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Kunming
昆明
—  Prefecture-level city  —
昆明市
Kunming night
Nickname(s): City of Eternal Spring
Tuodong City, Yachi Fu, Yunnanfu
Location of Kunming Prefecture within Yunnan (China)
Kunming is located in China
Kunming
Location within China
Coordinates: 25°04′N 102°41′E / 25.067°N 102.683°E / 25.067; 102.683
Country China
Province Yunnan
GB/T 2260 530100
County-level divisions 14
Township divisions 137
Settled c.279 BC[1]
Admin HQ Panlong
Admin units
Government
 - Party Secretary Qiu He (仇和)
 - Mayor Zhang Zulin (张祖林)
 - Vice Mayor Wang Xiaoguang (王晓光)
Area
 - Prefecture-level city 21,473 km2 (8,290.8 sq mi)
 - Urban 330 km2 (127.4 sq mi)
Elevation 1,892 m (6,207 ft)
Population (2009 est.)
 - Prefecture-level city 6,800,000
 Density 316.7/km2 (820.2/sq mi)
 Urban 3,200,000
 - Urban Density 9,697/km2 (25,115/sq mi)
 - Rank in China 16th
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Postal code 650000
Area code(s) 0871
License plate prefixes 云A
GDP (2008) CNY 160.5 billion
 - per capita CNY 25,826
Website http://www.km.gov.cn/
Yunnan Portal

Kunming (pronounced /ˌkʊnˈmɪŋ/; Chinese: 昆明pinyin: KūnmíngWade-Giles: K'un-ming, pronounced [kʰúnmǐŋ]; UN/LOCODE: CNKMG) is a prefecture-level city and capital of Yunnan province, in southwestern China. Because of its year-round temperate climate, Kunming is often called the "Spring City" or "City of Eternal Spring" (春城).

Kunming is the political, economic, communications and cultural center of Yunnan, and is the seat of the provincial government. It is also home to several universities, museums, galleries and other important economic, cultural, and educational institutions. The headquarters of many of Yunnan's large businesses are in Kunming as well. It was important during World War II as a Chinese military center, American air base, and transport terminus for the Burma Road. Located in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Kunming is located at an altitude of 1,900 m above sea level and at a latitude just north of the Tropic of Cancer. It covers an area of 21,501 km² and its urban area covers 6,200 km². Kunming has an estimated population of 5,740,000 including 3,055,000 in the urban area and is located at the northern edge of the large Lake Dian, surrounded by temples and lake-and-limestone hill landscapes.

Kunming consists of an old, previously walled city, a modern commercial district, residential and university areas. The city has an astronomical observatory, and its institutions of higher learning include Yunnan University, Yunnan Normal University and a medical college. On the outskirts is a famed bronze temple, dating from the Ming dynasty. Kunming was formerly called Yunnanfu (云南府; literally meaning "Yunnan Capital") until the 1920s.

It is the leading transportation hub (air, road, rail) in SW China, with a rail connection to Vietnam and road links to Burma and Laos. Kunming currently has a new international airport under development, which is slated to be the fourth largest international airport in China. Situated in a fertile plain 640 km southwest of Chongqing, Kunming is an important trading center between the far west and central and south China. It is one of China's largest producers of copper. Copper is smelted with nearby hydroelectric power. Coal is mined, and the city has a few iron and steel complexes. Other manufactures include phosphorus, chemicals, machinery, textiles, paper, and cement. Although it was often the seat of kings in ancient times, Kunming's modern prosperity dates only from 1910, when the railroad from Hanoi was built. The city has continued to develop rapidly under China's modernization efforts. Kunming's streets have widened while office buildings and housing projects develop at a fast pace. Kunming has been designated a special tourism center and as such sports a proliferation of high-rises and luxury hotels.

From 2005 to 2010, the city of Kunming plans to nearly double in size, in terms of both population (to eight million people) and area, and it hopes to be one of the trade, transport, financial and cultural centers of Southeast Asia. Kunming's transport links to Southeast Asia and elsewhere, particularly its air links, are steadily expanding, with direct routes already existing to all major Chinese cities, most major Southeast Asian cities and some major cities in Japan and South Korea.

Key development issues for Kunming include a local educated and talent pool that is less sophisticated than larger Chinese cities and the need for increased transport links.[2]

Contents

Name and emblem

Its present name "Kunming" was the sound of the title of an ethnic group residing in southwest China in ancient times. This group lived a nomadic life in west Yunnan and moved to settle in the area around the Dianchi Lake during the period from the Han to the Tang dynasties. At the outset of the Yuan Dynasty, the administration "Kunming Two Thousand Households" was established near the lake and the title of the group was first used to designate the place, a tradition which has lasted up to now.

Emblem

The emblem of the city of Kunming is composed of a golden horse and a green rooster. It was designed according to a popular legend about Dianchi Lake. On the eastern bank of Dianchi Lake stands the Jinma (Golden Horse) Hill; and on the lake's western bank stands the Biji (Green Rooster) Hill. The two hills form a pass of strategic importance in the city. In folklore, a golden horse ran out of the sun while a green rooster flew out of the moon. Wherever the horse and rooster appeared, lush trees grew and flowers bloomed, signaling prosperity. They eventually settled on the banks of Dianchi Lake and protected the people of Kunming.

History

Early history

Historically the domain of Yunnan's earliest inhabitants and first civilization, Kunming long profited from its position on the caravan roads through to South-East Asia, India and Tibet. Early townships in the southern edge of Lake Dianchi (outside the contemporary city perimeter) can be dated back to 279 BC, although they have been long lost to history. Early settlements in the area around Lake Dian date back to Neolithic times but it was not until during the 3rd century BC that the Dian Kingdom was established by General Zhuang Qiao of the Chu Kingdom who led his army from the middle reaches of the Yangtze River to the site of present-day Kunming.

The Han Dynasty (205 BC-AD 220), seeking control over the Southern Silk Road running to Burma and India, brought much of Yunnan into China's orbit, though subsequent dynasties could do little to tame what was then a remote and wild borderland. In 109 BC, Emperor Wudi of Western Han (reigned 141–87 BC) incorporated areas of Kunming as part of the Han empire and it was named Yizhou prefecture (Dianchi was the county seat) and helped connect Sichuan with Vietnam. During the Sui dynasty (581–618), it was renamed Kunzhou.

Medieval China

Founded in 765, Kunming was known to the Chinese as Tuodong (拓东) city in the Kingdom of Nanzhao (737-902) during the 8th and 9th centuries. Tuodong later became part of the successor Kingdom of Dali (937-1253). Eventually this changed when Tuodong came under the control of the Yuan Dynasty invasion of the southwest in 1252-1253. In 1276 it was founded by the Mongol rulers as Kunming County and became the provincial capital of Yunnan. The city grew as a trading center between the southwest and the rest of China. It is considered by scholars to have been the city of Yachi Fu (Duck Pond Town) where people had used cowries as cash and ate their meat raw, as described by the 13th-century Venetian traveler Marco Polo who traveled to the area and wrote about his fascination of the place.

Ming and Qing dynasties

In the 1300s, Kunming was retaken as the Ming Dynasty defeated the Mongols, which built a wall surrounding present-day Kunming. Ming General Wu Sangui defeated Manchu invaders 300 years later and held the city until his death in 1678, long after the rest of China had fallen under Manchu rule. During the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, it was the seat of the superior prefecture of Yunnan.

The area was first dubbed Kunming in the period towards the decline of the Yuan Dynasty and later still in 1832, the beginnings of a real city were acknowledged within the city walls and significant structures within their confines. Founding of the city can, therefore be said to have been a predominantly 19th century affair. It was also in this century that the city grew to become the major market and transport centre for the region.

Kunming suffered at the hands of rebel leader Du Wenxiu, the Sultan of Dali, who attacked and besieged the city several times between 1858 and 1868. Little of the city's wealth survived the 1856 Panthay Rebellion, when most of the Buddhist sites in the capital were razed. Decades later Kunming began to be influenced by the West, especially from the French Empire. In the 1890s, an uprising against working conditions on the Kunming-Haiphong rail line saw 300,000 laborers executed after France shipped in weapons to suppress the revolt. The meter-gauge rail line, only completed by around 1911, was designed by the French so that they could tap Yunnan's mineral resources for their colonies in Indochina.

Kunming was a communications center in early times and a junction of two major trading routes, one westward via Dali and Tengchong County into Myanmar, the other southward through Mengzi County to the Red River in Indochina. Eastward, a difficult mountain route led to Guiyang in Guizhou province and thence to Hunan province. To the northeast was a well-established trade trail to Yibin in Sichuan province on the Yangtze River. But these trails were all extremely difficult, passable only by mule trains or pack-carrying porters.

Modern history

Old Kunming quarter, containing the narrow and curved Sister Buildings (姊妹楼) behind the Victory Monument on Guanghua Jie, located across the street to the north of the old Bird and Flower Market.

Kunming reverted to county status in 1912, under the name Kunming, and became a municipality in 1935. The opening of the Kunming area began in earnest with the completion in 1906-1910 of the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway to Haiphong in north Vietnam (part of French Indochina). Kunming became a treaty port opening to foreign trade in 1908 and soon became a commercial center. In the 1930s its importance grew still further when the first highways were built, linking Kunming with Chongqing in Sichuan and Guiyang in Guizhou to the east. Kunming's rail link to Hanoi was cut during World War II, restored in 1957, cut again in 1979, and reopened in 1996.

Kunming skyline.

Kunming was transformed into a modern city as a result of the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 when the invading Japanese forces caused a great number of east-coast Chinese refugees, some of whom were wealthy, to flood into the southwest of China. They brought with them dismantled industrial plants, which were then re-erected beyond the range of Japanese bombers. In addition, a number of universities and institutes of higher education were evacuated there. The increased money and expertise quickly established Kunming as an industrial and manufacturing base for the wartime government in Chongqing.

During the Second World War, the city of Kunming was prepared as a National Redoubt in case the temporary capital in Chongqing fell, an elaborate system of underground caves to serve as offices, barracks and factories was prepared but never utilised. Kunming was to have served again in this role during the ensuing Chinese Civil War, but the Nationalist garrison turned coat and joined the Communists. Instead Taiwan would become the last redoubt and home of the Chinese Nationalist government, a role it fulfills to this day.[3]

When the Japanese occupied French Indochina in 1940, the links of Kunming with the west, both via the newly constructed Burma Road and by air, grew increasingly vital as Allied forces provided essential support by importing materials from the British-colony Burma. By this time, Kunming acted as an Allied military command center, which grouped the Chinese, American, British and French forces together for operations in Southeast Asia, including China, India and Burma. The Office of Strategic Services' Service Unit Detachment 101 (predecessor to the 1st Special Forces Group) was also headquartered in Kunming and whose mission was to divert and disrupt Japanese combat operations in Burma.[4]

Later on in the war, Kunming was targeted by the Imperial Japanese Air Force during their bombing campaigns, and when the Burma Road was lost to the Japanese, the American Volunteer Group, known as the "Flying Tigers", used Kunming as a base in 1941 and 1942 to fly in supplies over the Himalayas from British bases in India in defiance of Japanese assaults. They also were tasked with defending China's lifeline to the outside world, the Burma Road and the Ledo Road, which had Kunming as a northern terminus. See Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road.

Industry became important in Kunming during World War II. The large state-owned Central Machine Works[5] was transferred there from Hunan, while the manufacture of electrical products, copper, cement, steel, paper, and textiles expanded. A university was set up in 1922. Until 1952, Kunming was a walled city. The city government in 1952 ordered hundreds of young people to tear down the wall and use its bricks to make a new road running north-south. To show its appreciation for the young people that demolished the east wall, the city government named the new street after them. Their existence still echoes today in place names like Xiao Ximen (小西门, 'Lesser west gate') and Beimen Jie (北门街, 'North gate Street'). There are also less obvious connections to the wall, such as Qingnian Lu (青年路, 'Youth Road'), which was once Kunming's east wall.

After 1949 Kunming developed rapidly into an industrial metropolis with the construction of large iron and steel and chemical complexes, along with Chongqing, Chengdu and Guiyang in the southwest. A Minorities' Institute was set up in the 1950s to promote mutual understanding and access to university education among Yunnan's multiethnic population. The city consolidated its position as a supply depot during the Vietnam War and subsequent border clashes. Until Mao Zedong's death, Kunming was still generally thought in much of the rest of the country as a remote frontier settlement and so it acted as a place up to then for the government to exile people who had fallen politically out of favor, especially during the Cultural Revolution. In the 1980s and 1990s, the city center was rebuilt, with Swiss help, in its current 'modern' style to impress visitors attending the 1999 World Horticultural Exposition.[6]

An old wooden house and a modern skyscraper in the background.

In addition, a number of universities and institutes of higher education were evacuated there. The increased money and expertise quickly established Kunming as an industrial and manufacturing base for the wartime government in Chongqing.

Since the economic reforms of mid-1980s, Kunming has also enjoyed increased tourism and foreign investment, for instance investors from Thailand trace their ancestries back to Yunnan. Several Thai Chinese banks have offices in Kunming, for example, Kasikorn Bank and Krung Thai Bank. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand has visited Kunming many times to study Chinese culture and promote friendly relations.

On July 2005, the second Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit was held in Kunming, with government leaders from China, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam participating. There, China agreed to lend its neighbors more than $1 billion for a series of projects. China was then promoting GMS cooperation as a first step toward building an eventual China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.

Infrastructure improvements have been underway to improve links between Kunming and Southeast Asia in time for the 2010 China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which would have a population of approximately 1.8 billion. The FTA is expected to make Kunming a trade and financial center for Southeast Asia. In addition to physical improvements to enhance Kunming's trade with Southeast Asia, the central and provincial governments have made financial preparations to assist the city's emergence. At the end of 2004, the central government approved Kunming to be one of the 18 mainland cities in which foreign banks could conduct business in renminbi.

Kunming's second and current building spree in and around Kunming can be compared to the years leading up to 1999, when Kunming held its first major international event, the World Horticultural Expo. It was primarily during 1997 and 1998 that much of the city's roads, bridges and high rises were built.

Kunming night

The World Horticultural Expo was widely regarded as a public relations success for Kunming, which seemed to exceed almost all expectations. Today the after-effects of the Expo are apparent in more than just the physical improvements to the city-it was the Expo that made the outside world take notice of Kunming, which was relatively unknown at the time.

In July 2006 talks at the ASEAN Regional Forum, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) agreed to construct a highway from Kunming to Chittagong through Mandalay for trade and development.[7]

Geography and environment

Geography

Kunming is located in east-central Yunnan province. It is located between north latitude 24°23´ and 26°22´N, and east longitude 102°10´and 103°40´E, with a total area of 21,600 square km. Its widest stretch from the east to the west amounts to 140 km and its largest expansion from the north to the south amounts to 220 km.

Situated in a fertile lake basin on the northern shore of the Lake Dian and surrounded by mountains to the north, west, and east, Kunming has always played a pivotal role in the communications of southwestern China. Lake Dian, titled as "the Pearl of the Plateau", is the sixth largest fresh water lake in China, is the largest lake in Yunnan and has an area of approximately 340 square kilometers. Kunming's highest point is Mazong Ridge of the Jiaozi Mountain in Luquan with an elevation of 4,247 m, and its lowest point is the joint of the Xiaojiang River and the Jinsha River in Dongchuan District, with an elevation of 695 m. Its downtown area is 1,891 m above sea level.

About 96 km (60 miles) southeast of the city is the Stone Forest, a karst formation developed as a tourist attraction consisting of rock caves, arches, and pavilions. It is part of the larger karst-based landscape of the area.

Climate

Located at an elevation of 1,890 m on the Yungui Plateau with low latitude and high elevation, Kunming has one of the mildest climates in China, characterised by short, cool dry winters with mild days and crisp nights, and long, warm and humid summers, but much cooler than the lowlands. The weather never gets very hot in summer; the temperature has exceeded 30°C (86°F) only on a handful of occasions. However, freak snowfalls occur in occasional winters. Controlled by a subtropical highland climate (Koppen classification Cwb), average highs are 15°C in winter and 24°C in summer. With its perpetual spring-like weather which provides the ideal climate for plants and flowers, Kunming is known as the "City of Eternal Spring". The city is covered with blossoms and lush vegetation all the year round.[8] The period from May to October is the rainy season and the rest of the year is dry. The city has a mean annual rainfall of 1,000 mm, with an annual sunshine period of 2,250 hours and an annual frost-free period of 230 days.

