How to Plan a Kunming Tour
Kunming, well-known as the city of spring, is the political, economic, transportation and cultural center of Yunnan Province, also the provincial capital and the largest city in Yunnan. Kunming is the forefront and the portal that China facing Southeast Asia, South Asia and even the Middle East, southern Europe and Africa. Kunming is regarded as one of the top ten tourist destinations in China with its beautiful scenery, splendid historical sites and colorful ethnic customs. Located on a low latitude plateau, it has a spring-like climate all the year round. In particular, the lake Dianchi on the plateau regulates the temperature and humidity, making the air fresh, the sky clear, the sun bright and the flowers often bloom. If you don’t want to travel to the places where the weather is too hot or too cold, Kunming will be an ideal destination.
Choose a Gateway City
Choose a gateway city in China to take a flight or high-speed train to Kunming. You can start your tour from Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu and other cities to appreciate more about China’s charm. Or you can also fly from Taiwan, Hong Kong or cities in other countries like Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Hanoi, Dacca, Phnom Penh, Osaka, Singapore, Calcutta, Rangoon, Mandalay, Vientiane and Bangkok. Kunming is usually the first stop and the gateway city of Yunnan tour.
Make the Travel Duration Sure
Visit Kunming in One Day
If you only spend a day in Kunming, it is recommended to visit the highlights of Kunming including the Green Lake, Dianchi Lake, Birds and Flowers Market, Jinma Biji Archway, Nanping Street and Yuantong Temple. You can also spend the day exploring the Stone Forest, appreciating the beautiful scenery of Jiaozi Snow Mountain, photographing Dongchuan Red Land, the “color palette of God” or maybe enjoying the leisure time of playing golf and beautiful scenery of spring city golf and lake resort.
Travel Kunming in 2-3 days
For visiting Kunming in Yunnan, 2-3 days may be enough to visit the must-see attractions in Kunming.
What You Can Choose for 2-3 days Kunming Tour
- Western Hill & Dragon Gate
- Dianchi Lake
- Stone Forests
- Green Lake
- Dongchuan Red Land
- Nanping Street
- Flowers and Birds Market
- Jiaozi Snow Mountain
For 2-3 days Kunming tour, you can choose to visit the above mentioned attractions, part of them are inside the Kunming city and part are not too far from Kunming downtown. However, our 2-3 days tour packages combine Kunming with other destinations mainly Jianshui and Yuanyang.
Highlights of Kunming-Jianshui-Yuanyang Tour
- Visit Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces with gorgeous sunrise and sunset, experience the culture of Hani minority.
- Step into Jianshui Old Town and Tuanshan Village to explore different styles of Chinese traditional buildings.
- Experience the Confucius culture in Jianshui Confucius Temple;
- Be amazed at the stone scenery in the Stone Forest, the World Cultural Heritage.
- Stroll around the beautiful Green Lake.
2 Days Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Tour at a glance
2 Days Jianshui Ancient Architecture Tour from Kunming
2 Days Kunming Dongchuan Red Land and Jiaozi Snow Mountain Tour
3 Days Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Photography Tour from Kunming
3 Days Yuanyang Rice Terrace Photography Group Tour
3 Days Jianshui and Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Group Tour
Tour Kunming in 4-6 days
Adding 2-3 days for the Yunnan tour, you will get more options. You will have more chances to experience local culture in the ethnic villages, get to more places in Yunnan or have more leisure time.
What You Can Choose for 4-6 days Kunming Tour
- Visit the top attractions in Kunming, including Green Lake, Dianchi Lake, Western Hill & Dragon Gate, Nanping Street, Yuantong Temple, Flowers and Birds Market and so on.
- Go to visit the magnificent World Cultural Heritage – the Stone Forest.
- Visit Dongchuan Red Land, Luoping, Jianshui, Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces and start your photography tour.
- Go to Dali and Lijiang and start your Yunnan classic tour.
- Get to Pu’er and Xishuangbanna, start your tea culture tour.
- Join the ethnic festival celebration and visit ethnic villages to experience ethnic culture.
