Introducing Kunming

Weaving ancient history with modern-day architecture, Kunming is a city of fascinating contrasts. Once an important stop on the famous Silk Road, the ‘Spring City’ is still an important trading and business hub – but it has a more laidback side, too. Discover colourful Buddhist temples, lively bars, peaceful lakes, and national parks – and enjoy its relaxing, spring-like climate all year round. 

Things To Do

Many of Kunming’s impressive Buddhist and Taoist temples are over a thousand years old. China’s most famous bronze-tiled temple is here, in Golden Temple Park. Or you could start with a visit to Yuantong Temple in the centre. Bamboo Temple, tucked away in the forest outside the city, is as impressive as it is peaceful – while history buffs might want to stop off at the Yunnan Provincial Museum for a deeper dive into the city’s past. 

Kunming has impressively green credentials for such a bustling region. Take a relaxing stroll in Green Lake Park, where ornate bridges and pavilions span the water. For a different take on nature, breathe in the scents and sounds of the vibrant Dounan Flower Market – or make the dizzying ascent to Lingxu Paviion for a spectacular view of Dian Chi Lake. If you can, take a day trip to see the surreal limestone pillars in Shilin Stone Forest, one of China’s most jaw-dropping natural wonders. 

Kunming is a real melting pot of histories and cultures – with a food scene to match. Tuck into local specialities like mushroom hotpot, roast duck, or ‘ghost chicken’, inspired by fresh Laos and Thai flavours. The city’s hole-in-the-wall kiosks and street food stalls also serve delicious snacks like ji doug liang fen (chickpea cold noodles), and shaguo mixian (rice noodles). While its late-night bars and hip microbreweries serve up cold craft beer to wash it all down. 

Top Tip from SLH

If you’re visiting in November, keep your eyes peeled in Green Lake Park for the local red-beaked seagulls.