Climate data for Kunming
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 15.9
(61)
17.2
(63)
21.7
(71)
24.8
(77)
25.3
(78)
24.5
(76)
24.7
(76)
24.8
(77)
23.3
(74)
20.6
(69)
17.7
(64)
15.8
(60)
21.4
(71)
Average low °C (°F) 2.3
(36)
4.4
(40)
7.4
(45)
10.2
(50)
14.5
(58)
17.2
(63)
17.1
(63)
16.0
(61)
14.2
(58)
10.1
(50)
7.1
(45)
3.4
(38)
10.9
(52)
Precipitation mm (inches) 12.5
(0.49)
12.5
(0.49)
17.5
(0.69)
22.5
(0.89)
82.5
(3.25)
177.5
(6.99)
212.5
(8.37)
202.5
(7.97)
122.5
(4.82)
77.5
(3.05)
37.5
(1.48)
12.5
(0.49)
920
(36.22)
Source: China Meteorological Administration. November 18, 2007

Natural resources

Mineral resources include phosphorus, salt, magnesium, titanium, coal, quartz sand, clay, silica, copper. Phosphorus and salt mines are the most plentiful. Proven reserves of phosphorus mine is 2,277 million tons. Kunyang Phosphorus Mine is one of the three major phosphorus mines in the country. Rock salt reserves are 1,222 million tons and mirabilite reserves are 1,908 million tons. Dongchuan is a major copper production base.

Proven reserves of Coal bed gas is about 500 billion cubic meters, equal to 720 million tons of standard coal. [7] Geothermal resources are widely distributed.

Environment and horticulture

Kunming has 2,585 hectares of lawns, trees and flowers averaging 4.96 square meters per capita. The green space rate is 21.7%. The city's smoke control area is 115 square kilometers and noise control area 87 square kilometers.

Kunming is a significant horticultural center in China, providing products such as grain, wheat, horsebeans, corn, potato and fruit such as peaches, apples, oranges, grapes and chestnuts. Kunming is world-famous for its flowers and flower-growing exports. More than 400 types of flowers are commonly grown in Kunming. The camellia, yulan magnolica, azalea, fairy primrose, lily and orchid are known as the six famous flowers of the city.

Camellia was confirmed by the Municipality of Kunming as its city flower in 1983.

Environmental court

The Kunming city government plans to create an environmental trial court to deal with environment-related lawsuits. It is to be part of the city's intermediate people's court and will have jurisdiction over appeals by companies that have been found guilty of violating environmental laws in cities throughout Yunnan province.[9]

Wildlife

Siberian gulls in Kunming

Over the past 17 years, several hundred thousands of Siberian seagulls have flown south to the city every winter, forming a unique migratory route.

Paleontology

Among Chinese fossils that were discovered in 2002 was an important new invertebrate animal species from Early Cambrian deposits at Chengjiang near Kunming. Didazoon haoae represented an entirely new phylum of metazoans (multicellular animals), the phylum Vetulicolia. The specimen had a series of gill slits, which suggested that this new group illustrates an early stage in the diversification of the deuterostomes, one of the major animal divisions. Other deuterostome groups are the chordates (which includes the vertebrates), hemichordates, and echinoderms. Also reported was a Devonian Chinese fossil fish, Styloichthys changae, that has features linking the lungfish to tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates).

In 2004, newly discovered well-preserved soft-bodied fossils of deuterostomes from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang deposits near Kunming represented a new group of echinoderms (a group of marine animals). Named vetulocystids, these deuterostomes were a diverse superphylum that included the chordates, hemichordates, and echinoderms. The find shed some light on the origin of the echinoderms. See also Myllokunmingia.

Boundaries

Yunnan

Kunming is bounded by Qujing City to the east, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture to the southeast and Yuxi City to the southwest, Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture to the west and Zhaotong City to the northeast.

Sichuan

Kunming also borders with Panzhihua prefecture level city and Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan province.

Administrative divisions

The prefecture-level city of Kunming has jurisdiction over 14 subdivisions; five districts, one county-level city, five counties and three autonomous counties.

Kunming plans to add two new districts to its existing four urban districts (Panlong, Wuhua, Guandu, Xishan) over the next few years.

Prefecture-level County-level
Name Chinese (S) Hanyu Pinyin
Kunming City
昆明市
Kūnmíng Shì
Panlong District 盘龙区 Pánlóng Qū
Wuhua District 五华区 Wǔhuá Qū
Guandu District 官渡区 Guāndù Qū
Xishan District 西山区 Xīshān Qū
Dongchuan District 东川区 Dōngchuān Qū
Anning City 安宁市 Ānníng Shì
Chenggong County 呈贡县 Chénggòng Xiàn
Jinning County 晋宁县 Jìnníng Xiàn
Fumin County 富民县 Fùmín Xiàn
Yiliang County 宜良县 Yíliáng Xiàn
Songming County 嵩明县 Sōngmíng Xiàn
Shilin Yi Autonomous County 石林彝族自治县 Shílín Yízú Zìzhìxiàn
Luquan Yi and Miao
Autonomous County
禄劝彝族
苗族自治县
Lùquàn Yízú
Miáozú Zìzhìxiàn
Xundian Hui and Yi
Autonomous County
寻甸回族
彝族自治县
Xúndiàn Huízú
Yízú Zìzhìxiàn

Demographics

Since its initiation in 1979 China's one-child policy has had a major impact upon the mainland populace, with one of the most notable population trends being an increasingly unequal gender ratio. According to new government statistics, some Chinese provinces are averaging gender ratios as unbalanced as 1.35 males to every female.

Kunming is the focal point of Yunnan minority culture. Twenty five ethnic minorities live in Yunnan. This is nearly half of the total number of ethnic minorities in China, and ethnic minorities make up about a third of the total provincial population. There is a strong migration from the countryside.

Of the more than five million people registered as residents in Kunming last year, more than four million were Han. The Yi people were the most prominent minority in the city, with more than 400,000 residents. The least-represented ethnic minority in Kunming were the 75 Dulong people living in the city.

Ethnic populations (as of 2006):[10]

  • Han (汉族): 4,383,500
  • Yi (彝族): 400,200
  • Hui (回族): 149,000
  • Bai (白族): 73,200
  • Miao (苗族): 46,100
  • Lisu (傈僳族): 17,700
  • Zhuang (壮族): 14,000
  • Dai (傣族): 13,200
  • Hani (哈尼族): 11,000
  • Naxi (纳西族): 8,400
  • Manchu (满族): 4,800
  • Bouyei (布依族): 3,400
  • Mongol (蒙古族): 2,500
  • Lahu (拉祜族): 1,700
  • Tibetan (藏族): 1,500
  • Yao (瑶族): 1,100
  • Jingpo (景颇族): 1,100
  • Va (佤族): 1,000
  • Blang (布朗族): 441
  • Primi (普米族): 421
  • Sui (水族): 294
  • Achang (阿昌族): 263
  • Nu (怒族): 156
  • Jino (基诺族): 135
  • Derung (独龙族): 75

Dialect

Kunming dialect is very similar to the one in Sichuan and Guizhou but using much less third tone in Chinese. A lot of terms are only used in Kunming dialect too, like 板扎 means Terrific.

Society and culture

The city center has three major squares and five major streets: Jinma Biji Square, Nanping Square and Dongfeng Square along with Nanping Jie, Jinbi Lu, Renmin Lu, Zhengyi Lu and Jingxin Jie. Qingnian Lu, Zhengyi Lu, and Renmin Lu are the main commercial areas in Kunming; the most popular pedestrian streets are Nanping Jie, Jingxing Birds-Flowers' Market, and Jinma Biji Fang.

Architecture

The oldest traditional Chinese architecture buildings and structures date back to the Ming and Tang dynasties.

Central Kunming

Kunming Square

Kunming's public focus is the huge square outside the Workers' Cultural Hall at the Beijing Lu-Dongfeng Lu intersection, where in the mornings there are crowds doing taijiquan and playing badminton. Weekend amateur theatre are also performed in the square. Rapidly being modernized, the city's true center is west of the square across the adjacent Panlong River (now more of a canal), outside the Kunming Department Store at the Nanping Lu/Zhengyi Lu crossroads, a densely crowded shopping precinct packed with clothing and electronics stores. The river is polluted, black and oily. Surrounding the area are plenty of new high-rises.

The center is an area of importance to Kunming's Hui population, with Shuncheng Jie, one of the last old streets in the center of the city, previously forming a Muslim quarter. Until shortly before 2005, this street was full of wind-dried beef and mutton carcasses, pitta bread and raisin sellers, and huge woks of roasting coffee beans being earnestly stirred with shovels. Under Kunming's rapid modernisation, however, the street has been demolished to make way for apartments and shopping centers. Rising behind a supermarket one block north off Zhengyi Lu, Nancheng Qingzhen Si is the city's new mosque, its green dome and chevron-patterned minaret visible from afar and built on the site of an earlier Qing edifice.

Running west off Zhengyi Jie just past the mosque, Jingxing Jie leads into one of the more bizarre corners of the city, with Kunming's huge Bird and Flower Market convening daily in the streets connecting it with the northerly, parallel Guanghua Jie. The market offers many plants such as orchids that have been collected and farmed across the province. In the small grounds of Wen Miao, a now vanished Confucian temple off the western end of Changchun Lu, there is an avenue of pines, an ancient pond and pavilion, and beds of bamboo, azaleas and potted palms-a quiet place where old men play chess and drink tea.

Central Kunming

Bookstores

The two main bookstores are Xinhua Bookstore (on Renmin Dong Lu) and Mandarin Books (on Wenhua Xiang, near Yunnan University). Both have the largest selections of foreign-language literature and niche academic, obscure, and imported texts.

Wheatfield Bookstore (on Tianjundian Xiang) specializes in Chinese translations of international works.[11]

Museums

There are two major museums in Kunming, Yunnan Provincial Museum and Kunming City Museum. A third which opened in November 2006, is the Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology. Completed in 1995 is the Yunnan Ethnology Museum.

Yunnan Provincial Museum

About 500 m west of the center along Dongfeng Xi Lu and the #5 bus route, the Yunnan Provincial Museum has a collection of clothes and photographs of Yunnan's cultural groups. There are also Dian bronzes, dating back more than two thousand years to the Warring States Period and excavated from tombs on the shores of Dian, south of Kunming. The largest pieces include an ornamental plate of a tiger attacking an ox and a coffin in the shape of a bamboo house, but lids from storage drums used to hold cowries are the most impressive, decorated with dioramas of figurines fighting, sacrificing oxen and men and, rather more peacefully, posing with their families and farmyard animals outside their homes. A replica of the Chinese imperial gold seal given to the Dian king early on in the second century implies that his aristocratic slave society had the tacit approval of the Han emperor. There is a prehistoric section with plaster models and casts of locally found trilobites, armored fishes, and dinosaur and early human remains.

Kunming City Museum

The highlight of the Kunming City Museum, west off Beijing Lu along Tuodong Lu, is the Dali Sutra Pillar, a 6.5 m-high, pagoda-like Song dynasty sculpture in pink sandstone in its own room. An octagonal base supports seven tiers covered in Buddha images, statues of guardian gods standing on subjugated demons, and a mix of Tibetan and Chinese script, part of which is the Dharani Mantra. The rest is a dedication, identifying the pillar as being raised by the Dali regent, Yuan Douguang, in memory of his general Gao Ming. Above them is a ring of Buddhas carrying a ball symbolizing the universe. Formerly part of the defunct Dizang temple, the pillar is a powerful work, full of the energy that later seeped out of the mainstream of Chinese sculpture.

The other exhibits are a well-presented repeat of the Provincial Museum's collection. There is a range of bronze drums with the oldest known example to relatively recent castings, allowing one to see how the typical decorations; sun and frog designs on top, long-plumed warriors in boats around the sides, tiger handles, became so stylized. There are also cowry-drum lids, and a host of other bronze pieces of birds, animals and people. Other rooms contain two excellent dioramas of Ming dynasty and modern Kunming, accounts (in Chinese) of the voyages of Zheng He, the famous Ming eunuch admiral, and five locally found fossilized dinosaur skeletons (including a Tyrannosaurus-like allosaur, and the bulky Yunnanosaurus robustus.)

Natural History Museum of Zoology

The Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology presents the diversity of fauna, past and present, of Southwest China. A trio of dino-skeletons dominate the prehistoric exhibit on the first floor. These plant-eaters stomped around Yunnan about 200 million years ago. Though the biggest of the three is a cast, the smaller ones are genuine bones, exhumed from Yunnan's Lufeng Basin in the 1980s. Though the prehistoric exhibit is the most impressive, there are plenty of animals to be seen on all of the museum's three floors. An array of taxidermied mammals and birds lines the display cases of the second floor. Up another flight of stairs reveals a "Rainforest Adventure," which walks visitors along a path through synthetic trees, bird calls and a darkened cave. There are rigid fish and snakes entombed in formaldehyde jars.

Because of the museum's affiliation with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it is well positioned as both a tourist attraction and a home to future zoological scholarship. Most of the visitors come with a scientific background.

Cuihu Park

Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park) is predominately a lake surrounded by greenery. It has a large and elaborate network of waterways and winding paths, with broad, lotus-covered pools and overhanging willows. It is a place where thousands exercise, do taijiquan, sing and feed flocks of gulls.

Located in the west side of the park is the statue of one of Yunnan's most famous patriots - Nie Er, the composer of China's national anthem. The only inscription is The People's Musician Nie Er. Nie Er drowned in Japan in 1935 en route to the Soviet Union in his attempt to escape Chiang Kai-shek's Guomindang troops. He was 23.

Heilongtan (Black Dragon Pool)

Heilongtan 黑龙潭 or 'Black Dragon Pool' is far north of Kunming's city center. There is a goldfish-packed pond surrounded by beautiful old buildings and Buddhist statues and shrines. There are many gardens and at the top of a ridge in the end of the park is a grand view of Kunming.

Botanical Gardens

Kunming Botanical Gardens 植物园 - not to be confused with the Horticultural Expo Garden, the Kunming Botanical Gardens are located very close to Heilongtan (about 200 m).

Yuantong Temple

Yuantong Temple, the largest Buddhist complex in Kunming.

Yuantong Si (temple) is a northern Yunnan's major Buddhist site and an active place of pilgrimage. It is Kunming's largest and most famous temple with the original structure being first constructed more than 1,200 years ago during the Tang Dynasty. Newly renovated the Qing-vintage temple is busy, with gardens of bright pot plants just inside the entrance. A bridge over the central pond crosses through an octagonal pavilion dedicated to a multi-armed Guanyin and white marble Sakyamuni, to the threshold of the main hall, where two huge central pillars wrapped in colorful dragons support the ornate wooden ceiling. Faded frescoes on the back wall were painted in the 13th-century, while a new annexe out the back houses a graceful gilded bronze Buddha flanked by peacocks, donated by the King of Thailand and the Thai government. There is vegetarian restaurant nearby on Yuantong Jie.

Yuantong Park and Zoo

The Yuantong Si sits on the southern slope of the large Yuantong Park. Kunming's zoo, founded in 1950, is adjoined to the park. The zoo houses 5,000 animals from 140 species and receives 3 million visitors a year.[12]

Bamboo Temple

Northwest about 12 km from the city center is the Qiongzhu Si (or Bamboo Temple) built in 639 and rebuilt in 1422 to 1428, this temple houses an incredibly vivid tableau of 500 arhats carved between 1883 and 1890 by Sichuanese sculptor Li Guangxiu and his six apprentices, who gave to each arhat a different and incredibly naturalistic facial expression and pose. It is thought that some of these arhats, who range from the emaciated to the pot-bellied, the angry to the contemplative, were carved in the images of the sculptor's contemporaries, friends, and foes. A wildly fantastical element dominates the main hall, where an arhat surfs a wave on the back of a unicorn, while another stretches a 3 m (10 ft) arm upward to pierce the ceiling.