4 Days Best Kunming City Tour with The Stone Forest
5 Days Kunming Spring City and Luoping Rapeseed Flowers Photography Tour
5 Days Kunming and Dongchuan Red Land Tour
6 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang Tour
6 Days Kunming Yuanyang Jianshui Photography Tour with Honghe Hani Rice Terraces
6 Days Kunming and Chuxiong Torch Festival Celebration Tour
Visit Kunming in More Days
If you are planning a tour to Yunnan for more than 7 days, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-la Classic Tour is recommended. You can start your classic tour by high-speed bullet train or by flight. During the tour, you will:
- Visit the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La.
- Step into ethnic villages to meet colorful and mysterious ethnic cultures.
- Hiking along the Tiger Leaping Gorge to feel the grotesque and raging rapids of the magnificent gorge.
- Discover the ethnic culture of Yi, Bai, Naxi and Tibetan.
- Visit the famous attractions of Yunnan: Stone Forest, Dali Old Town, Three Pagodas, Erhai Lake, Lijiang Old Town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Songzanlin Monastery and Pudacuo National Park and the like.
8 Days Yunnan Classic Tour by High Speed Bullet Train
8 Days Yunnan Classic Tour by Flight
8 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La Overland Tour
8 Days Best Yunnan Small Group Tour-Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La
Super Deluxe 8 Days Yunnan Classic Tour with Aman Resort Lijiang and Banyan Tree Shangrila Experience
Except for the classic routes, other popular routes include Kunming-Pu’er-Xishuangbanna, Kunming-Jianshui-Yuanyang-Pu’er-Xishuangbanna, Kunming-Shilin-Luoping-Puzhehei-Bamei-Yanshan-Yuanyang-Jianshui-Kunming and the like.
7 Days Kunming, XishuangBanna and Puer Family Tour with Tropical Forest and Ethnic Culture Discovery
8 Days South Yunnan Ethnic Minority Discovery and Tropical Forest Photograph Tour
8 Days Deluxe Kunming, Shilin, Mile Jianshui Photo Tour with Yuanyang Rice Terraces and Fuxianhu Lake
11 Days Yunnan Spring Photograph Tour With Luoping Rapeseed Flowers, Bamei Village And Yuanyang Hani Rice Terrace Field
Read More: Kunming Tour
Make the Tour Theme Sure
Kunming tour involves many theme tours, such as Hiking Tour/Trekking Tour, Stone Forest Tour, Photography Tour, Tea Culture Tour, Golf Tour, Cycling Tour, City Tour, Ethnic Minority Discovery and Festival Tour, Muslim Tour, Student Education Tour, Winter Birding Tour and so on. Tour packages including Kunming range from one day to 46 days.
Kunming City Tour
City tour, just as the name implied, mainly visits in Kunming City. Sightseeing and activities are mainly inside Kunming city, including the Green Lake, Birds and Flowers Market, Jinma Biji Archway, Nanping Street, Yuantong Temple, East and West Pagodas and Dianchi Lake. It may also add the nearby attractions like Stone Forest.
Stone Forest Tour
Stone Forest is about 86 kilometers from Kunming city and requires 1.5-hours driving. If you only want to visit stone forest, one day is enough. And if you prefer, Jiuxiang cave and Dynamic Yunnan show can be added in your schedule.
Jiaozi Snow Mountain Tour(Hiking Tour)
Jiaozi Mountain, as the First Mountain in the middle of Yunnan, is situated on the border of Luquan County and Dongchuan District of Kunming City, the main peak is 4,223 meters above the sea level. In the spring and summer, countless Indian azaleas blossom out just like sea, the color of mountain meadows becomes gorgeous; when the winter comes, the mountain is covered with snow. Jiaozi Mountain is a great tourist attraction for hiking. Since it is not far from Dongchuan, a Dongchuan Red Land tour can be continued after the Jiaozi Snow Mountain Hiking. 2 days tour is worth.
Yunnan is blessed with numberous lakes, rivers and mountains. Dongchuan Red Land, Yuanyang Rice Terreaces and Luoping Rape Flowers attracts thousands of people at home and abroad to take the best pictures. Kunming photography tours will enable you to appreciate not only the amazing natural wonders and cultural treasures , but also the friendly and welcoming local people, as well as their cultures and traditions. It will be truly an unforgettable experience.
