A Brief Introductory Guide to Kunming China
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Kunming also known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ due to its year-round mild climate and is the capital of the Province of Yunnan. This historical town abounds in historical vestiges that date back to more than two thousand years and was once the gateway to the famous Silk Road that linked the trade routes between India, Myanmar, Tibet and Sichuan.
The modern Kunming is now the epicenter of culture and trade as well as a very popular destination for tourist from all over the world. Every year more and more travelers come to visit this amazing site, both for its mild climate that favors the blooming of flowers whichever the season is and for its rich cultural heritage. Kunming is actually at nearly 1900 meters above sea level and boasts short winters and pleasant temperatures throughout the year despite its altitude.
Getting to and from Kunming is made easy, for the transport system is efficient and there are plenty of buses that arrive and depart from and to the major cities of the province and beyond. A modern highway system was constructed throughout the Yunnan province with roads connecting almost all the major cities in the region. There are four major long distance bus stations in Kunming with the South Bus Station and Railway Square Bus Station being the central ones.
There are plenty of sites to visit within the city with its two main squares situated within the very center and the five main streets that interlace each other. Of the two squares Jinbi Square boasts the most striking architecture, while the Dongfeng Square houses the largest number of hotels. You can enjoy strolling through the city along the pedestrian palm-lined streets such as Jingxing Huaniao Shichang, Jinma Biji Fang and Nanping Jie, which are also popular with the locals.
Kunming houses nearly 26 different ethnic minorities and more inhabit the surrounding region. Each ethnic group organizes its own festivals each year, rendering the capital a spectacle of dances, music and art exhibitions throughout most of year.
One site that should not be missed is the International Horticulture Exposition that was inaugurated in 1999 and was a huge world-wide success with its amazing garden kept in prime condition all year round. There is also a park of gardens dedicated to over forty countries in the world. Each garden represents a specific country and houses a building surrounded by the typical elements of that particular country’s garden.
You will have no problem finding a place to stay at when in Kunming for there are over one hundred hotels and a thousand or more guests houses from which to choose. Dining options are also plentiful with Kunming’s delicious local dishes that can be savored either seated comfortably at the renowned local restaurants or in the typical setting of the night market, where pubs, bars and cafés can also be found.
Kunming and its surroundings offer so many sights and attractions for the traveler, as the breathtaking highland scenery around Kunming never ceases to leave visitors amazed. There are some major scenic spots that must be visited such as the Dianchi Lake, the Stone Forest, the Grand View Pavilion, the Village of Ethnic Culture, and the Yuantong Temple at the foot of Luofeng Hill in the northern part of the city.
Jiuxiang, located 90 km from Kunming is also a must. This is a very scenic site boasting 20 square meters of tourist attractions, including the Diehong Bridge, the twin waterfalls, a huge natural stone dam cluster and its famous Karst caves. Just outside Jiuxiang lies Alu Long an area renowned for its excavated Yi Nationality cliff paintings of the Qin dynasty (221BC-206BC) and the Han and Mingyue dynasties (206BC-220AD).
There is so much to do in and about Kunming with its numerous cultural and natural attractions as well as the hundreds of festivals held throughout the year that any time is good for traveling to the Yunnan province.