Southern Kunming

Huating Temple (华亭寺) in the Western Hills near Kunming.

Jinbi Lu runs roughly parallel to and south of Dongfeng Lu, reached from Beijing Lu. Two large Chinese pagodas rise in the vicinity, each a solid thirteen storeys of whitewashed brick crowned with four iron cockerels. The West Pagoda was built between 824 and 859, during the Tang Dynasty; its original counterpart, the East Pagoda, was built at the same time, but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1833 and rebuilt in the same Tang style in 1882. South down Dongsi Jie, past another mosque, the entrance to the West Pagoda is along a narrow lane on the right. In the tiny surrounding courtyard, sociable idlers while away sunny afternoons playing cards and sipping tea in the peaceful, ramshackle surroundings. The East Pagoda is a more cosmetic, slightly tilted duplicate standing in an ornamental garden a few minutes' walk east on Shulin Jie. The temples associated with both pagodas are closed to the public.

Daguan Park (大观公园) on Kunming's southwestern limits. Originally laid out by the energetic seventeenth-century Qing emperor Kangxi, it has been modified over the years to include a noisy funfair, food stalls and emporiums, and is a favourite haunt of Kunming's youth. Among shady walks and pools, Daguan's focal point is Daguan Ge, a square, three-storeyed pavilion built to better Kangxi's enjoyment of the distant Western Hills and now a storehouse of calligraphy extolling the area's charms. The most famous poem here is a 118-character verse, carved into the gateposts by the Qing scholar Sun Ran, reputed to be the longest set of rhyming couplets in China. The park is set on Daguan Stream, which flows south into Lake Dian, and there are frequent hour-long cruises down the waterway, lined with willows, to points along Lake Dian's northern shore. Lake Dian, also known as the Kunming Lake, is the largest lake on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. At Longmen of the Western Hills, there is a panoramic view of the lake.

Wenmiao Tea Garden (文庙茶园) is on Renmin Zhong Lu in the Wuhua District. It is a small tree-filled park that has a walkway, a bridge, a large pagoda and several restaurant-style booths around the edges. There is a collection of yingkesong (迎客松) aka bonsai trees. Locals play mahjong, cards and xiangqi.

Western Hills

Jiuxiang

Other landmarks

The "Garden of the World Horticultural Exposition", located in the northern suburbs of Kunming, is six kilometers from central Kunming. From May 1 to October 31, 1999, Kunming held the 1999 World Horticulture Exposition, with the theme of "Man and Nature-Marching Toward the 21st Century". In the garden, visitors can see gardening and horticultural works from all over China and East Asia. All the horticultural works in the garden concentrate on the theme of "Man and Nature", with pavilions, towers, terraces, banks, islets and bridges.

The "Golden Hall Scenic Zone", located on the Mingfeng Hill in the northern suburbs of Kunming, is eight kilometers from central Kunming. Constructed in 1602 (the 30th year of the Wanli reign period of the Ming Dynasty), all of its beans, pillars, arches, doors, windows, tiles, Buddhist statues, and horizontal inscribed boards are made of copper, weighing more than 200 tons. It is the largest copper building in China.

A 12.2 m (40 ft) statue of Optimus Prime from Transformers is located near several automobile dealerships on Erhuan Xi Lu.[13] The Transformers cartoon was broadcast in China from 1990 onwards and has a large following among youths of that generation.[14]

South Asian Gate will be Kunming's first skyscaper.

Leisure and entertainment

Within Kunming, the entertainment district has its focus around Kunming Square, with many cinemas, bars, clubs and restaurants. Eating out is the main pleasure after dark in Kunming. Food aside, one feature of less formal Yunnanese restaurants is that they often have a communal bamboo water pipe and tobacco for their customers. Nightlife has improved recently, thanks to rising incomes and tourist population. There are plenty of student bars and clubs. The city has several operatic troupes and indigenous entertainments which include huadeng, a lantern dance. Although indoor performances are lacking, there are often informal shows at the weekend outside the Workers' Cultural Hall and in Cuihu Park. There are similar shows at the Yunnan Arts Theater on Dongfeng Xi Lu. Kunming's main cinema house is on the south side of the Dongfeng Lu/Zhengyi Lu intersection. The other main multiplex, the XJS, at the junction of Wenlin Jie and Dongfeng Xi Lu.

Art galleries

  • YunArt Gallery, highlights leading and up-and-coming artists from Yunnan. [8]
  • TCG Nordica, an international art gallery and culture centre situated in the heart of the artist community at Chuang Ku/LOFT in Kunming. [9]

Cinemas

Kunming Movie Business company, owns three of Kunming's most popular cinemas, Xinjianshe Cinema, Renmin Cinema and Dianchi Vision Plaza. [10] The Kunming Shuncheng Mall IMAX Theater is scheduled to open in December 2008.

Film festivals

  • BigScreen Festival (or "BigScreen Italia"), focuses on Chinese and Italian cinema
  • Yunnan Mulicultural Visual Festival ("Yunfest"), focuses on Chinese documentaries in Yunnan [11]
  • Kunming Anime Festival

TV, film and media

Hong Kong China International and Dianchi National Tourist Resort will jointly invest and construct a new television and film base in Kunming. The Kunming TV, Film and New Media Industry Base (昆明影视与新媒体产业基地) or "Dream City" will be built by a joint venture created for the project with an investment of three billion yuan (US$418 million) allocated for the base's first phase, which will cover three square kilometers. The base will feature television and film studios, shooting stages and equipment, state-of-the-art production facilities and video game production, and a film school established by Peking University and Beijing Film Academy.The whole project is expected to be completed by 2013 with a total investment of 17 billion yuan ($2.3 billion).[15]

Cuisine

Kunming at night

Kunming's cuisine is distinctly Yunnanese and combines fresh ingredients afforded by the moderate climate with mild herbs and spices giving its cooked dishes sufficient flavour but lacking the pungency associated with food from other regions of the country. The city's climate fosters the growth of literally hundreds of species of mushroom which are consequently a predominant feature of many dishes. There are other regional Chinese cuisines, with a few upmarket restaurants serving international dishes. Back lanes running north off Dongfeng Xi Lu or Jinbi Lu have the famous stalls and restaurants where the locals offer specialties such as grilled cheese, hotpots, fired snacks rolled in chilli powder, loaves of excellent meat-stuffed soda bread, and rich duck and chicken casseroles. The special dish of Kunming is guò qiáo mĭxiàn, a boiling, spicy soup with noodles under a layer of oil. Meat is added to the broth kept hot by the layer of oil. The legend behind "crossing bridge noodles" involves a student studying for the imperial exam (which was given once per year). He went to study on an island a short ways away from his wife and village. Everyday his wife would bring him food, but because of the distance (she had to cross a bridge) the food would get cold. The student's wife figured out that by layering the broth with oil, she could keep the food hot.

Some of the most famous Kunming food is as follows:

  • Over the Bridge Rice Noodles 过桥米线
  • Steam Potted Chicken 气锅鸡
  • Er Kuai (Rice Cake)
  • Smoked Smelly Bean Curd-popular night stall snack 臭豆腐
  • The Eight Treasures of Yunnan-type of stuffed cake

Notable restaurants include:

  • Qiao Xiangyuan Restaurant-special local food
  • Jinbichun Restaurant-has a history of over 100 years
  • World Expo Jixing Yuan Restaurant

Sports

Every year, many Chinese and international athletes come to Kunming for high-altitude training. The city has been China's national high-elevation training base for more than 30 years. There are two major training complexes, Hongta Sports Center and Haigeng National Training Center.

Haigeng National Training Center is located on Lake Dianchi near Kunming's award-winning Lakeview Golf Club and new condominium developments, and is relatively isolated. It contains eight basketball courts, weight rooms, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a dozen football pitches, two running tracks, a pool for swimming and one for diving. It also has a large snooker hall, a room for table tennis and a volleyball gym. Athletes, coaches and team managers stay onsite in the complex's many dormitories and hotel rooms.

Hongta Sports Center was built in 2000 by one of Yunnan's largest corporations Hongta cigarette company with a cost of US$58 million. Near Haigeng Park, the complex is mostly used by professional athletes but also acts as a sports club for the general public. The general public can use all of its extensive facilities and every weekend, it hosts amateur football matches. Aside from about 10 football pitches, including one surrounded by a running track, Hongta also has a 50 m swimming pool, a badminton gymnasium, tennis courts and a basketball court. It also has one of China's few ice hockey rinks, and a workout room with treadmills and weightlifting machines. There are also game rooms for air hockey and pool tables, and a basement bowling alley. Hongta also has a 101-room hotel and restaurant.

Golf

Golf is a major attraction in Kunming. There are four golf courses within an hour's drive of downtown. For the last six years, Spring City Golf and Lake Resort in nearby Yiliang County has reigned as the best golf course in China and Hong Kong according to US Golf Digest. In 2004, it was named Asia's best golf resort by Asian Golf Monthly.[2] It hosts the Kunming Leg of the Omega China Tour.

Kunming has attracted foreign investment in golf course development. "Spring City" Golf Resort is a US$600 million project that began as an investment led by Singapore's Keppel Land Group in 1992. Today it is not only ranked by some as China's top golf course, but also one of the top golf destinations in all of Asia. Much of this is attributable to Keppel's financial backing in addition to having golf legend Jack Nicklaus and eminent golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design the two courses.[2]

Sport facilities

Major sports facilities include:

Tourism

A canal in the city center

Kunming is among the most famous historical and cultural cities and one of the top tourist cities in China. Due to its pleasant climate, plateau scenery, age-old history, diverse ethnic customs, and unique plants and animals, Kunming attracts domestic and foreign tourists all year round. As the tourism center of Yunnan province, Kunming has also been a transport hub, from where tourists can go easily to places such as Dali, Lijiang and Shangrila. Kunming is located in an earthquake zone and the last earthquake happened in 2009.

Over 24 million domestic tourists visited Kunming in 2007, with 800,000 foreign tourists visiting annually.[16] Kunming's total revenue from tourism in 2007 was 16.8 billion yuan, an increase of 8.0% over 2006.

Kunming hosts the China International Travel Mart every two years. This tourism trade fair is the largest of its kind in Asia and serves as an important platform for professionals in the sector. More than 80 countries and regions were present during the 2005 edition.

Conferencing and exhibition venues

  • Kunming International Convention and Exhibition Center (中国昆明国际会展中心)
  • Yunnan Provincial Science and Technology Hall (云南省科技馆)

International Folk Arts and Craft Union

In October 2006, artists from China, Taiwan, the US, Canada, Japan and elsewhere adopted a constitution for the newly formed International Folk Arts and Craft Union (IFACU). The stated mission of IFACU is to organize and promote cooperation among the world's artists to promote and preserve folk arts and crafts. The organization will be based in Kunming, ostensibly because of the ethnic diversity in Yunnan and the variety of folk art and crafts found throughout the province. The first IFACU general assembly is scheduled to take place in Kunming sometime in 2008.

Economy

Kunming industrial zone on the west coast of the Lake Dian

Kunming's economy was ranked 12th of all Chinese cities in 1992. Kunming holds three distinct economic advantages over other cities in southwest China: abundant natural resources, an excellent local consumer market and the mildest climate in the region.

Due to its position at the geographical center of Yunnan, one of China's largest producers of agricultural products, minerals and hydroelectric power, Kunming is the main commercial hub for most of the province's vast resources.

Kunming's chief industries are the production of copper, lead and zinc; its iron and steel industry has been greatly expanded. Salt and phosphate mines around Kunming are some of the largest in China. Yunnan Copper Company Limited is one of Yunnan's largest mining corporations based in Kunming. Beginning in the late 1970s, Kunming's main industries also came to include food and tobacco processing and the manufacture of construction equipment and machines.

In May 1995, the State Council approved Kunming as an Open City. By the end of that year, the city had approved 929 overseas-funded enterprises with a total investment of 2.286 billion US dollars including 1.073 billion U.S. dollars of foreign capital. More than 40 projects each had an investment of more than nine million U.S. dollars.

Kunming is also a center of the engineering industry, manufacturing machine tools, electrical machinery and equipment and automobiles (including heavy goods vehicles). It has a major chemical industry, as well as plastics, cement works and textile factories. Its many processing plants, which include tanneries and woodworking and papermaking factories, use local agricultural products. In 1997, Yunnan Tire Co. opened a tire plant in Kunming, with a capacity to produce two million tires per year.

Because of its location in the southwest of China, Kunming was generally passed over in China's rapid economic growth in the 1990s. However, recently the city has received renewed attention, launching Kunming into an international commercial hub of South and Southeast Asia.

Kunming economic authorities are active participants in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), promoting trade throughout China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Several railroads and highways have been planned to connect Kunming to areas of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, providing Kunming transportation access to sea ports.

In 2006, the Chinese government approved a 2912 km oil pipeline to be built from the Indian Ocean coastal town of Sittwe, Myanmar to Kunming. This pipeline will carry African and Middle Eastern petroleum to China, bypassing some oil shipments through the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. The pipeline will cut oil transport time by two weeks. In addition, Kunming is also said to be the site for an oil refinery for the incoming oil.

Development zones

Kunming has two major development zones, Kunming High-tech Industrial Development Zone (biological medicine, new materials, electronic information, photoelectron, agriculture) and Kunming Economic and Technology Development Zone (mechanical equipment production, biological science and food industry, information industry, software).

Industrial parks

There are 30 key industrial parks promulgated and recognized by National Development and Reform Commission in Yunnan Province. [12]

The largest include:

  • Chenggong Industrial Park
  • Anning Industrial Park
  • Songming Yanglin Industrial Development Zone
  • Dongchuan Special Industrial Park
  • Xundian Special Industrial Park
  • Kunming Haikou Industrial Park

Statistics

For the fiscal year of 2008,[17]

  • Kunming's gross domestic product (GDP) was 160.5 billion yuan;
  • fixed asset investment was 105.3 billion yuan;
  • real estate investment was 25.9 billion yuan;
  • retail sales was 70.1 billion yuan;
  • per capita disposable income within Kunming's urban areas grew to 14,482 yuan;
  • Kunming's average farmer outside of the city earned 4,610 yuan.

Companies

As of 2008, Kunming is home to 65 of the Top 100 Enterprises in Yunnan Province. The top 100 enterprises were based on their revenues for 2007. Hongta Group, with revenues of some RMB39.88 billion for 2007 topped the list, while Hongyun Group took the third place with revenues of RMB39.23 billion. The tobacco sector remains the largest sector in the province.

Top 10

Top 10 Kunming-based companies, according to Yunnan Provincial Enterprise Association [13]:

(company; annual operating revenue; primary business)

  1. Hongta Group (红塔集团): 40,798,100,000 yuan; tobacco
  2. Yunnan Copper Group (云铜集团): 32,690,420,000 yuan; copper/nonferrous metals
  3. Hongyun Group (红云集团): 25,644,350,000 yuan; tobacco
  4. Yunnan Power Grid Co (云南电网公司): 23,299,000,000 yuan; power generation/transmission
  5. Kunming Iron & Steel Company (昆明钢铁控股有限公司): 16,539,360,000 yuan; ferrous metals
  6. Sinopec Yunnan (中石化云南石油分公司): 16,000,000,000 yuan; petroleum/petrochemicals
  7. Yuntianhua Group (云天化集团): 15,217,980,000 yuan; chemicals, fertilizer
  8. Honghe Cigarette Factory (红河卷烟总厂): 14,500,000,000 yuan; tobacco
  9. Yunnan Metallurgical Group (云南冶金集团): 14,240,180,000 yuan; non-ferrous metals
  10. Kunming Rail Bureau (昆明铁路局): 10,015,840,000 yuan; rail logistics
Financial services
Pharmaceuticals

Foreign investment

Over 2,000 foreign companies have invested in Kunming, as of 2008.

