The Stone Forest
The Stone Forest Scenic Area is one of Kunming’s main attractions; it has been named a National Geo Park, World Geo Park, National Key Scenic Area as well as a World Natural Heritage Site accepted by UNESCO in 2007. The Stone Forest is famous for its Karst landform and the ethnic culture of the Sani People – a branch of the Yi ethnic minority.
Dianchi Lake Scenic Area
Located in the southwest part of Kunming City, the Dianchi Lake Scenic Area provides visitors with an opportunity to experience customs of locals and observe nature. There are a number of attractions along the lake, such as Yunnan Ethnic Villages, Grand View Park, White Fish Park, temples and pagodas.
This is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province and the sixth largest in China. It’s a great location to admire the water and the picturesque landscape that is the Yungui Plateau.
Yunnan Ethnic Villages
The villages showcase life and culture of the ethnic groups in Yunnan by way of folk performances and delightfully color attires. Visitors can also sample local cuisine, purchase handicrafts, enjoy a water screen movie and an elephant performance.
Grand View Park
Built in 1828 Grand View is aesthetically appealing with its abundant rock gardens, pavilions, bridges and murmuring water. The Grand View Pavilion features the longest couplets in China written in the Qing Dynasty
White Fish Park
White Fish Park sits overlooking the west bank of Dianchi Lake. In the serene ambiance visitors can watch gentle waves, sailing boats, gulls flying overhead and perching around. In the spring, the park is even more vibrant with cherry trees in blossom.
Haigeng Bank is a watershed of the Dianchi Lake, running about four kilometers (2.5 miles) long and ranging in width from forty meters (131 feet) to three hundred meters (984 feet). It’s a great spot to enjoy a gentle breeze in the summer or join other visitors in the natural pool on the southend.
At an altitude of 2,040 meters (6,693 feet), Kwan-yin Hill used to have a popular temple by the same name built in the Ming Dynasty. Although the temple is gone a seven-tier brick pagoda, historic houses, and a gate to the Kwan-yin Temple remain.
The West Hill Forest Park
Locally called “Biji Hill” (Green Rooster Mountain), the West Hill consists of Biji Hill, Huating Hill, Taihua Hill, Taiping Hill and Luohan Hill being the highest at 2,511 meters above sea level. Major scenic spots there include the Dragon Gate, Sanqing Pavilion, Huating Buddhist Temple, Taihua Buddhist Temple, and others.
The Dragon Gate
Dragon Gate was a labor of love. It took 72 years to complete this grotto project when Taoist priest Wu Laiqing, famous mason Yang Rulan and his son Yang Jitai decided to embark on it during the Qing Dynasty. Articles in the grottoes, such as deity statues, tables, incense-burners, couplets, sacrifices, plants and animals, are all chiseled out of natural rocks.
Huating Temple is renowned for its Buddhas. There are some that are three-meters high while others total 500 Buddhist Archats. Originally built during the Song Dynasty, the temple underwent several renovations in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.
Taihua Temple dates back to 1306. Near the entrance to the temple stands a 600-year-old gingko tree said to be planted by Zhu Yunwen-Minghui Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
These pavilions are constructed on the cliffs and are one of the major Taoist architectural complexes in Kunming City or Yunnan Province.
Kunming World Horti-Expo Garden
A grand park for horticulture featuring Yunnan characteristics and Chinese style, it is a major scenic attraction for Kunming and has been the venue for international horticulture expositions. The garden incorporates garden masterpieces from 95 participating countries and regions in the world in keeping with its “Man and Nature, Marching into the 21st Century” theme.