Kunming is the capital of Yunnan province, located in China’s southwest. It has roughly a population of 6 million, and is traditionally known as the city of eternal spring, thanks to the fantastic and soft weather this city enjoys all year round.
This is thanks to Kunming being located 1900 meters of altitude, which gives this city good weather all year round:
- Long Autumn and Spring with fantastic weather.
- Soft summers that don’t require airconditioner machines ( Yes, no kidding).
- Moderate Winters, it can snow even, but even so, it’s still very decent winters.
So yeah, traditionally known as the city of eternal spring, Kunming city in the south-west enjoys fantastic weather all year round.
Where to stay in Kunming?
Location is very important. Stay near the green lake. I would avoid remote areas. Beside green lake buses that go to the airport can be found as well.
- Lost Garden Pensión. 2 * 7$ for hostel rooms, 20-30$. It’s a best seller in Kunming and my #1 recommendation. The location is very good and quiet in a hidden-alley, hence the name Lost garden, but that is also part of the charm. The clientele is mostly foreigner and the staff speaks Chinese really well.
- Kunming Upland Youth hostel. 2 * 7$ for hostel rooms, 20-30$. Another popular hostel, a good place to make friends.
- Grand Park Kunming Hotel. 5* 80$. For those who want to splurge, the location is good.
- JI Hotel Kunming Zheng Yi Fang Branch. 4* 40$. Location is a bit far.
- Kunming Cloudland International Youth Hostal. 2* 7$. Another hostel alternative, location is not as good. But stick to number 1 or 2 if you can.
A full search of Kunming hotels can be obtained here.
The lovely room in the Lost garden hostel. They have both hostel rooms, single rooms, and double rooms. Not expensive either.
Above: Grand park Kunming hotel.
Things to do in Kunming:
- Green Lake. Must-visit. Avoid any other thing if you just have time for 1 thing. The lake is incredible, and one of the best from China. And in winter is filled with seagulls, it’s really stunning.
- Yuantong Temple. Very cheap and nice temple. Only for those with the time.
- Wenlin Street and Wenhua Alley. Many western cafes and other restaurants, not far from Yunnan University. Good places to eat.
- Yunnan University. It’s a mere university, but the campus is stunning and worth a walk for those with the time.
- Eat Mixian (Rice Noodles). There are good eateries in Kunming, they might be an attraction by itself.
And that’s it, not much to do really in Kunming itself. But since Kunming is a traveling hub itself to go to other places, you guys can also check:
- The stone forest near Kunming (石林; Shílín). Some like it, some say is just stone, you decide.
- Lijiang and Dali and even Shangri-la. Oh god, please yes. Many use Kunming as mere transit to go there. Absolutely 2 jewels.
- Western Mountain Forest Reserve. OK hiking, but it’s more for locals.
- Jindian Park. Again, pretty place, but for locals.
- Kunming Zoo. For locals, avoid if you can.
Beautiful green lake, a must visit place while in Kunming.
A FINAL NOTE
For many tourists, Kunming doesn’t offer that much and that is understandable. For them, Kunming can be a valid traveling hub to go somewhere else, and that’s fine as there are many great places to go from and to in the nearby areas. Even Thailand and Vietnam are not that far away.
I think Kunming is an ideal place for those who want to study Chinese, mid, or long-term. Because Yunnan offers a very affordable and interesting stay for students who want to stay for a while. Plus the Yunnan accent sound so well.
Whichever is the case, Kunming can be enjoyed greatly. Plus I will add that Kunming is one of the very few cities in China which is smog-free. Awesome!.