In 2001, three years after the World Horticultural Expo, the Netherlands, a horticultural powerhouse itself, established an official presence in Kunming to help Dutch companies set up operations in Kunming. The Netherlands Business Support Office Kunming (NBSO Kunming) was established in 2002.

Retail and real estate

Kunming roadside newsstand

Kunming is the only major city in Yunnan province which has 4.8 million people. Real wealth has been generated in the last decade through pillar industries such as hydropower, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, tourism and the local property market. Once an economic backwater, the city of Kunming in Yunnan province has been emerging as a promising market for imported goods and services from around the world as well as goods produced by foreign invested enterprises. Kunming is quickly becoming one of China's most promising second-tier retail markets.

Modern retail stores have sprung up over the past four years. Several hypermarkets and supermarket chains, along with proliferating convenience stores, have taken root. Stores are supplying a full range of services to meet the demands of families that often shop together.

In 2008 Kunming municipality's per capita disposable income reached 14,482 yuan. Given the relatively low cost of living in Kunming, city residents are increasingly spending their cash on retail goods and services. Kunming's government has begun to acknowledge the growing influence of consumer spending on local economic growth. Retail spending in 2006 totaled 70.074 billion yuan, an 23.1 percent increase over 2007.

One unique aspect of the retail scene in Kunming is that there are very few centralized shopping areas offering a wide variety of goods. This is primarily due to the city's loose zoning and lack of a relatively integrated development plan. While lagging behind larger cities in categories such as concentration of high-technology, Kunming has a high concentration of foreign retailers and is already home to four Carrefours, one B&Q, one Metro and three Wal-Marts. Kunming also boasts three Watson's outlets and a growing number of international fast food outlets such as McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut. Louis Vuitton recently opened an outlet in Kunming, one of 16 nationwide, in the luxury-focused Gingko Shopping Center in the city's center. Gingko is also home to outlets of high-end goods by Salvatore Ferragamo, Chanel, Versace, Mont Blanc and Burberry. France-based luxury brand Hermes chose Gingko in Kunming as the location for its first mainland retail outlet two years ago. Luxury automobile companies are also making their presence felt in Kunming. Big names including Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Lexus and Porsche have dealerships in Kunming.

In 2006, Hong Kong-based property developer Shui On Land signed an agreement with the Kunming government in July related to a residential, business and cultural development covering 2.5 million square meters.

The area around Lake Dianchi, which is just southwest of the city's center, is currently witnessing a boom in high-end residential projects.

Import & Export Commodities Fair

The China Kunming Import & Export Commodities Fair (known as 'Kunming Fair') is a regional trade fair jointly sponsored by seven local Southeast Asian governments including Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Tibet, Chongqing and Chengdu. Kunming Fair has been successfully held annually for fourteen consecutive years. In addition to a mass of domestic buyers and over 1,000 Chinese exhibitors, previous each fair attracted about 4,000 to 6,000 overseas guests from around fifty countries. The accumulated contracts signed for trade and investment during the fairs are estimated about 25 billion US dollars. See also, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the main organizing body.

From the year 2008, China's Ministry of Commerce participated in hosting the fair for the first time with the stated goal of increasing the scale and quality of the fair.

Flower industry

Yunnan has developed into the largest flower export base in Asia, with many Dutch experts having transferred technology to the area. The Dounan Flower Market, located in suburban Kunming, is the largest in China with daily sales of 2.5 million yuan (USD 300,000) from the 2 million sprays of flowers (as of 2006). The provincial government agency, the Yunnan Flower Association, regulates the industry. [15]

Chenggong, already a major source of fresh flowers in China has plans to emerge as the "Flower Hub of Asia". The county, 20 minutes drive from central Kunming has a flourishing flower trade: according to the Kunming Administration Public Information Service Web, Chenggong exported 812 tons of flowers to Singapore in year of 2007 with volume of trade clocking in at US$1,300,000.

Authorities in Kunming have formulated plans for the development of each district in Chenggong. While Kunming's administrative authorities have already moved to Chenggong, a number of key universities in Yunnan like Yunnan University and Yunnan Normal University are also relocating to the area. With Chenggong already home to Kunming International Airport and the Kunming International Flora Auction Trading Center Co., Ltd. the county has positioned itself as one of China's main flower producers.

The "Kunming International Flower Exhibition" is now held every year. [16] It is organized by the Government of Yunnan province and sponsored by Yunnan Flower Industry Office, CCPIT Yunnan branch and Yunnan EXPO Group.

Telecommunications

The city has a 2,460,000-line telephone switching system with 3,270,800 customers, averaging 57.3 phones for every 100 people.

The Yunnan Telecom Corporation Kunming Branch is a multiple high tech enterprise that is the main driver of tele communications in Kunming. Kunming Branch currently operates a modern fixed telephone network and with more than 1,000,000 subscribers and has 2,000,000 internet users. The data network has 5,000 of Netphone dial ports and the outbound bandwidth of the Chinanet has reached 1.2G within this year. It operates the CHINAPAC, DDN, ATM/CHINA FR and the computer internet, Multiedia Communication Network, IP broad band MAN based on the ATM broadband Technology that have covered the whole city, which can provide various services such as ISDN and ADSL. All of which give a strong support to the three online roll-out projects. The Kunming Branch has built up the IP broadband communication network based on IP over DWDM mode.

Wi-Fi

Kunming plans to be blanketed with Wi-Fi connectivity by the end of 2009 with the "Kunming Wi-Fi Metropolitan Area Network project". It would deploy more than 3 thousand access points in Kunming to provide the convenience and reliability of NonStop Wireless networking.

The first phase will enable Wi-Fi access along Kunming's main ring roads, important scenic spots, the central business district and some residential areas. Phases two and three will extend coverage to the entire Kunming prefecture area.

3G

According to a Kunming Daily report, Kunming will be issued with 3G mobile phone licenses in June 2009 with 28 other second- and third-tier Chinese mainland cities. First-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou were issued 3G licenses in early January 2009.

Logistics

As part of the overall infrastructure network, road links between Kunming and Laos will soon be completed, forming part of a transnational highway that will eventually link Yunnan with Thailand. Projects such as these and the Pan-Asian Railway-a bold project linking Kunming to Singapore via Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, with a total length of 5,600 km of rail line, due for completion in the next few years-are likely to turn Kunming into a major logistics hub.

Kunming East Station is at present Yunnan province's only container handling depot, with direct links to only three provinces; Guangzhou, Guizhou and Sichuan. It also has direct access to the metropolitan district of Chongqing. These lines are currently being upgraded to carry double-stacked container wagons. In addition, there is a large shortage of rail cars suited for containers and large volumes better suited to be transported in containers are still carried on flat-beds or general open wagon cars better suited to carrying bulk commodities.

In July 2006, as part of the Kunming Development Plan, construction of a comprehensive intermodal container depot located in Jiaying, Chenggong County, about 20 km from Kunming City, one of 18 new rail container depots planned by the Railway Ministry across the country. The engineering construction program occupies an area of 16,000 ha, with a fixed investment roughly equal to RMB449.5 million (US$55.6 million). The new depot handles 63 million tons annually.

The Jiaying Depot is connected with the new system of highways built linking Yunnan to the increasingly important markets of Southeast Asia, facilitating cheap Chinese exports to the region and granting resource-poor China greater access to the region's massive raw material resources. Yunnan has thereby become a progressively important area in the Southwest's rail logistics both in terms of national and international logistics.

Utilities

Kunming provides 1,560,000 tons of tapped water a day. Altogether 1,095,000 households are supplied with piped gas for cooking and 1,070,000 families use liquefied gas to cook. The rate of the urban gasification reached 92%.

Sustainable development

Kunming, because of its remote location, had been an economic backwater for much of the last three decades. That was before rapid growth in China's trade with Southeast Asia and China's domestic tourism industry in addition to Beijing's 'Go West' initiative aimed at increasing domestic and foreign investment in western China.

The strategies for economic development in Yunnan, as designed by the provincial government, can be described in short as the realization of 3 targets and the construction of 5 pillar industries. Yunnan often proudly presents itself as a "green" province with an equally "green" economy. This means importance is attached to the sustainable development of the region's bio-resources as well as the protection of its natural environment. The agricultural sector therefore gets a lot of support in the development of e.g. green or organic food, but also the production of traditional Chinese medicine, cut flowers and bio-chemicals is being encouraged.

The focus of the five pillar industries are the development of the tourism, tobacco, mineral and (hydro)power industries. Furthermore, as already mentioned, there's support for the development and improvement of green food, the horticultural sector and the biochemical industry.

Satellite image of Kunming, situated on the northern shore of Lake Dian.

20 years ago Kunming started a strong partnership with its sister city Zürich, Switzerland to share experiences on sustainable urban development. Today, many sectors are concerned by this cooperation. The China Garden Zürich is a remiscence for Zürich's technical and scientific assistance in the development of the Kunming city drinking water supply and drainage. See also: Water supply and sanitation in the People's Republic of China.

The technical cooperation between Kunming and Zürich started with a cooperation project in the field of drinking water supply. Later other sectors such as "old town protection", "sewage and waste water treatment", "city planning", "urban and regional transport planning" were added in the co-operation list.

Based on their experience, specialists from Zürich supported Kunming in the process of urban planning and development. Many Chinese specialists went to Zürich for technical visits or trainings, getting an insight into the management of an advanced modern European city. The dialogue between specialists has been an important experience for both partners, establishing a relationship of mutual trust over the years.

The cooperation has improved the water supply with the planning of modern drinking water treatment plants. It also led to a plan of protecting old buildings in the city. The solutions used in Kunming have, in the meantime, become a model in the People's Republic of China and are receiving attention beyond the provincial borders.

Eco-town

The Kunming Project [18] is located on a naturally vegetated site adjacent to the International Horticultural Expo, on the north-eastern fringes of Kunming City. The project comprises four prototype houses and a 2,000 m² Visitor Centre on a five hectare site. In 2006 the project was completed and is the first "intelligent & green" project in mainland China. Expo INTEGER Kunming is the first eco-town in southern China, with an emphasis on sustainable lifestyle, environmental protection and intelligent technology. The project aims to provide a focal point for the improvement of housing standards and building technology in the context of China. It will develop a sustainable housing and lifestyle model appropriate for the urbanization of the western region in China.

Public transportation

Kunming traffic

Traffic congestion has been a problem for residents in recent years in Kunming. Fifty years ago, the small city only had several hundred motor vehicles. The figure increased to almost 100,000 in the mid 1970s. Since the 1980s, the city has embarked on a fast development. Road construction has not kept up to pace with the increasing amount of traffic, though several projects at expanding and connecting roads are being implemented. Currently, the city has over 1.2 million cars.

Kunming's then Vice-Mayor Li Jiang said the serious imbalance between the enormous amount of traffic and limited roads affected not only the city's economic and social development but also the residents' daily lives.

Several regulations being implemented are: 1. Rigorous driver training including retraining the driving teachers 2. Training the police to enforce new and existing driving and parking regulations 3. Train the police to drive in a completely law abiding manner. 4. Enforce traffic regulations on all vehicles, especially those with white license plates who routinely break laws. 5. Develop and enforce zoning laws that force property owners to provide adequate parking for cars, scooters, bicycles and delivery vehicles. 6. By implementing no. 5, eliminate the parking of bicycles and scooters on pedestrian sidewalks.[19]

One major co-operation results in transportation sector was the Kunming Urban Public Transportation Master Plan. Several modern bus lanes were planned according to this plan, and the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) priority policy was put forward by Kunming Administration. The modern BRT can reach the carrying capacity and service level of rail traffic, but its construction and operation costs are much lower than those of rail traffic, which makes it suitable for Kunming as a medium-sized city in China.

After establishing the BRT priority policy, Kunming built its first modern bus lane in April 1999, which marked the earliest practice of BRT in China. Today, four special bus lanes have been constructed and the basic layout of a cross-grid bus lane network is already in the place.

However, starting to promote BRT can't solve all transportation problems. Compared with world-class BRT systems, Kunming's BRT system still has a long way to go in improving carrying capacity and service level, to let the public see the expected effects of public traffic priority.[citation needed]

Meanwhile, the bus lane network is to be further expanded, to make the bus lanes reach the planned length of 63 km. To achieve this target, more high-standard bus lanes are to be built, and to improve the city's existing bus lanes' operation and management levels as well. It has been suggested that the priorities in promoting BRT should be put into practice the new free-transfer ticket systems and optimize the bus route network.

Kunming recently has adopted prohibiting automobiles turning left policy. However, the responses to this measure are mixed. Wang Haihui, who is from the city's transportation department, said this measure alleviated road congestion situation and reduced passengers' time spent on the buses. But Yang Qing, Professor of Urban Planning at Kunming Ligong University, who drives a car every day, complained the measure didn't have very obvious positive impact on his daily transit. How to solve the traffic jams has aroused public concerns. According to a random survey by the local television station, nearly 60 per cent of Kunmingers attribute the traffic jams to a large increase in motor vehicles. He Dongquan, Director of Transportation Program of Energy Foundation, suggests that more people should take buses instead of driving cars in order to save road space.

According to Xinhua News Agency's report, a blueprint entitled Modern New Kunming is in the making. According to this plan, Kunming will be built into a city formed by four ecological areas with specific functions, favorable living environment, and convenient transportation.

Solar energy

In July 2008, Kunming began to implement a program to transform the city's solar energy industry into a US$8.8 billion industrial base in China by 2013. Kunming receives an annual average sunshine of more than 2,400 hours. Each 1 kW PV system has the potential to generate 1500 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year from solar energy.

The government plans to put in place policies (low-interest loans, tax exemption and other concessions or subsidies) and a fund to encourage private sector participation in the city's solar energy-based infrastructure development. The fund, which will be included in the municipal government's annual budget, will particularly finance LED for public lighting, solar photovoltaic projects, and the propagation of energy saving projects.

As of 2007, the Kunming Economic Committee listed about 130 solar energy enterprises in the city. Of these, 118 enterprises produce solar lamps and solar water heaters, with a combined total production value of about US$ 43.8 million, and 10 enterprises are engaged in solar photovoltaic cells manufacturing, with a total production value of about US$51.2 million.[20]

Suntech Power announced in December 2008 that it is jointly constructing a solar energy project with Yunnan Provincial Power Investment and other investors. The 1MW first-phase of the Shilin 66MW on-grid solar power station in Kunming began generating power on December 28, 2009. The initial phase of the 66MW project was originally scheduled to start production in first half of 2010 while the 20MW second phase and 36 MW third phase are under construction.

Transportation

See also: Transportation in Yunnan.

Kunming is situated on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. Rail and air are the main two methods to travel to or from Kunming from outside Yunnan.

Air travel

Kunming is served by an international airport, located 4–5 km southeast of central Kunming that have new international and domestic terminal buildings next to each other. Kunming has air connections with several Chinese and Southeast Asian cities. CAAC shuttle buses (¥5) serve passengers between the airport (Tuodong Lu) and the city center. Transport by taxi cost around 15 yuan and it takes about 20 minutes. Three public buses run on the route including No. 52, 67 and 78.

A new international airport in Kunming slated for completion by 2011. It is projected to be China's fourth largest airport and one of the world's top 80 airports. The new airport is expected to greatly increase the city's access to countries in SE Asia and S Asia. The airport is being constructed by Yunnan Airport Group. It will be able to handle 25 million passengers yearly, compared to the current capacity of 20 million at Kunming Wujiaba International Airport, which will remain operational until the switchover in 2011. The new airport is expected to handle 38 million every year by 2020 and 65 million passengers per year in 2035.

The new airport will have a 4,000 m long and 60 m wide runway, a 4,000 m long and 45 m wide runway; a 550,000 square meter terminal building; a 2,800 square-meter tower; and other supporting facilities including air traffic management and a fuel supply system. The terminal is the largest free-standing structure in the world. It looks like a bird, 1150 meters wide, 850 meters long. The columns that support the terminal will not be regular vertical columns; they will look like waving ribbons that extend throughout the terminal.

The airport is projected to cost US$3 billion and it will be partially solar powered. It was designed by the UK-based design engineering consultancy Arup.

