Dragon Gate of Western Hills in Kunming

Introduction

The ultimate destination, literally on the edge of the cliff. Right below it is the Datian Pavilion one of the many stone grottoes carved into the hillside. These tunnels and caves can be quite cool, so you will understand why this area was a summer palace for royalty. If it’s not too crowded, spend a few minutes watching the joss sticks burning and the tourists reaching up to touch the arch for luck.

Dragon Gate Legend

As a Chinese idiom says, ‘Once you ascend Longmen (Dragon Gate), you would receive a sudden boost in your prestige’. Dragon Gate is a certain gorge on a river flanked by precipices and with a natural dam. If carps swimming upstream could jump over the dam, they would become dragons. The houses of powerful dignitaries were often compared to dragon gates; if a man could manage to be a guest in these houses, his future would be ensured.)

Attractions of Dragon Gate

The ultimate destination, literally on the edge of the cliff. Right below it is the Datian Pavilion, one of the many stone grottoes carved into the hillside. These tunnels and caves can be quite cool, so you will understand why this area was a summer palace for royalty. If it’s not too crowded, spend a few minutes watching the joss sticks burning and the tourists reaching up to touch the arch for luck.

Lingxu Pavillion: Once you exit Dragon Gate and head upwards (again), take the stone stairs and path to the Lingxu Pavillon even farther up the mountain. From there, you have the best views – and fewer tourists since it’s a bit of a grunt.

Nearby Attractions

Western Hill

Western Hills is called Xishan in Chinese, and it’s a scenic forest park located in the west suburb of Kunming, 15km to the city center, with the beautiful Dian Lake sitting on the east of it. Western Hill has always been reputed as the “top scenery in central Yunnan”. The whole scenic spot is made of several mountains, including Biji Mountain, Huating Mountain, Taihua Mountain, Luohan Mountain, etc. and they are reach out for over 40km, and the highest altitude is 2500m. Western Hill is a large forest park, and also a national scenic spot which perfectly combines the natural scenery with the cultural relics. Historic sites are surrounded by quiet and peaceful green forests, including the most famous Dragon Gate, and Huating Temple, Taihua Temple, San Qing Pavilion, etc. It’s a perfect place for walking and relaxing.

Taihua Temple(太华寺)

Taihua Temple gained its name for it is located on Taihua Hill. Originally built in the Yuan Dynasty (1206 – 1368), the temple is the oldest one in Western Hills. Daxiong Baodian Hall, Piaomiao Pavilion, Sizhao Hall are in the temple. The temple is famous for the beautiful rare flowers on the grounds. It is also a good place to watch the grand spectacle of the rising sun.

Sanqing Pavillion(三清阁)

Sanqing Pavilion is built on the cliff at Luohan Hill. Being over 300 meters (approximately 984 feet) above Dianchi Lake, the pavilion looks like a ‘castle in the air’. This temple has a Taoist influence, and ‘Sanqing’ in Taoism refers to the loftiest stature. The pavilion is a good place where you can not only visit the temples, but also enjoy a panoramic view of Dianchi Lake.

Huating Temple 

Huating Temple is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Yunnan Province. It had been destroyed and rebuilt several times most recently in 1923. Daxiong Baodian Hall, Tianwang Hall and Kwan-yin Hall are some of the features in the temple. In the temple you can see three golden Buddha figures with kindly expressions, 500 life-like arhats which are vivid just like real people, and golden figures of Laughing Buddha. Besides, there are abundant colored clay figures depicting vividly various images of mythical animals.

Best time to travel to Dragon Gate

The best time is from March to October, spring, summer and autumn is the suitable time to visit Dragon Gate.

How to get to there?

By Bus

There are many bus line can reach the Western Hill Forest Park. Tourists can take bus No.6, 94 to Su Family Village, or take bus No.33, 94 to Gaoxiao Village.

By Taxi

From Kunming Railway station, it will take about half an hour to Western Hill, 60 RMB or so.
From Changshui Airport, it will take about 1.5 hours, 120 RMB or so.
From downtown of Kunming, it will take about 40 Mins, 30 RMB or so.

And, from Yunnan Ethnic Village to Dragon Gate, there is cable car between Haigeng and the Western Hill, 50 RMB for round way, 30 RMB for one way.

How to Get Around?

Cable Car: In Haigeng Park which is next to Yunnan Nationalities Village, tourists can take the “Dian Lake – Dragon Gate” cable car to get to the lower cableway station of Dragon Gate (Park Service Center is here), and this is ¥35/person. This will take about half hour and tourists can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Dian Lake on the cable car. Then tourists can take cable car from there to get to the entrance of Dragon Gate – the upper cableway station, this is ¥25/person; or tourists can take battery car to the entrance, this will take ¥8/person. Travelers who love hiking can also walk to the entrance, and it’s only about 2km.

Travel Bus: After arriving at the parking lot of Western Hill, tourists can take the travel bus commuting between the entrance of Western Hill to the lower cableway station, and the ticket for the travel bus is ¥25/person, and the travel bus will make stops at Huating Temple and Taihua Temple. After getting to the lower cableway station, tourists can choose to take cable car, or battery car or walk to the Dragon Gate entrance.

Travel Route: Tourists can take cable car or travel bus to the Park Service Center (the lower cableway station), then take cable car to the upper cableway station, and walk down the mountain and visit the Dragon Gate and San Qing Pavilion on the way. After arriving at the Dragon Gate Entrance, take battery car to the Park Service Center, then take travel bus to get back and visit Taihua Temple and Huating Temple on the way. This is the most popular and relaxing way. For hike lovers, they can walk most of the journey.