Friday, January 3, 2020

Attractions in Kunming City

Kunming city is the capital city of Yunnan Province. With the average altitude above 1600 meters above sea level, the weather is cooling, especially after rain. We visited several attractions in Kunming in our three days' trip there. The city is old, with a history of more than 2400 years.

The places of interest in Kunming that we visited are Golden Horse and Green Rooster Archways (金马碧鸡坊), Jinri Lou (近日楼), Guandu Ancient Town (官渡古镇), Yuan Tong Temple (圆通寺), Green Lake Park (翠湖) and Dounan Flower Market (斗南花卉市场) . We visited Stone Forest and Jiuxiang Scenic Area as well. We shared our experience there in another post.

Kunming is a metropolitan with population of more than 7 millions. Our trip was arranged by Saksoon Travel Agency, therefore our transportation and accommodation had been well taken care of. Anyway, it is easy to move around the city as the city is well connected by public transports.

Kunming Old Town (昆明古城)
Most of the Kunming old town was demolished for development. However, several structures have been restored, including the East and West Towers (东寺塔和西寺塔), Jinri Pavilion (近日楼), and Golden Horse and Green Rooster Archways (金马碧鸡坊). We spent around 40 minutes at that area, before proceed to the shopping area. We had the chance to dine in the restaurant, which was once the governor's residence. It is convenient to walk around the old town area.

The old town area has lost most of its historical values. However, the Golden Horse and Green Rooster Archways are still worth a visit. Both archways are still the symbolic structure of Kunming city.

Golden Horse and Green Rooster Archways are located at the middle of the old Kunming City. According to the legend, once in 60 years, the sun shines on the Green Rooster Archway while the moon shines on the Golden Horse Archway, forming one overlaying shadow for both archways. The archways that we can see today are built in 1998 according to the original design of the old archways. We can see many modern skyscrapers nearby the archways.

Green Rooster Archway. 

We visited the East and West Towers at Sima Alley (司马巷). The east tower is called the Tower of Eternal Joy (永乐寺塔), while the west one is called the Tower of Kindness Light (惠光寺塔). Both towers were built more than 1200 years ago, and had been restored several times over time. We can see bronze statues on Sima Alley showing the street of the older days. The west tower can be seen in this photo.

Jinri Lou was the south gate of the old Kunming City. 

We dined at the old residence of the governor of Kunming city. The restaurant is not far away from Golden Horse and Green Rooster Archways.

Guandu Ancient Town (官渡古镇)
The ancient town is located beside Dian Lake (滇湖), 15 kms from Kunming City Center. It is around 20 minutes drive from our hotel. The town is believed to be the birth place of Yunnan culture. Kunming was called Dian in older day.

Despite its historical importance, the town has been rebuilt to fulfill the need of tourism. Shops selling souvenirs, clothes, food and beverages are lined up along the streets with beautiful local houses. We strolled around the streets for around 1 hour and tried several types of local delicacies. It is an interesting place to visit in Kunming. Must visit or not? Well, we would say yes, only if you have time to spare in your trip.

One of the entrance to Guandu Ancient Town.

Bronze statues show the activities on ancient street.

Street along the main entrance. 

Shops houses.

Miaozhan Tower (妙湛寺双塔) is one of the oldest religious relic in the town. The tower marks the influence of Tibetan Buddhism in Kunming area.

Guandu Baba (官渡粑粑) (upper left), traditional art on sweet (upper right), and local escargot (lower right) are some local delicacies available in the ancient town. Souvenirs can be bought with discounted price at the pedestrian street nearby Miaozhan Tower.

Yuantong Temple (圆通寺)
Yuan Tong Temple is located in between Kunming Zoo and Green Lake Park. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temple in Yunnan. The first house of worship was built in 1319. Today, temples for different branches of Buddhism are available within the area. 

For us, nothing is really interesting there, except the peaceful and quiet environment in the middle of busy city. It is a good place for us to rest our feet for a while, and, the entrance is free. So, why not just take a short visit there? 

 The entrance to the temple.

The oldest temple structure in the middle of a lake.

We were surprised by the presence of  the prayer hall for in Thai Buddhist there. 

Panoramic view of Yuantong Temple. Please click on the photo for larger view.

Green Lake Park (翠湖)
Green Lake Park is huge leisure park in the middle of Wuhua District- the busiest district in Kunming. The lake has been a place for leisure since early Qing Dynasty. There were many visitors in the park during our visit, mainly locals, singing, dancing, rowing boats, calligraphy writing, jogging, riding bicycles and having their own activities in the park. The relaxing atmosphere was contagious. We roamed around the park for 40 minutes.

It is a good place to stroll in case you are visiting somewhere nearby. It is a beautiful place, but not a must visit place in Kunming.

A part of the lake park. We walked along the side of the lake and enjoyed the beautiful lakeside scenery in the middle of busy metropolitan.

People rowing boats on the lake.

People dancing on the open space in the park.

Dounan Flower Market (斗南花卉市场) 
The flower market is one of the biggest in China. The flowers and young trees are sold to whole China. We took a short visit to the market on our way to Guandu Ancient Town. It is located nearby our hotel. We spent around 45 minutes at the flower market. Interesting? Yes. Must visit? Nope. 

 Visitor center of the flower market.

 Beautiful flowers for sale.

 Flower trees are available.

One of the entrance to the flower market.

Accommodation in Kunming
Wan Jin An Hotel (万金按大酒店) is nearby Kunming Changshui International Airport. It is a good place to stay if we arrive in the middle of the night. The hotel is clean and quiet. It is a good choice for a comfortable stay. We stayed one night at the hotel.

Xin Sheng Da Hong Sheng International Hotel (鑫盛达宏晟国际酒店) is located 40 minutes from Kunming City Center. It is a 5 star Muslim friendly hotel. The room is big, well-designed, with enough amenity for a comfortable stay. The services and the food are good as well. The hotel is not far away from the Dounan Flower Market (斗南花卉市场) and Guandu Ancient Town (官渡老街) We stayed 2 nights there.

We stayed in Wan Jin An Hotel (万金按大酒店) on our first night in Kunming (upper left). The hotel was  not far away from the airport. The hotel is tidy and clean (upper right), with comfortable room (lower right). The restaurant is a bit small with limited variety of food served.

We stayed at Xin Sheng Da Hong Sheng International Hotel (鑫盛达宏晟国际酒店) for 2 nights (upper left). That is a big hotel with nice lobby (upper right). The room is well decorated (lower right). Wide variety of food and beverages were served at the restaurant. 

Our sharing about our trip in Yunnan are available at:

[Attractions in Dali][Tiger Leaping Gorge- A Must Visit Site in Yunnan]
[Short Trip to Shangri-La][Attractions in Lijiang] 

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