The airport construction is part of the larger Kunming Air Hub City. The Air Hub City is planned to have about 200,000 residents. Most of its industries will be related to transportation: logistics, aircraft maintenance, aviation education and technology, travel-related services, hospitality, and tourism.

Airlines

The now defunct Yunnan Airlines was headquartered in Kunming until it was acquired by China Eastern Airlines. China Southwest Airlines used to operate routes to and from Kunming, until it was merged with Air China.

Other than China Eastern and Air China, Kunming Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Dragonair, JAL, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines and Thai Airways International are the other main airlines that operate out of Kunming (see also Kunming Wujiaba International Airport).

Lucky Air is a bugdet airline based in Kunming and operates scheduled services from Dali to Kunming and Xishuangbanna, and plans to expand to other areas of China.

Rail

Kunming's main railway station

Several road and rail routes link Kunming to Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, which provide Yunnan province access to seaports of Southeast Asia. The provincial rail network is limited - one down through the southeast to the Vietnamese border via Hekou (currently not operating), (see Yunnan-Vietnam Railway), and a line to Xiaguan, near Dali - though Kunming is well linked to the rest of the country via Sichuan and Guizhou.

Yunnan is connected with other parts of China mainly through the Guikun (Guiyang-Kunming), Chengkun (Chengdu-Kunming) and Nankun (Nanning-Kunming) railways.

Kunming has two railway stations:

  • Kunming Railway Station is at the southern end of Beijing Xi Lu. Compared with the other railway station (North Railway Station), Kunming Railway Station services most of the trains to places to other provinces of China. Trains run north to Chengdu, southeast via Xingyi to Baise and Nanning in Guangxi, and east through Guizhou, via Liupanshui, Anshun, Guiyang, into the rest of the country. Tickets are sold in three days in advance.
  • Kunming North Railway Station (serviced by the No. 23 Bus) is for routes to Hekou and Vietnam. Every Friday and Sunday, a train departs to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam (the train from Kunming to Hekou and Hekou to Hanoi is currently not operating). It takes about 16 hours to reach Hekou (a seat is ¥35, berths around ¥90), and 32 hours to Hanoi (hard sleeper lower bunk ¥175, upper bunk ¥235).

Trains from Kunming to: Beijing (daily; 48 hr); Chengdu (3 daily; 18-21 hr); Chongqing (2 daily; 23 hr); Guangzhou (2 daily; 45 hr); Guilin (2 daily; 30 hr); Guiyang (5 daily; 12 hr); Hanoi (daily; 28 hr); Hekou (1 daily; 16 hr); Kaiyuan (2 daily; 8 hr); Nanning (daily; 20 hr); Panzhihua (3 daily; 6 hr); Shanghai (2 daily; 60 hr); Xiaguan (daily; 8 hr); Xichang (3 daily; 12 hr).

Urban rail plan

Kunming is preparing to start construction on its first urban rail line, before the end of 2008, according to the Kunming Municipal Traffic Research Institute. According to the institute, the "Kunming Municipal High-Speed Rail Transportation Network Plan" has been completed by April 2008. The plan includes a total of six high-speed rail lines covering a total of 162 kilometers.

Pending governmental approval, phase one of the project will begin before the end of 2008. The first phase of the network, Line 1, will connect downtown Kunming with the university campuses in the south of Chenggong, a county that is in the northeast of Kunming Prefecture.

Shortly after approval is obtained and construction begins on Line 1, work is expected to begin on Line 2, which will connect Kunming's northern suburbs with the northern shore of Dianchi Lake in the south. The two areas boast some of the city's highest concentrations of wealth with the north shore of Dianchi to become more economically dynamic through developer Shui On Land's Caohai Urban North Shore project, which is expected to cover 87 hectares and feature commercial and residential space as well as museums, theaters, an amphitheater and an "artist's community".

Other proposed lines include:

  • Line 3: Ma Jie (west Kunming) to Liangmian Temple (east Kunming)
  • Line 4: High-tech Park (northwest Kunming) through downtown Kunming and Kunming ETDZ to Chenggong New Area Bailongtan
  • Line 5: World Horticultural Expo Gardens (northeastern Kunming) through downtown Kunming to Dianchi Holiday Area (southwestern Kunming)
  • Line 6: Downtown Kunming to New Airport

Construction of Line 1 is expected to cost as much as 32 billion yuan (US$4.5 billion), with each kilometer of above-ground light rail costing around 250 million yuan and each kilometer of underground subway expected to cost between 400 million and 800 million yuan. All rail lines within Erhuan Lu (Kunming's second ring road) will be underground.

The primary contractor is China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC).

High Speed Rail Plan

Construction is underway for the following high speed railroads.

1. Kunming-Guiyang-Changsha-Hangzhou Shanghai. The speed will be 350 km/h or 219 miles/h.

2. Kunming-Nanning. The speed will be 200 km/h or 125 miles/h. Later the speed may be improved to 250 km/h or 156 miles/h.

Study or planning is being done for the following railroads.

1. Kunming-Chengdu. The speed will be 250 km/h or 156 miles/h.

2. Kunming-Chongqing. The speed will be 350 km/h or 219 miles/h.

3. Intercity rail will connect three neighboring cities: Qujing, Chuxiong, and Yuxi. The line to Chuxiong will then be extended to Dali. The speed will be 250 km/h or 156 miles/h.

Road and transit

A street in Kunming

Yunnan has built a comprehensive highway system with roads reaching almost all the major cities or towns in the region. Bus travel across the region is extensive. Buses head from Kunming to destinations such as Dali and Lijiang several times a day.

There are four major long-distance bus stations in Kunming with the South Bus Station and Railway Square Bus Station being the most primary.

  • South Bus Station faces the Kunming Railway Station in Beijing Xi Lu, with standard, luxury, express and sleeper buses departing for all over Yunnan and neighboring provinces. Buses depart here generally fall into three types: Regular, Faster, and Luxurious. A regular bus runs slower and usually the bus condition is not so good as the faster one. The standard bus to Jinghong takes 21 hours and costs ¥119, while a luxury bus takes 16 hours and costs ¥152. A luxury bus to Xiaguan (for Dali), which leaves hourly from 8am to 7pm, takes 4 hours (two less than the regular service) and costs ¥103, and one to Lijiang which takes only nine hours and costs ¥152. Other destinations covered by this include Zhongdian and Hekou (11 hours, ¥95).
  • Railway Square Bus Station is smaller than SBS and the majority of the buses depart from the station are private-run. Usually no fixed schedules are available and buses will leave when they are full. There are standard and sleeper services to Dali, Jinghong and elsewhere in Yunnan.

Buses from Kunming to: Anshun (24 hr); Baoshan (18 hr); Chengdu (36 hr); Chuxiong (6 hr); Dali (12 hr); Gejiu (5 hr); Guiyang (72 hr); Hekou (16 hr); Jianshui (5 hr); Jinghong (11 hr); Kaiyuan (5 hr); Lijiang (11 hr); Mangshi (22 hr); Nanning (72 hr); Panxian (12 hr); Ruili (24 hr); Shilin (3 hr); Tonghai (2 hr); Wanding (25 hr); Xiaguan (10 hr); Xichang (24 hr); Xingyi (13 hr).

Leaving China by road into Vietnam and Laos is also possible through the respective crossings at Hekou in southeastern Yunnan or Bian Mao Zhan in Xishuangbanna.

The Kunming-Bangkok Expressway is the first expressway from China to Bangkok via Laos. The 1,800 km long Kunming-Bangkok Exxpressway begins at Kunming going down to Ban Houayxay in Laos; it then crosses the Mekong River to Chiangkhong in Thailand and eventually reaches Bangkok.

At the 14th Greater Mekong Subregion Ministerial Conference in July 2007, China, Laos and Thailand signed an agreement on the construction of a new bridge over the Mekong River to connect Chiangkhong in Thailand and Ban Houayxay in Laos, to the Kunming-Bangkok Highway. The completion of the new bridge over the Mekong River will help connect China's southeast provinces with Bangkok. With capital investments from both China and Thailand, the bridge is expected to be completed in 2011 and will be the last link in the highway system that winds through the Mekong River region.

Local transit

Public buses and taxis are the two main means of transportation within the city. There is no metro/subway system (see Kunming#Rail).

Nearly two hundred public bus lines crisscross the city center, covering the whole prefecture. Prices are usually 1 yuan for a no air-conditioned and 2 yuan for air-conditioned.

Taxis are plenty with the starting price at ¥8 for the first three kilometer and ¥1.6 added for per extra km. After 10pm price rises to ¥9.6 for the first 3 km and ¥2.7 added to per extra km.

Cycling is common, and many hotels around the Kunming Railway Station provide bicycle rental services usually priced 2 yuan/hour and 10 yuan/day.

Conscious of its growing traffic issues, the city is currently renovating a pedestrian-friendly city centre.

Central Kunming

The city hangs off two main thoroughfares: Beijing Lu forms the north-south axis, passing just east of the center as it runs for 5 km between the city's two trains stations; while Dongfeng Lu crosses it halfway along, divided into east (Dongfeng Dong Lu), middle (Dongfeng Zhong Lu) and west (Dongfeng Xi Lu) sections as it cuts right through the business center. The far end runs out of the city as Renmin Xi Lu, the first leg of the Burma Road. Most of the city's famous hotels and foreign consulates lies along Dongfeng Dong Lu and the southern half of Beijing Lu, while the majority of specific landmarks and shopping district are north and west of the center around Dongfeng Xi Lu and Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park). Circling most of this is the city's first highway ring road, Huancheng Lu, though others are planned.

Highway

International

Education, science and technology

Kunming remains a major educational and cultural center in the southwest region of China, with universities, medical and teacher-training colleges, technical schools, and scientific research institutes.

The city has more than 300 scientific research institutions employing 450,000 scientists and technicians. Included were 68,500 people with middle-level and senior professional titles. In 1995, the city achieved 60 research findings, of which one reached the "advanced international standard", 17 "advanced domestic standard" and 21 "advanced provincial standard".

Colleges and universities

Management training

The Shanghai-based China Europe International Business School, aka CEIBS, will launch in 2009 its Business Development Certificate Programme in Kunming. With the Business Development Certificate Programme, CEIBS and program partner Frankfurt School of Finance and Management aim to train approximately 500 Chinese managers in the coming four years, with the first phase of the program beginning in 2008 in Hefei, the capital of Anhui province. Kunming and Harbin will be the focus of the program's expansion in 2009. The program is part of a two million Euro umbrella project funded by the EU, which also includes another program that provides scholarships for MBA students from China's less-developed regions.[21]

Research institutes

  • Solar Energy Research Institute of Yunnan Normal University
  • Kunming Municipal Planning and Design Research Institute

Chinese Academy of Sciences

The Kunming Branch of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was established in 1957. It was formerly known as Kunming Office of CAS and was extended into a branch in 1958 and renamed as Yunnan Branch of CAS. In 1962, Yunnan Branch combined with Sichuan Branch and Guizhou Branch to establish Southwest China Branch of CAS in Chengdu. In October 1978, Kunming Branch was reestablished at the approval of the State Council.

As a working department of CAS, Kunming Branch now administrates five research institutes: Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanic Garden, Yunnan Observatory and Institute of Geochemistry in Guiyang. At present, it has a total staff of 1,160, of which 808 are professional researchers, 7 academicians, 343 senior researchers. There are also 447 Ph.D. degree students and 530 master degree students. The retired staff is 1,090. The Branch has set up 3 national key open labs, 2 CAS key open labs, 5 key labs set up by CAS and local province, 3 engineering centers, 5 doctoral sites, 5 post doctoral stations and national famous plant herbariums and halls of wildlife specimen and had a series of updated research instruments and apparatus, computer networks and biodiversity information systems. The Branch has become an advanced comprehensive science research base in astronomy, geology and biology.

The administrative organ of Kunming Branch is organized by three functional departments (General Office, Office of Personnel and Office of Sci-tech Cooperation) and a supporting department (Network Center). The major tasks are: to construct the leadership of the five institutes and cadres reserve; to organize and facilitate the cooperation between CAS and Yunnan Province and Guizhou Province; to coordinate projects and poverty alleviation; to undertake the coordination and administration of the knowledge creation base of "Conservation and Research Development of Southwest China Biological Resources and Biodiversity". Kunming Branch has established international exchange platforms with south-east Asia countries. In 2005, a delegation from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology was invited to visit Kunming Branch and reached a cooperation intention with Kunming Branch in staff exchange, co-educate graduate students, research program cooperation, scientific data exchange and set up labs jointly. Kunming Branch has organized the affiliated institutes to apply for the foreign aid training program from the state.

At present, Kunming Branch is preparing the establishment of the "Biodiversity National Lab" with Yunnan Province.

Libraries

Health

Currently, there are 2,774 medical institutes of various kinds and 33,600 medical professionals in the City. The 170 medical service institutes based on communities cover a population of 1.86 million.[22] China Health Management Corp (CNHC) is the main private healthcare provider in the city. It has been predicted that private hospitals will provide 70% of total medical health care services by 2012 within Kunming City.[23]

Hospitals

  • Yunnan Provincial Red Cross Hospital and Emergency Center, is the main general hospital in Kunming.
  • Yunnan Provincial First People's Hospital
  • First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medial College
  • Kunming Mental Hospital, founded in 1955, houses over 400 patients.
  • Kunming Physical Rehabilitation Center

HIV-AIDS

In late 2006, China's first provincial-level HIV/AIDS treatment center has built. The US$17.5 million center is located 28 km from downtown Kunming. The center has six main departments: clinical treatment, technical consulting, research and development, international exchange and cooperation, clinical treatment training and psychological therapy.The center cooperates with many of the NGOs in Kunming that are focused on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. These organizations are working with provincial and local officials to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among high-risk groups and prevent crossover into lower-risk groups.

Yunnan, with a population of more than 45 million, leads China in HIV/AIDS infections - primarily spread through intravenous drug use and unsafe sex, often involving the sex industry. According to official statistics, by the end of last year Yunnan was home to more than 48,000 HIV-infected patients, 3,900 patients with AIDS and a death toll of 1,768.

See also: HIV/AIDS in Yunnan, HIV/AIDS in the People's Republic of China

Further reading: "Modeling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Injecting Drug Users and Sex Workers in Kunming, China", Bulletin of Mathematical Biology Volume 68, Number 3 / April, 2006; Nicolas Bacaër, Xamxinur Abdurahman and Jianli Ye [20]

Public security

The headquarters of the Kunming Municipal Public Security Bureau is on Beijing Lu. Its foreign affairs department, located on Jinxing Huayuan, Jinxing Xiao Lu in the northeast of the city, handles immigration and travel visas.

Drug trafficking

Kunming has a pivotal role as a major conduit point in international drug trafficking as it is the closest major Chinese city situated near the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia. The Kunming Municipal Public Security Bureau Narcotics Squad is the specialist counter-narcotics police service.

Police confiscated at least three tons of drugs in Yunnan in 2005. Yunnan province seized 10 tons of illegal drugs in 2006, accounting for 80 percent of the total drugs confiscated nationwide during the period, according to Sun Dahong, then deputy director of Yunnan's provincial Public Security Bureau. The total is more than double the amount seized in the province in 2005.[24]

Heroin and methamphetamine seem to be the main targets of the 30,000+ strong anti-drug police in Yunnan. The majority of heroin coming into China from the Golden Triangle passes through Dali, where it is then distributed to the rest of China and internationally via China's coastal cities.

Kunming Municipal Compulsory Rehabilitation Center in Kunming is the main rehabilitation center for drug addicts, mostly recovering from heroin addiction. International drug rings have used Yunnan and Kunming to channel new synthetic drugs (like methamphetamine) as well as traditional drugs like heroin.

Opium was until recently in widespread medicinal use by many of the minority peoples of the province, however after the Opium War the Chinese government has made growing the poppy illegal, and all but stamped out its production within the borders of Yunnan.

