, visitors may enter the Piaomiao Tower, where they can get a bird's view of the area below.

How to get there: The Western Hills Park is located 16km southwest of Kunming city on the shores of Dianchi Lake. Bus No. 51 and No. 6 both reach the the park. A taxi will cost RMB30 and take 40 minutes from the city center. There is a cable car linking the Dragon gate and the Yunnan Nationalities Village. Two way tickets cost RMB50 and a one way ticket costs RMB30.
Opening Hours: 8am-7pm
Costs: RMB20.0

Yunnan Nationalities Village
The Nationalities Villages are situated by Dianchi Lake, 6 kilometers south of Kunming, covering about 133.3 hectares.
Yunnan is an epitome of the family of the Chinese nation. There are 56 nationalities in China and 52 of them live in Yunnan. Among them 26 each has a population of more than 5,000, about 14 each has all or most of their population living in Yunnan and about 14 are cross-border nationalities. Each nationality has its particularities in terms of
language, religion, and in the ways of conducting themselves in relation to others, in attire, eating habits, the way of travelling, festivities, marriage, birth and burial customs, just as people say that "Yunnan has ten thousand kinds of customs and conventions".
In order to exhibit the customs and conventions of the 26 nationalities in Yunnan, it is planned to build 26 natural villages, giving prominence to the architectures of various nationalities. Now eight villages have been completed and they were officially opened on February 18, 1992. The group sculpture at the entrance is called "white elephants greeting guests". When night falls, real elephants in the villages would solute to guests.

How to get there
: The Village is located 7km south of the city center. By taxi, the ride will cost you 20RMB from the center of Kunming. Also, bus number 44 can reach the garden.
Opening Hours: 8am-7pm.
Cost: RMB45.0

Dadieshui Waterfall (Dadieshui Pubu)
Dadieshui Waterfall (Dadieshui Pubu), is one of the largest and most famous waterfalls in China. The water rushes down over a 30 meter wide section of cliff at 150 cubic meters per second down 88 meters to the rocks. When the water hits the rocks below, the water splashes into the sinking mist.

An hour or two at the waterfall should be enough to enjoy the surrounding scenery.

How to get there: It is about 30 km southwest of Lunan County, where the Stone Forest is located. After visiting the Stone Forest, many travelers might then visit the waterfall in the afternoon. In Lunan, there are many minibuses to the Dadieshui Waterfall for RMB5. (Lunan County is about 95km from Kunming. See the Stone Forest for more information.)
Opening Hours: 8am-9pm
Cost: RMB20

Golden Temple Park (Jindian Gongyuan)
The most interesting attractions in the Golden Temple Park (Jindian Gongyuan) are the Taihe Palace (Taihegong) and the Golden Temple (Jindian).

Taihe Temple is the most important and active Taoist temple in Yunnan. Atop the front gate, is a large horizontal board inscribed with the Chinese saying "Ying Wu Chun Shen", meaning "Spring abounds on Yingwu Mountain" (the site of the park).

The Ming Dynasty Golden Temple is the most unique and well known structure in the park. It, like Taihe Temple, is a Taoist temple. However, the special thing about Jindian is the architecture. The walls, sixteen pillars, rafters, roof tiles, altar, statues, altar-hanging, the horizontal inscribed board, the table and even the banner on the right in front of the temple are all made from bronze. The whole temple weighs more than 280 tons, making it not only one of the four largest bronze temples in China, but also the heaviest and best preserved.

How to get there: The Golden Temple Park is located 8km east of the city center. A taxi ride from the city center should cost RMB20 and take less than 30 minutes. Bus No.10 connects the park with Yuantong Dong Lu near the Yuantong Temple.
Opening Hours: 8am-7pm.
Cost: RMB15.

Jiuxiang is a major Kunming tourist attraction famous for its limestone caves. In fact, this wonderful spot even has an underground waterfall and a breathtaking gorge.

"The Field of the Gods" is one of the cave's main attractions. Water flows down from a hole in the cave here and is split into two at the spot where it falls.

Local people liken the two spurts of water to a husband and wife and have crafted a story to describe the sight. Outside the cave is a 700 meter long gorge, covered on both sides by thick vegetation and trees. We recommend spending at least three hours to enjoy this sight to the full.

How to get there: The scenic area is about 80km from Kunming. The best way to get there is to taking a bus from the Kunming Railway station, which costs about RMB15 and takes 2 hours. The best way to get to the caves is to hire a car, which should cost around RMB300 for a whole day.
Opening Hours: 9am-6pm
Cost: RMB30.0

The Western Hills
The Western Hills, about 15 km from Kunming city, lie along the western shore of Dianchi Lake. It stretches from north to south for about 40 km. The Hills resemble a reclining maiden lying on the banks of Dianchi Lake with her long hair flowing down into the lake.

As a result, the Western Hills have the nickname of the "A Sleeping Beauty Hills". In actuality, the Western Hills is a forested and lovely park which is perfect for hiking. Some of the major sites include: Huating Temple (Huating Si), an ancient Buddhist temple that was originally a retreat for the local ruler; Taihua Temple (Taihua Si), with its charming orchard courtyard; Sanqing Pavilion (Sanqingge), a Daoist temple dedicated to that religion's three major deities; and Dragon Gate (Longmen), a collection of Daoist caves and sculptures.