International relations

Diplomatic representation

The following countries have a diplomatic mission in Kunming:

Trade offices:

Twin towns

Kunming is twinned with:

Notable residents

Notable people from Kunming include:

  • Benedict Anderson, scholar (born in Kunming)
  • Cai Xitao, botanist
  • Chih-Kung Jen, physicist
  • Pierre Jean Marie Delavay, 19th century French missionary, lived and died in Kunming
  • Nie Er, composer (born in Kunming)
  • Frank Shu, Chinese-American astrophysicist, born in Kunming
  • Lamu Gatusa, professor and writer
  • Li Guoxing [23], China's first face transplant patient. His face was terribly disfigured in 2004 after an attack by a bear. He received a partial face transplant operation at Xi'an's Xijing Hospital in April 2006, the second operation of its kind following a French female patient in 2005.
  • Li Weiwei, Olympics handball player
  • Liu Fang, pipa player
  • Maran Brang Seng, Burmese politician (died in Kunming)
  • Tang Jiyao, general and warlord of Yunnan, died in Kunming
  • Tu Wei-ming, ethicist (born in Kunming)
  • Wang Hongni, triathlete and Asian Games gold medallist
  • Wen Yiduo, poet and scholar, (lived and assassinated in Kunming)
  • Zhang Xiaogang, artist, born in Kunming
  • Zhu De, military leader (studied in Kunming)
  • Zhu Youlang (Ming Dynasty emperor), (fought and was executed in Kunming)
  • Anthony Zee, physicist

Diplomats:

National Southwestern Associated University:

See also

Fictional depiction

References

  1. ^ Kunming Online Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ a b c Spring City Blooming
  3. ^ "Last Stand". Time magazine. December 19, 1949. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,855050,00.html?iid=chix-sphere. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  4. ^ "Special Operations Association" (2005) By Special Operations Association. Turner Publishing. ISBN 1596521562
  5. ^ http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/vcdf/detail?coll_id=5413&inst_id=19&nv1=search&nv2=
  6. ^ "China hosts giant horticultural expo". BBC World Service. May 1, 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/333018.stm. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  7. ^ (Xinhua)
  8. ^ Climate of Kunming
  9. ^ Kunming Plans to Establish Environment Court (CRIENGLISH.com September 22, 2008)
  10. ^ 新昆明网
  11. ^ China Lite NY Times
  12. ^ Ma, Guihua (June 29, 2004). "A farewell to two zoos?". China Daily. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-06/29/content_343575.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  13. ^ [1][2][3]flickr images
  14. ^ Chairman Prime Written by Cheeky Chinese Lips / Karate Party
  15. ^ Bloomberg.com: Asia
  16. ^ "Kunming Travel Guide". China Highlights. http://www.chinahighlights.com/kunming/. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  17. ^ Kunming Municipal Bureau of Statistics. Economic data for 2008. (Chinese)
  18. ^ Integer Kunming Project
  19. ^ 新闻路大观路配对改单行 昆明二期交通微循环整治即将开工
  20. ^ Kunming aims to build a city run by solar energy
  21. ^ CEIBS Launches Business Development Certificate Programme in Hefei
  22. ^ Economic Situation-Kunming Tour
  23. ^ China Health Management Corp.: Members of the Standing Committee of Yunnan Province and Government Officials Pay Visit to Richland International Hospital 16 Jun 2008
  24. ^ Yunnan Witnesses Record Drug-busting 2006 - china.org.cn
  25. ^ [4]
  26. ^ [5]
  27. ^ [6]

Further reading

External links

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Coordinates: 25°02′30″N 102°42′18″E / 25.04167°N 102.705°E / 25.04167; 102.705


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Golden Horse memorial Archway on Jinbi Road
Golden Horse memorial Archway on Jinbi Road

Kunming (昆明; Kūnmíng) is the capital of Yunnan Province.

Understand

Known in China as the 'City of Eternal Spring', Kunming is at an almost-tropical latitude but 2000 m (6600 ft) altitude which gives it a very temperate climate. The air is also quite clean compared to other Chinese cities, even though the traffic congested streets still emit more than their fair share of pollution. However temperate it may be, in winter it has been known to snow, so if visiting in December-February, pack warm. When it rains - it's cold. In addition to its own charms it serves as a hub from which to explore Yunnan province. Speaking Chinese, in Kunming, as well as most other Chinese cities is almost a must. If you do not have a lot of patience with miscommunications then it's best to have a translator. The city has a population of around 3 million, the prefecture near 6 million. Both are growing fairly rapidly; the prefecture is predicted to hit 10 million by 2010.

Get in

Some routes to or from Kunming are described in Overland Kunming to Hong Kong. Routes to the West are in Yunnan tourist trail.

By plane

Kunming International Airport (KMG) has flights from South-East Asian cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as well as plenty of domestic connections through China. Currently the airport is located about 9km south-east of the city area, with a taxi ride to the city area costing about ¥20-25. At peak times you can expect to double this, as Kunming has major traffic flow issues.

A new airport is currently in the planning stages, and it is thought that it will be located about 60km north-east of the city area. It is estimated to be completed some time in the next 5 years, as they also have to build the transport infrastructure to the new location.

You can book Air tickets from Air China Office, Wallton Building, 448 Baoshan Jie,(0871)3159171 or any number of travel agents in the King World Hotel a few blocks north of the train station on Beijing Lu. Tickets to Beijing are usually about ¥1600 to 2000, to Hong Kong about ¥1200 to 1500, with closer destinations getting ever cheaper as China's domestic carriers jostle for market share.

Camellia Hotel has a reliable and cheap booking service, and the Laos Consulate is located inside the Camellia Hotel building too.

By train

The South train station has recently been refurbished and has a ticket office on its lower level. The station serves destinations throughout China including Nanning, Guilin, Chengdu (Sichuan), Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an. The train service to destinations inside of Yunnan is poor except for an overnight sleeper train to Xiaguan (Dali New Town).

By bus

Kunming has several bus stations. In general, the most useful are the ones on Beijing Lu (north of the train station). Confusingly, there are two within half a kilometer from one another. The smaller station is to the left of the station (if you are looking at the front of the station from Beijing Lu). The other station is a five minute walk north of the train station walking on Beijing Lu. This is the larger of the two bus stations. To make matters more confusing, they both serve many of the same locations, so travellers are advised to check both. They serve destinations in Yunnan including Jinghong, Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian, Hekou and Ruili. The long distance buses are excellent - cheap, reliable, comfortable, however, overnight sleepers can be cold, bumpy and dirty, check out the bus before you buy the tickets. Non-smokers should be aware that people smoke in the bus in China, which is a big problem if the weather is cold and all bus windows are closed.

There are international departures to Laos and Vietnam, though these services are not always running. The bus to Laos goes all the way from Kunming to Vientaine, and cost approximately US$50 and last 40 hours if you go all the way. You can get off at stops in between like Luang Prabang, and the cost of the ticket is cheaper. Either way, its a long ride and a little expensive, although not more than one would expect. The buses are clean but make stops in unexplained places for short periods. As for necessities, the bus stops along the way at dingy restaurants and even nastier restrooms at gas stations. Still, its a manageable journey if you need to go from Laos to Kunming or visa versa.

The journey to Vietnam is less arduous. Buses to Hekou, the border city on the Chinese side, leave regularly. There are night buses which allow you to leave Kunming at eight p.m. from the bus station next to the train station and arrive at Hekou in time to cross the border as soon as it opens. The bus station is just a few blocks from the border crossing. From there, you can take one of the many buses to Sapa, bus or train to Hanoi, or elsewhere.

Travel Warning

WARNING: Beware of con men who may help you to board the bus and then ask for a "luggage fee" or "Chinese gasoline fee". There is no such fee, the ticket price is all inclusive. They may present fake bus company ID cards or threaten to call the police if you express suspicion. Stay firm and refuse to pay and they will eventually leave.

Get around

Kunming has very bad traffic conditions and not only at peak times. It's worth planning ahead if you have somewhere to get to.

  • Bicycles can be rented at most hostels and hotels for about ¥20 a day. There are bike lanes along the edges of many major roads and traffic generally moves fairly slowly.
  • City Buses are ¥1 apiece and cover most of the city. They stop at every stop along their assigned route, but not all bus routes stop at all physical bus stops! Don't be surprised to see a bus driving right past a stop, as it may not be on their route. Stops are ususally 500m to 1km apart. Bus drivers are lead footed, and often race each other, especially on the ring roads. They tend to stop suddenly too, so get a good hand hold. Some of the bus stops are at the sides of the road but some bus stops are located in the middle of the road and appear to have been designed to provide maximum inconvenince and danger for passengers. There have been reports of pick-pocketing on crowded buses, especially just before "Spring Festival", when they need extra cash. It is possible to get a bus card, which reduces the cost per trip to ¥0.90. The card itself costs ¥20 and is bought at bus stations. Bus Nos. 52 and 67 run to the airport and may cost ¥2 depending on the bus and hour. Bus routes are marked on some local maps (purchased from street venders or kiosks) but are not always accurate.
  • Taxis start at ¥8. Make sure the driver uses the meter to avoid being scammed. Sometimes, taxi drivers will ask for a flat fee, but you should avoid this, because usually such flat fees are much more expensive than using the meter for rides within the city. As usual, care should be taken when traveling at night or long distances. Larger taxis cost more than smaller taxis. Also be aware that taxis are zoned and cannot access all areas. Don't be surprised if a taxi driver cannot take you to your destination as it may be outside their zone. Only certain taxis are allowed into the central areas at certain times. This is to allow all taxis a chance at the lucrative business areas. It is especially difficult to get a taxi around 6:30pm, when taxi shifts switch and drivers need to return their cars.

See

Buildings

Yuantong Temple

Yuantong Temple (圆通寺; Yuántōngsì), (At the foot of Yuantong Hill in the northern part of Kunming).  edit

With a history of more than 1,200 years, Yuantong Temple is the grandest and most important Buddhist temple in Yunnan Province. King Yimouxun of the Nanzhao Kingdom built the temple in late eighth century. The restorations from the Qing Dynasty onward has not changed the unique mixed architectural style of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties.

Unlike all other Buddhist temples, you enter Yuantong Temple from above and descend along a gently sloping garden path. A memorial archway with four Chinese characters is standing halfway. The temple complex is built around Yuantong Hall, which is surrounded by a very large pond. A delicate stone bridge which has an elegant octagonal pavilion stands in the center and connects the hall and the temple entrance. The pavilion is connected to the rest of the complex by various bridges and walkways.

Sakymuni, Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha, all Yuan Dynasty statues, are found in the main hall. The surrounding 500 Buddhist Arhats which are carved in the walls are noted for their perfect proportions and lively appearances. Also in this temple hall are two ten meter high pillars from the Ming Dynasty that are each engraved with a dragon trying to extend their bodies and claws into the air. Outside, on each side of the main hall, there are stone staircases carved out of the mountainside and wind their way to the top of the hill. There are ancient inscriptions along the way and various stone artworks considered the most important historical relics in Kunming. From the top of the stairs, you are presented with a terrific panoramic view of the entire complex. In 1982, Thai Buddhists sent a 3.5 meter copper statue of Sakymuni, which is now placed in the Copper Buddha Hall combining Chinese and Tai styles.

Surrounding the temple pond are a series of halls where you will find old women praying, people sitting and chatting, ongoing classes in Buddhist scriptures, a magnificent calligraphy studio, an exhibit of temple photographs, a temple shop, a restaurant, and more.

Yuantong Temple is a working temple that also represents the Buddhism of China today. Buddhists from around the world come here on pilgrimages to pay homage, there are special Buddhist services two times each month, and the Buddhist Association of Yunnan Province is located here. Yuantong Temple plays a very important role in history and in the modern world.

Tanhua Temple

Tanhua Temple (昙华寺; Tánhuàsì; also known as Taohu Nunnery), Guangming Road, Panlong District (盘龙区光明路; Pánlóngqū Guāngmínglù) (At the foot of Tuiying Mountain in the eastern outskirts of Kunming City, about 4km from the city centre), +86 871 3857297‎. Free.  edit

Built in 1634. According to historical records, before the temple was erected, there had been a thatched shack where Shi Shiqiao, a scholar of the Ming Dynasty, buried himself in books. Shi Tai, grandson of Shi Shiqiao, donated the estate for the shack whereon the temple was built.

In the backyard there was an epiphyllum tree, which is called tanhua in Chinese, hence the name. The temple went through many renovations during the Qing Dynasty. It is well-known for its flowers and plants. It has been a scenic spot for more than three hundred years, and an epitome of Kunming, the Flower City of the Southern Frontier. The epiphyllum tree was planted in the side court of the depository of Buddhist Scriptures. There is a stone tablet on which four characters are carved The Epiphyllum Brings Luck. After the erection of the temple, the original epiphyllum withered and died. The epiphyllum now standing taller than the eaves of the temple sprang from the root of the original one at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, and is about three hundred years old. It bursts into flowers in mid-summer. The big loquat tree in the backyard is said to have been planted in the early Ming Dynasty.

In the South Garden there are flowers and rockeries with winding paths among the flowers and the zigzagging corridor surround the Lotus Pond, where you can watch fish. The East Garden is shaded by tall cedars and cypresses and include seven smaller gardens and a Children's Playground.

In recent years, the old temple has resumed its original grandeur. It has become one of the most famous scenic spots in Kunming.

Other buildings

  • Daguan Pavilion (大观楼; Dàguānlóu; lit. Grand View Pavilion), (Inside Daguan Park (大观公园; Dàguān Gōngyuán)). Daguan Park in the western part of Kunming races the Dianchi Lake in the south and the Western Mountains in the west. The pavilion, with a history of more than three hundred years, is a three-floor square structure with flying eaves and golden-lacquered ornamentation. The top floor of the pavilion provides an all-embracing view of the vast Dianchi Lake and the peaks of the Western Mountains. A 180 character couplet is hanging down the pavilion, which is lauded as the number one couplet past and present. The Park is the most fascinating garden in urban Kunming.  edit
  • Qiongzhu Temple (筇竹寺; Qióngzhúsì; lit. Bamboo Temple), Yu'an Mountain, Xishan District (西山区玉案山; Xīshānqū Yùànshān). An amazing work of art hidden in a temple a mile or two up the mountains encircling Kunming. A mixture of life-like figures in totally fantastical positions (man whose eyebrows grow down to the floor, monks ridding giant fish), this is some trippy artwork that is worth the trip. ¥10.  edit
  • Kunming Zoology Museum (昆明动物博物馆; Kūnmíng Dòngwù Bówùguǎn), 32 Jiaochang East Road (教场东路32号; Jiāochángdōnglù) (Situated in the north of Kunming between the first and second ringroads, approximately 600 metres directly west of the Carrefore supermarket at the intersection of Longquan Road and Baiyun Road. Bus routes 4 and 92 (route 4 terminates just around the corner) run close to the museum, alternatively take routes 9, 55, 59, 74 or 96 to the Carrefore and walk from there.), +86 871 5130101, [1]. Anybody interested in Yunnan's animals through the ages could spend a couple of hours here. The museum is adjacent to, and indeed shares a compound with, a university science campus. The exhibits are arranged on five floors starting with dinosoars, fossils and skeletons on the ground floor and working up to a tropical rain forest replica on the uppermost floor. There are sections with preserved fish and amphibians, stuffed animals and preserved insects. The exhibits seem to concentrate on creatures that are, or were, to be found in Yunnan. Most exhibits are labelled in English and Chinese but the longer explanations and information boards are generally Chinese only. Overall it is a pleasant, clean, museum with the exhibits well presented and usually well lit. It is not really an interactive museum; there is plenty to point at and peer at but not much to do. There is a small table offering momentos for sale but otherwise no shop. Nor is there any onsite catering. ¥80 Yuan (September 2008).  edit
  • Yunnan Railway Museum (云南铁路博物馆; Yúnnán Tiělù Bówùguǎn), Kunming North Railway Station, 913 Beijing Road, Panlong District (盘龙区北京路913号火车北站; Pánlóngqū Běijīnglù Huǒchēběizhàn) (Section 1 is in the main railway station building, Section 2 is 500 metres to the east of the railway station), +86 871 6138610, [2]. This is a smallish museum dedicated to the various narrow gauge railways constructed to link Yunnan with other places. These railways were brought into existence principally through French-Chinese collaboration but the equipment originated in various countries. The museum is in two sections: The first contains maps, documents, models, information boards and small artifacts. The information boards and artifact labels are generally in Chinese and English, but many of the copies of original documents and annotated drawings are in French and Chinese. The second section of the museum houses various locomotives and rolling stock. Non-commercial photography is permitted but, as both sections of the museum are poorly lit, a tripod might be useful. Railway enthusiasts can probably browse contentedly for an hour or two but small children and people with no interest in history or railways might find 15 minutes to be more than long enough. Adults ¥10, children ¥5, one ticket provided access to both sections.  edit
  • Yunnan Provincial Museum (云南省博物馆; Yúnnánshěng Bówùguǎn), 118 Wuyi Road, Wuhua District (五华区五一路118号; Wǔhuáqū Wǔyīlù) (Quite central, situated on the southern side of the junction of Dongfeng West Road (东风西路) and Wuyi Road, bus routes 26, 52, 66, 73, 95, 98 and 100 all stop nearby), +86 871 6179536, 6179528, [3]. 9:30AM-5:30PM, closed Monday. A smallish museum containing artifacts from the past 2,500 years. The items are presented quite and are reasonably well lit. For persons who are particularly interested in history one and a half hours might be sufficient. Descriptions are given in Chinese and English. Occasionally, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions on the ground floor. The permanent exhibitions are on the two upper floors, access by stairs only. Adults ¥10, students ¥5.  edit
  • Kunming City Museum (昆明市博物馆; Kūnmíngshì Bówùguǎn), 71 Ta East Road, Guandu District (官渡区拓东路71号; Guāndùqū Tàdōnglù), +86 871 3153310. A simple museum whose main attraction is a central pillar taken from an old temple (now destroyed) and other relics from the Dian Kingdom (a tribute state of the Western Song dynasty). A large part of the museum is taken up by a series of shops selling fossils/minerals (many of the fossils are fakes) plus overpriced Chinese paintings, textiles, porcelains and some furniture. Free, including af tour.  edit
  • Kunming flower and bird market (昆明花鸟市场; Kūnmíng Huāniǎo Shìchǎng), (Very central and situated within the area bounded by Dongfeng West Road (东风西路) to the south, Wuyi Road (五一路) to the west, Renmin West Road (人民西路) to the north and Zhengyi Road (正义路) to the east). If purchasing cute little puppy dogs, live crickets, birds, live bird food, tortoises and other things creepy, crawly and/or fluffy is your thing then it is here to be had ... along with a few flowers and a great many trinkets. The most obvious stalls begin where Wuyi Road meets Dongfeng West Road but other sellers can be found on other streets within the district.  edit
  • Kunming Zoo (昆明动物园; Kūnmíng Dòngwùyuán), (A few hundred metres north east of Green Lake, a few hundred metres east of Yunnan University, buses 101, 92, 95 to south side, buses 4, 22, 59. 74, 83 to north entrance), +86 871 5154546. The Zoo was built in 1953 and has over 300 species. There is a peacock garden, butterfly enclosure, avery and aquarium. In spring the zoo is reputed to be a sea of flowers, in particular the blossom of cherry trees and weeping Chinese crabapple trees. Overall the zoo is a pleasant enough place but with a slight air of weariness and decay about it. Local people also use it as a place for performing exercise or playing cards and mahjong. ¥10 with further ¥3 for the butterfly and peacock park.  edit
  • Kunming Botanical Gardens (昆明植物所; Kūnmíng Zhíwùsuǒ), [4]. These gardens are 12km from Kunming proper and, together with the Black Dragon Park, constitute a national scenic area. The gardens have introduced precious flowers, traditional medicinal herbs, important trees and endangered plants of the province. Also they have cultivated many plants for domestication and the protection of their migration. The gardens have collected some 4,000 species of plants and established 10 special plant gardens and experimental districts. The camellia garden is unique in the country and has collected 40 spucles of camellias. Yunnan Province boasts more than 100 species of camellia. These gardens were one of the earlies gardens to collect the cedar.  edit
  • Karst Topography.  edit
  • Dianchi (滇池湖; Diānchíhú; also known as Kunming Lake, Kunming Pond, and Southern Lake of Yunnan in ancient times). Plateau lake with beautiful scenery. The lake is 40 by 8 kilometers and is 1,886 meters above sea level. The lake water and the sky seem joining mutually like a city sea, dense mist and rolling water are on the surface of the lake, and sails are strolling above the water. It claims to be a pearl on the Yungui Plateau. It is the largest lake in Kunming. The west side of the lake is the mountain forest, while on the east side are lands dotted with the fisheries and agribusinesses. Traditional fishing boats still sail on the lake. The most beautiful view appears at dawn and sunset. The ocean-like lake is the best place to go for those people who wish to get away from the bustling city and be close to the nature.  edit
  • Green Lake Park (翠湖公园, Cuìhú Gōngyuán), (Located near Yunnan University in the north western part of town). A pleasant, smallish expanse of park and lake that serves as a mellow hang-out. Musicians sometimes practice along the paths. Plenty of goldfish and lotus plants can be seen. In the mornings it is a popular place for people to perform their morning exercises. During December and January many seaguls arrive in the region and in the mornings many people feed the birds or photograph them as they swoop past to catch the thrown food. There are a number of restaurants and tea shops near the lake and the northern edge is close to Wenlin Street where there are many restaurants. Free.  edit
  • Yunnan Nationalities Village (云南民族村; Yúnnán Mínzúcūn), 1310 Dianchi Road (滇池路1310号; Diānchílù), [5]. 9AM-6:30PM. Expensive and basically a minority Disneyland, this tourist attraction highlights how the Han Chinese view their minority citizens as ethinic sideshows. Tromp around and see faked architecture of various Yunnan minorities. If you do not have time to get outside of Kunming, this might be your best bet to experience the province's minority culture. Otherwise, do not bother, just hang out in the real thing in Xishuangbanna or in the northwest. ¥70.  edit
  • Jindian Park (昆明金殿公园; Kūnmíng Jīndiàn Gōngyuán; lit. Kunming Golden Temple Park), (On Mingfeng Mountain, seven kilometers northeast of Kunming, a taxi is around ¥20 and takes 30 minutes, bus 10 goes there as well), 8. 8AM-7PM. The park, sprawling for more than 133.3 hectares on the Mingfeng Mountain, is a national forest reserve comprising natural scenery mingled with sites of historical interest and man-made gardens. Some 12% of the surface are lakes or ponds. On the Mingfeng Mountain stands the exquisite and serene Golden Temple, 6.7 meters in height and 7.8 meters in width, and cast of 250 tons of solid bronze. It is the largest bronze hall in China. A day ticket purchased at the Southern gate of what is now known as the ''World Horti-Expo Garden'' is ¥100 (June 2008).  edit
  • Western Mountain Forest Reserve. The forest reserve on the west bank of the Dianchi Lake consists of the Huating, Taihua and Luohan Mountains, which extend for more than 40 kilometers at an altitude of 2,500 meters. This is a colossal natural forest reserve, its lofty chain of mountains crisscrossed by gurgling brooks and streams. Ancient trees heap up rich piles of foliage, and birds warble and flutter in the midst of fragrant flowers. Viewed from the southeast corner of Kunming, the entire forest reserve looks like a beautiful maiden reclining leisurely by the Dianchi Lake, her long hair quivering in the limpid water. Hence the nickname of the Western Mountains Forest Reserve, Sleeping Beauty. Dragon Gate (Longmen) is built on the steep rock hills, the carved stone Dragon Gate consists of the major part, which was cut in the years from 178l. No tourist can but be astonished at such elegant carving on such precipitous hills. On March 3, every lunar year, hundreds of Kunming people crowd up to the hills for celebrating their traditional distinguished gathering called Spring Touring, dancing and singing on the green western hills.  edit
The stone forest near Kunming
The stone forest near Kunming
  • Stone Forest (石林; Shílín), About 2 hours by bus from Kunming, luxury buses depart regularly from east side of Kunming main railway station, ¥26 to Stone Forest, other buses may charge ¥90 for the same trip, if one of the touts working in front of the train station assist you to find your bus their ¥10 commission will be added to your fare, [6]. This is a UNESCO listed site of remarkable Karst geography. Good weekend trip and lots to see. It is not possible to change currency at the sole local bank and their ATM often does not work. Very good Youth Hostel (¥160 for doubles) or can get room at Stone Forest Hotel (inside the nature reserve) for ¥200 for good a/c double room (including horrible breakfast). Local restaurants are pricy but noodle shop in main street has great food from ¥3 per bowl. Entry is a little pricy at ¥140 per person per day but you can get an annual pass for ¥160 for unlimited entry to the Stone Forest and four other nature reserves.  edit
  • Jiuxiang Scenic Area (昆明九乡风景区; Kūnmíng Jiǔxiāng Fēngjǐngqū). This scenic area is 20 sq km and includes five tourist attractions, Diehong Bridge (5km southeast from Jiuxiang Street, famous for the karst caves, the twin waterfalls and the huge natural stone dam cluster), Dasha Dam (consisting of picturesque karst caves and thick forest), Sanjiao Cave (5km north of Jiuxiang Street, famous for the karst caves), Alu Long [a scenic area 6km west of Jiuxiang Street, famous for the excavated Yi Nationality cliff paintings of Qin (221BC-206BC) and Han (206BC-220AD) dynasties] and Mingyue (meaning the bright moon) Lake. Jiuxiang is known as the museum of karst caves, which boasts its caves as the largest in scale and number (there are about a hundred karst caves) and has the most wonderful in-cave scenes in China. The caves in Jiuxiang fall into four cave clusters: Sanjiao Cave, Dashang Cave, Diehong Cave and Dasha Dam Cave. 66 out of the numerous caves in the area are profitably exploitable and the karst cave cluster is the largest of its kind on Yunnan-Guizhou plateau. The caves in the area are praised for their grandeur, wonder grotesquerie and natural beauty. Jiuxiang, the birthplace of the aboriginal Yi ethnic people, has a strong minority custom color, a long cultural history, and widely spread old myths and tales. These include Hunting Festival, the Worship the White Dragon Festival, Love Song Contest, Bullfighting, Wrestling, Sanxian Dance (Sanxian is a three-stringed plucked instrument), Rattle Stick Dance and so on. Tourists should take enough clothes since they may get wet in boats when they visit the karst caves and the gorges. The folk songs and dances and the local food are also special. What is more, Yangzonghai Lake Scenic Spot and Little White Dragon Forest Park are not far from Jiuxiang Scenic Spot. Tourists can take buses at the gate of the Jiuxiang to go there.  edit
  • Kunming Art Theater, Dongfeng West Road (五华区东风西路; Wǔ​huá​qū​ Dōng​fēng​xī​lù​) (Buses 10, 26, 52 and 82).  edit
  • Kunming Theater (昆明剧院; Kūnmíngyuàn), 409 Qingnian Road (青年路409号; Qīng​nián​lù​).  edit
  • Sunshine Golf Club (昆明阳光高尔夫俱乐部), (Kunming-Qujing Highway, 6km), +86 871 8288999 (, fax: +86 871 8288618, 8288619), [7].  edit
  • China Kunming International Art Festival. Three weeks in April/May. Annual festival with music, dance and art.  edit
  • Outdoor Equipment. As elsewhere in bigger cities close to mountainous regions, you can buy fairly good quality fake and overrun outdoor and camping gear in Kunming. Shops can be found in a courtyard at 20 Dongfeng East Road and on Baoshan Street close to the central square, as well as in the enormous garment district on the South Ring Road between the moat and Carrefour shopping centre (check basement and top stories, no self-respecting counterfeit vendor would sell on the mainfloor of a building). Bargain hard.  edit
  • Local minority souvenirs, jade, and Chinese games, Flower and bird market (Refer to See Section for directions).   edit
  • Mandarin Bookstore, 52 Wenhua Lane 9-10 (End of Wenlin Road, past the Police Station and turn Right). Has some English, French and German books available for sale. Also has the Lonely Planet China guidebook (a relative rarity for sale within China itself) for ¥330 (less a 15% discount as at May '09).  edit

Eat

Local specialties include:

  • Over-the-Bridge Rice Noodles (过桥米线; guoqiao mixian) is a typical Yunnan local flavor that could only be tasted in some parts of Yunnan. The Over the Bridge Rice Noodles has along history and it carries with itself a vivid love story. This famous dish consists of several courses and a big bowl of chicken soup with very thick oil on top to keep the heat for cooking the food items, including raw pork, cooked chicken pieces, pork liver, slices of squid and slices of carp for the first course to be dipped into the boiling hot soup. Vegetables are then added afterwards as the second course, and the rice noodles follow as the last course. It is a kind of snack food in Yunnan . Surely enough , you are eager to have a taste of Yunnan Over the Bridge Rice Noodles.
  • Steam Potted Chicken with Tienchi & Steam Potted Chicken with Cordyceps used to be made in a restaurant famous for this course. Later they created a new variety with gastrodia tuber in the soup, becoming one of the well known local nutritious dishes in Kunming. Early in the Qianlong Era of the Qing Dynasty, the steam potted chicken became popular among the common people. Jianshui County has a long history in producing the best pottery ware in Yunnan. Pots produced in this county has different shapes and forms. The steam pot has a hollow tube fixed in the center, up to the height of the pot. Food including the raw chicken pieces, ginger, salt and so forth are put around the tube and the pot is placed onto a bigger pot with boiling water underneath. Steam will come up from the small hole in the middle to heat the food in the pot. The Chicken will be ready about three or four hours. The same method is used to cook other food and will increase the flavor of the dish.
  • Yiliang Roasted Duck - The "Goujie Roasted Duck" produced in the Goujie Street of Yiliang is extraordinarily delicious, with the crispy and yellowish skin, soft and tender duck meat, has a special slight flavor of pine needles.
  • Xuanwei Ham dates back to 1727. Xuanwei ham won a prize at the Panama Fair in 1915. In 1923, Mr. Sun Zhongshan wrote an inscription "Yin He Shi De" (which means "eat properly for a sound mind") for Xuanwei ham and taste it at a food competition held in Guangzhou. Xuanwei ham has been selling well to Southeastern Asia and European countries. As a rule, the Xuanwei ham is processed during the winter. Select the best pork leg and press out the pork blood completely. Rub it with salt and smoke or air it dry after the salt permeates to a certain depth of the pork. Try to test the pork leg in three when the surface of the pork turn in green. The quality standard is to have the ham fragrance from three needles punched in the pork. Cut the ham open from the middle, it looks bright in color and has a clean fresh color. It can be preserved well in cellar with low moisture or in a warehouse with good air conditioning. Xuanwei ham can be bought from any big or small stores. If not convenient for travelling, it is possible to by canned Xuanwei ham.
  • Sweet Tonghai Peapowder Candy is a famous traditional snack. It is very easy to get it from any store and shopping stand. The ingredients of the sweet Tonghai Peapowder Candy is made of quality white sugar, rice cerealose, and roasted peapowder(broad bean or pea).
  • Qujing Pickled Chives Flower was first produced in the Guanxu Year of the Qing Dynasty. Main ingredients include chives flower, salt, wine, chili, and brown sugar.
  • Sweet Pickled Kaiyuan Chinese Onion - Kaiyuan is a place in the south Yunnan and it is famous for its delicious sweet pickled Chinese onion. It is made of the Chinese onion, salt, chili, brown sugar, wine. After being sealed in a jar for three months, it is ready. It tastes crispy and slightly sweet.
  • Smoked Smelly Bean Curd is one of the popular snacks found in the night snack market in Kunming. Quality Bean Curd is used as the raw material and it is smoked over a charcoal fire. If you have chance to be at the night snack market in Kunming, remember to experience it yourself.
  • The Eight Treasures of Yunnan - Of all the well-known Yunnan cakes, the Eight Treasures of Yunnan comes first. It is packed in eight small pieces. It consists of one hard-skin cake, a ham-stuffed moon part, two crispy white parts stuffed with puree and two crispy parts stuffed with sesame, peanuts, mushroom and rutabaga pickle.
  • Wild Mushrooms (菌子 junzi)
  • Old lady potatoes with peppers and fennel (老奶洋芋 laonai yangyu)
  • Fried goats cheese (rubing), sometimes served with sugar or black pepper and salt. On the street, girls dressed in Dali minority costumes offer rubing with Hershey's chocolate, rose flavor, and condensed milk. Occasionally mixed in with green beans.
  • Local barbeque - at night , steet vendors set up charcoal grills to barbeque potatoes, zucchinis, pork, chicken, beef on skewers - all sprinkled liberally with powdered local chili. The taste is excellent & incredibly spicy - typically pay ¥1-2 per skewer for a great street meal.
  • Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐 chòu dòufu) - although not strictly a local specialty, this is a favorite among Chinese everywhere. Although it is certainly an acquired taste, it should not be missed.
  • Muslim vendors can be found hawking granola-bar type snacks in the older part of town north of the train station. A tough but tasty treat sold by the kilo, the vendor will chop a piece off a huge nut- and honey-filled cake, and make bars or squares as you like.