We recommend taking at least half a day to climb the Hills and explore the various sites along the way.

How to get there: The Western Hills Park is located 16km southwest of Kunming city on the shores of Dianchi Lake. Bus No. 51 and No.6 both reach the the park. A taxi costs RMB30 and takes 40 minutes from the city center. There is a cable car linking the Dragon gate and the Yunnan Nationalities Village. Two way tickets cost RMB50 and a one way ticket costs RMB30.
Opening Hours: 8am-7pm
Costs: RMB20.0

Dian Lake (Dianchi)
Dianchi Lake, which lies in the south of Kunming, is compared to a sapphire set on the highland of Yunnan. It is a highland lake, much treasured both in the light of Kunming's perennial spring weather and The splendid scenic beauty of the lake district.
Formed as a result of geological faults and subsidence, the lake occupies an area of about 340 square kilometres and is the sixth biggest fresh water lake in China. In ancient times it was called Diannan Lake or Kunming Lake. Surrounded by hills and criss-crossed by streams, the lake basin is spread with thousands of acres of fertile fields reaching as far as the eye can see. Besides, the whole district enjoys a greater prosperity of cultural life. Since olden times it has been a much frequente d beauty spot, reputed as the "West lake on the High- land." Among the places of interest are:
"Xiyuan" villa on the lake front, at the foot of the Western Hills, now a guesthouse for foreign tourists.
Buddha Hill, which commands a view of scattered fishing hamlets and white sails.
"Solitary Vale Garden" at White Fish Mouth, known for its rippling waves and weeping willows as well as bright flowers and shady trees.
The famous Daguan Park.

How to get there: A Taxi ride to the northern section of the lake near Daguan Tower lakeside from the city center should cost you a mere RMB15.

Grand View Park (Daguan Gongyuan)
Grand View Park (Daguan Gongyuan) sits on the northern shores of the Dian Lake. Completed in 1690 during the Qing Dynasty, the park consists of hills, ponds, pavilions and rockeries in a style similar to that of the gardens of the Yangtze River Delta.

The Grand View Tower (Daguanlou) itself offers great views of Dian Lake. It is also inscribed with an 180 character poem describing the beauty and history of the area. This poem is the longest of its kind in Chinese literature. The construction of the Tower is that of a typical well-preserved wooden pagoda.

How to get there: The park is 3km away from the city center. Bus No.52 runs between the park, the airport and other sites. The park can also be reached by taking buses No.4 and No.54. From the city center, a taxi can reach the park in 20 minutes for around RMB15.
Admission: RMB5
Opening Hours: 8am-6pm

Stone Forests (Shilin)
The best of the world famous Stone Forests (Shilin) of Kunming are in Lunan County, 90km south of Kunming. Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created an art gallery of stone sculpture here.

This typical karst physiognomy takes the form of a forest of stone pillars and boulders. It is as if the countless stone shapes have sprung from the ground, assuming different shapes as if vying to surpass each other in grandeur and sublime beauty.

Some look like sheets or pillars, others resemble swords raised towards the sky while others, standing in pairs, suggest scenes of young lovers overjoyed in reunion or sad at parting or of a mother and child strolling side by side. Among the sights in the Stone Forest are Lion Arbor, Sword Peak Pond, Lotus Peak, Moon Lake, Jade Lake, and Dadie Waterfall.

How to get there: The best way to reach the Stone Forest is by taking a tourist train from Kunming Railway Station. The trip costs RMB20 one way and RMB30 for a round trip. The train leaves Kunming at 8:28am (arriving at 9:55am) and departs from the Stone Forest at 3:20pm (arriving in Kunming at 4:47pm).
You can also take a bus from the railway station. The trip takes about 2 hours if the bus is fully occupied, but the trip may take much longer if the bus is not full and stops along the way to pick up passengers. Tickets are RMB20, and round trip tickets are RMB40.
Admission: RMB55.00

Yuantong Temple
Yuantong Temple (Yuantong Si) is the grandest and most active temple in Kunming with a history of more than 1200 years. Located on the south side of Yuantong Hill, it is a destination of pilgrimage for pilgrims worldwide. In 1956, the temple held a tooth of the Buddha here for a short time.

The ceremonies at which the tooth relic where received and sent off were important events in the history of Yuantong Si. The architecture of the temple buildings is rather typical, but the halls of the temple are visited in order on a declining slope, not on an ascending slope as is typical in Chinese Buddhist temples. In the temple are numerous scenic spots, and a pool reserved for setting captive fish free! (Fangshengchi). Yuantong Temple is one of the most important sites in the region for Buddhist ceremonies.

On the 1st and 15th of each lunar month, people gather here to take part in all kinds of Buddhist services. There is also a good vegetarian restaurant on the premises serving lunch and dinner.

How to get there: Yuantong Temple is conveniently located in the northern area of the city on Yuantong Jie. The easiest way to reach the temple is by taxi from the city center, which should cost RMB10. From the railway station, bus 101 can also take you to the Yuantong Temple.
Opening Hours: 8am-6pm
Cost: RMB4.0

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