Many restaurants in Kunming offer localized food delivery. One particularly convenient restaurant delivery service in Kunming is called Lazy Bones Home Delivery. They deliver food for restaurants like Daddy’s Diner all over Kunming. Unfortunately they charge a small fee. You can find them on the web or call ☎532 2515

  • Heavenly Manna (吗哪; Mǎnǎ), 74 Wenhua Alley, Wenlin Street (文林街文化巷74号; Wénlínjiē Wénhuàxiàng) (Next to Salvadors), +86 871 5369399. Yunnan style restaurant. Fantastic food at low prices. Even the drinks are reasonably priced (less than ¥10). Despite this being a Chinese restaurant, the cakes are also worth trying.  edit

Mid-range

Chinese

The Vegetarian Restaurant is located a few doors to the left of the Kunming Zoo main entrance on Yuan Tong Lu, serves somewhat pricey imitation meat dishes from a 1,500 year-old tradition. Dishes range from ¥3.5 to ¥98. The crispy "duck" is especially good.

Western

  • Daddy's Diner (父亲的西餐馆; Fùqīn de Cānguǎn), Store 58, Taiyang Xincheng, Longquan Lu (龙泉路泰暘欣城58号商铺; Lóngquánlù Tàiyángxīnchéng) (At the corner of Longquan Road and North Erhuan Road in the new tall orange and white apartment complex Taiyang Xincheng next to the University of Finance and Economics (财经大学), any taxi driver can take you there, and bus routes 9, 74, 84, 114, 115, 129, and 168 also all stop nearby at Caimao Xueyuan (财贸学院)), +86 871 5844511. Closed on Mondays. New restaurant serving American and Mexican food. The food is inexpensive and pretty good quality and they offer free Wi-Fi access.  edit

In the Kunming Flower and Bird Market, there is a great pizzeria set in a Qing dynasty courtyard house. The prices are more expensive than eating local dishes, but the atmosphere and quality of the food are outstanding. To find it, head to the flower and bird market and as you walk round, keep your eyes peeled for their sign above the stalls.

Along Wenlin Jie there are many Western cafes and restaurants. This street is commonly known as Western Street and the taxi drivers know it well! These cafes include:

  • Salvadors, (Near the intersection of Wenhua Alley and Wenlin Street), [8]. Wide variety of western food and imported beer. They make excellent ice cream. A local favorite.  edit
  • French Cafe.  edit
  • Prague Cafe. Has a variety of meals including Japanese and Western. While this place largely remains a Chinese hangout, several foreigners looking for a quieter lunch or place to study Chinese can be seen. The staff are friendly and the coffee is probably second best in the area.  edit

Drink

Several western-style retro-bars can be found on Tuo East Road east of Bailong Road, and catering mostly to a local clientèle afford an opportunity to mingle with locals.

Other bars include:

  • Shelter Bar (防空洞酒吧; Fángkōngdòng Jiǔbā), 295 Yuantong East Road (圆通东路295号; Yuántōngdōnglù) (Near the back entrance of the Zoo, north side of Yuantong Mountain). The bar is unique. Entering through the doors, there is a jazzy scene with plenty of comfortable places to lounge. Sometimes they even have video games set up. But the thing that sets this bar apart from other bars lies through the doors next to the bar. Passing through them, you go down some steps about six feet and enter through three doors, each of them three inches thick. This second bar and dance floor lie about 10-20 feet beneath the Zoo in an old bomb shelter build in the 70's when Mao was frightened by the prospect of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Try to make yourself heard over the blaring music as large, ominous ventilation pipes hang over you. It is is not the best place to hang out, but you have to see it at least once if you are in town.  edit
  • Freedom Bar, Renmin East Road (人民东路; Rénmíndōnglù) (A few blocks West of Beijing Road). A club and bar with dance music, a small dance floor, and plenty of alcohol. During happy hours foreigners are allowed three free drinks: either 3 whiskeys or 3 beers.  edit
  • Chapter One, 146 Wenlin Street, Wuhua District (五华区文林街146号; Wǔhuáqū Wénlínjiē) (Buses 1, 85, 98, 100, 101, 125, 133, 139), +86 871 5365635, [9]. Always good for a Beer Lao, and free Wi-Fi access. You can also borrow books and DVDs from their lending library. This is currently Kunming's English-speaker's hangout. Also serves food, but you might want to go across the street to Prague for edibles. Beer or coffee from ¥10, cocktails ¥20-30; main dishes ¥15-35, pizzas a bit more.  edit
  • Speakeasy Bar (''; Shuōba), 445 Dongfeng West Road, Wuhua District (五华区东风西路445号; Wǔhuáqū Dōngfēngxīlù), +86 871 5327047 (). It is as dodgy as it sounds and just as great! THE place to be late on a Friday or Saturday night.  edit
  • Aoma Meili Pub (敖玛梅里餐厅; Áomǎ Méilǐ Cāntīng), 60 Dongfeng East Road (东风东路60号; Dōngfēngdōnglù) (Right by the Camellia Hotel), +86 871 3126036. This well-known western restaurant is undergoing some changes to be more of a bar. There are no other bars near the Camellia Hotel, so it is really nice! It is one of the few places with a Western bartender as well. He has lived in Yunnan for a few years, and is really good to get information from. He said he just started here, so as soon as he gets all the equipment he promised some great cocktails! Good food, nice atmosphere.  edit

Sleep

Budget

There are a number of so-so budget options around the Railway Station and along Beijing Road north of the railway station.

  • Golden Bridge Hotel (金桥大酒店; Jīnqiáo Dàjiǔdiàn), Railway Station South Square, Panling District (盘龙区火车南站广场; Pánlóngqū Huǒchēnánzhànguǎngchǎng) (Just outside the railway station to the left), +86 871 3532868. Not a bad option. From ¥40.  edit
  • Kunming Leshi Hotel (昆明乐仕宾馆; Kūnmíng Lèshì Bīnguǎn), 9 Nanba Road, Xishan District (西山区南坝路9号; Xīshānqū Nánbàlù), +86 871 3524196 (fax: +86 8713536598). Small rooms without internet access except for more expensive ones, which have internet access against surcharge. Chinese restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥168, discounted from ¥108, no breakfast available.  edit

Other budget options include:

  • Kinn One Hotel (京王酒店连锁(昆明南屏店); Jīngwáng Jiǔdiànliánsuǒ (Kūnmíngnánpíngdiàn)), 88 West Dongfeng Road, Wuhua District (五华区东风西路88号; Wǔhuáqū Dōngfēngxīlù) (Close to the centre of town, two minutes walk to the main pedestrianised area, easy to miss as it only has a small entrance onto the street with a lift), +86 871 6077555 (fax: +86 871 6179689). checkout: 1PM. A fairly new hotel. No english spoken at reception. Very clean, very good service, and the rooms on the north side of the building have a view over the bird market. Internet free in rooms (LAN connection), breakfast comes with room (in the restaurant on the 9th floor), and there is a laundry service available. From ¥120 for a double with en suite.  edit
  • Camellia Hotel (昆明茶花宾馆; Kūnmíng Cháhuā Bīnguǎn), 96 Dongfeng East Road, Panlong District (盘龙区东风东路; Pánlóngqū Dōngfēngdōnglù) (A few blocks east of Beijing Road), +86 871 3163000 ext. 6008 (, fax: +86 871 3147033), [10]. checkout: 2PM. A long standing relatively cheap hotel/hostel. Excellent breakfast. Rooms are clean, staff is polite and most speak excellent English. Showers, laundry, and somewhat pricey internet/business services are available. Laos maintains its consulate in the main building on the ground floor from which you can obtain visas. Dorms ¥30, doubles from ¥100 without breakfast.  edit
  • City Cafe & Hostel (Shàmén Chénshì Lǚguǎn), 78 Dongfeng East Road, Panlong District (盘龙区东风东路; Pánlóngqū Dōngfēngdōnglù) (Half a block west of Camelia Hotel on the north side of the street, off Dongfeng East Road), +86 871 3181644 (). A cafe, bar, and erstwhile guesthouse. Upon last inspection it was still renting rooms, however it has occasionally shut down for unknown reasons in the past. and vary in cleanliness. The staff is very nice, though very little English is spoken. There have been a couple complaints of dishonest behavior by the owner concerning the cafe. Doubles should go for about ¥20-30.  edit
  • The Hump Hostel (昆明驼峰客栈; Kūnmíng Tuófēng Kèzhàn), Jinmabiji Square, Jinbi Road (金马路金马碧鸡广场; Jīnmǎlù Jīnmǎbìjīguǎngchǎng) (Bus 3 from train/long distance bus station (7 stops)), +86 871 3640359 (), [11]. checkout: 12:00. This place is a cafe, bar and hostel. It is on the third floor and has a rooftop garden where you can have drinks while overlooking Jinbi Square. The staff speaks some English. Great selection of western style plates. Have pool table, DVDs and free wi-fi. Dorm ¥25, twins from ¥80.  edit
  • Yuntel Inns (Kunming Xinying Branch) (云之舍酒店连锁 (昆明新迎店); Yúnzhīshè Jiǔdiànliánsuǒ (Kūnmíng Xīnyíng Diàn)), 128 Wenyi Road, Xinying Neighborhood, Panlong District (盘龙区新迎小区文艺路128号; Pánlóngqū Xīnyíngxiǎoqū Wényìlù), +86 871 6078588 (fax: +86 871 3321118). Small rooms with free internet. No restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥188, discounted from ¥108, no breakfast available.  edit
  • '7 Days Inn (7天连锁酒店; 7Tiān Liánsuǒjiǔdiàn), Qingnian Road, +86 871 8098088. Very clean rooms with helpful, yet non-English speaking staff. Rooms with free internet. A free computer is also usually available in the lobby. The rooms come equipped with a satellite dish that covers channels from all over China (only one or two English channels). Because it is located in the city, do not be surprised to find no view from your window. Think Best Western. Doubles from ¥150.  edit
  • Spring City Star Hotel, 241 Baita Road, +86 871 6161666. Formerly known as Spring City Inn (and before that Yunnan Machinery Hotel). The hotel is in a quite courtyard off busy Baita Road, close to a secondary school. Fantastic value, exceptionally clean twin rooms, nice staff, a/c, breakfast included. For laundry service go just around the corner to the Aoma Meili Pub (10RMB/kg). No elevator in this four floor hotel. Free internet. Standard rooms with en suite bath are ¥138 (December 2008).  edit
  • Fairyland Hotel, (7 km from airport nearby Yuantong Temple), +86 871 6353777. Rooms with free internet. ¥180 with breakfast.  edit
  • New Era Apartments, 99 Dongfeng West Road (东风西路99号; Dōngfēngxīlù) (Pretty much in the city centre, near the underpass where Dongfeng West Road becomes Dongfeng East Road, there is no vehicle access to the hotel from Dongfeng West Road, in the same building as the New Era Hotel and seem to be related to the ''Fairyland Hotel'' but might or might not be run by the same company), +86 871 2364684 (fax: +86 871 3635308). En-suite rooms with double bed, sofa, mediocre TV, good cable internet access, approximately 30 square metres of space, well lit, nicely decorated, uncramped, clean and comfortable. A fridge and microwave might be provided in the room. The apartments do not occupy all the floors of the building so the single, somewhat overworked, lift does not stop at all floors but will often keep you waiting. Also the set of lifts in the main lobby of each floor do not stop at all, presumably because they are used by some other hotel in the same building. The rooms overlooking the square below can be noisy 9AM-10PM if some event is in progress in the square. Nearby are various eastern and western-style restaurants and fast food outlets, a very badly organised Carrefore supermarket, various retail plazas and small stores. Doubles ¥180-240 (August 2008), depending on length of stay and haggling skills.  edit
  • Grand Park Hotel, 20 Hong Hua Qiao, Wuhua District (五华区洪化桥; ) (20 minutes by car from Kunming International Airport), +86 871 5386688 (, fax: +86 871 5381189), [12]. Top business and leisure hotel with splendid view of Green Lake. 300 rooms and some duplex 2 bedroom suites.  edit
  • Green Lake Hotel, 6 Cuihu South Road (+86 871 5158888), (fax: +86 871 5153286), [13]. A modern, luxury hotel. The bar has a panoramic view of Green Lake Park, and private car tours of the area are also offered. 293 rooms.  edit
  • Kunming Hotel, Panlong District, +86 21 61226688 ext. 7800 (), [14]. Jin Jiang Hotels' flagship hotel, the four-star Kunming Hotel features highly business-oriented, but very luxurious rooms and meeting areas.  edit
  • Kai Wah Plaza International Hotel, 157 Beijing Road, +86 871 3562828 (fax: +86 871 3561818), [15]. A large, elegant hotel with glass lobby, panoramic views, and a shopping center next door. 555 rooms.  edit
  • Zhen Zhuang Ying Binguan, 514 Beijing Road, +86 871 3165869. A very beautiful hotel in a large garden, the Chinese president and other high-ranking officials stay here when in Yunnan, but not much English is spoken. 86 rooms.  edit
  • PSB - visa extentions, (On Baijing Road (Beijing Road) near Jinbi Road). M-F 9AM-noon, 1PM-5PM. It takes five working days to get the visa extension. Before it took only a half day to get the visa extension in Dali but now it also takes five working days at the police department in Xiaguan. (Nov.2009) ¥160.  edit

Visas for nearby countries can be obtained in Kunming.

  • Lao Consulate, (). This used to be on the first floor of the Camellia Hotel, 96 Dong Feng Road East, next to the Laotian Airlines office. They moved to their own building in September 2009.  edit
  • Myanmar Consulate, 96 Dong Feng Road, E (2nd floor, Camellia Hotel), +86 871 3177368.  edit
  • Royal Thai Consulate, 145 Dongfeng East Road (1st floor, South building, Kunming Hotel), +86 871 3168916, 3149296 ().  edit
  • Vietnamese Consulate, 1 No. 155 Beijing Road (No. 507, HongTa Mansion), +86 871 3522669 ().  edit
  • Cambodian Consulate, 172 Xinying Road (4th floor, Guanfang Hotel), +86 871 3317320.  edit

Stay safe

Kunming is located in an earthquake zone and the last earthquake happened in 2009.

There were some bomb incidents in 2008 including one in bus No.54 and one inside Salvadors' Coffee House.

There are lots of pick pockets in buses, so try to keep your bags safe.

There have also been reports of bag slashing in the commercial city center.

  • Visit the hot springs at Anning - 34 kms from Kunming.
  • The West Hills (西山 Xi Shan) provide a good view of the city and have a few ancient Daoist (Taoist) caves of sculptures. Take bus #5 West to the end of the route, then Bus #6 or a minibus. In total the trip should take no more than an hour and a half. From the #6 bus stop either take a minibus up to the main gate or walk about 3 hours. There is an entrance fee to the grottos (¥30).
  • Travel north to the old towns of Dali (4 hours) or Lijiang (8 hours), both very popular with foreign tourists. See Yunnan tourist trail for discussion.
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Noun

Singular
Kunming

Plural
-

Kunming

  1. A prefecture-level city in southwestern China; capital of Yunnan Province.

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