1. Dongchuan Red Land Photography
Dongchuan, a rural place in the Wumeng Mountainous area, about 180 km north of Kunming, becomes very famous among photographers for its red soil. Thus Dongchuan Red Land Tour is one of the famous photography tours in Yunnan. It can not be missed for photographers when travelling in Kunming. The most beautiful attractions of Dongchuan Red Land are Damakan, Qicaigou, Jinxiu Yuan, Luoxiagou, Yuepuao, Ancient Tree, Luosiwan, Shuipingzi, etc. Most of them are comparatively concentrated. Have a leisure walk on the red land, watch the sunset and sunrise view of the red land, and take photos of the colorful fields. For this tour, you could see the “color palette of God” yourself. Read more: Dongchuan Red Land Climate
2. Honghe Hani Rice Terraces Photography
Yuanyang Rice Terraces occupy over a hundred thousand square kilometers of land, and it is the masterpiece crafted by the Hani people over a period of 1300 years. For this tour, the main highlights will be the sunrise and sunset of Yuanyang Rice Terraces. Yuanyang is a very good place for photographers to shoot natural large-scale terraces, sunrise, sunset and clouds sea. The best time for Hani Rice Terraces photography tour is from November to March in the following year.
3. Luoping Rape Flower Photography
Luoping enjoys a mild and humid climate. It is dominated by karst features with small basins among independent green hills. It is not only an important producing county of the cole in China but also a national base for raising bees and for processing honey products. The rape flowers cover an area of 250,000 mu. Every year, from February to April, countless yellow rapeseed flowers are in full bloom, looking like an expanse of a golden sea. In this trip, you will enjoy the major sights include the Jiulong waterfall(nine dragons), the Duoyi River and the Lubuge Gorges. Read More: Luoping Rapeseed Flowers, Qujing
Surely, these three photography destinations can be packaged together, making the whole journey more colorful and unforgettable.
8 Days Yunnan Photography Tour with Dongchuan Red Land and Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces
11 Days Yunnan Photograph Tour with Luoping Rapeseed Flowers Festival and Honghe Hani Rice Terraces Field (Feb-March Available)
11 Days Yunnan Spring Photograph Tour With Luoping Rapeseed Flowers, Bamei Village And Yuanyang Hani Rice Terrace Field
Tea Culture Tour
What you have to taste when travelling in Yunnan is tea, especially Pu’er Tea and Dianhong Black Tea. If you prefer, you can start a special tea culture tour in Yunnan. When it comes to Tea culture tour, several places including Pu’er, Xishuangbanna, Lincang and Dali are frequently involved. Dianhong Black Tea and Pu’er Tea are two famous tea in Yunnan Province and China. For this tour, you can step into some famous tea plantations, tea factories and learn more about the history, development and tea-making process of Dianhong Black tea and Pu’er tea. At the same time, you will also visit must-see attractions in Kunming, Dali or Lijiang. Read More: Yunnan Tea Culture Tour
7 Days Kunming, Dali and Lijiang Tour with Dianhong Black Tea Culture Tour
7 Days Lincang Fengqing Dianhong Black Tea and Pu’er Organic Tea Tour
11 Days Yunnan Ancient Tea-Horse Road Tour with Puer and XishuangBanna Tea Culture Exploration
10 Days Best Yunnan Classic Tour with Dianhong Black Tea Culture Tour
11 Days Southwest Yunnan Dianhong Black Tea and Puer Tea Culture Tour
Kunming is the Spring city famous for its nice weather, which makes it one of the best destinations for playing golf all year around. Surrounded by mountains and beside the limpid lake, the Spring City Golf & Lake Resort is one of the most beautiful golf holiday resorts in the world, hence the name of the golf paradise in Asia. During the tour, you will enjoy the leisure time of playing golf and beautiful scenery of Spring City Golf and Lake Resort. After the tour, you can also visit the must-see attractions in Kunming such as Stone Forest and West Hill & Dragon Gate. Except for Kunming, Lijiang is another good choice for golf tour.
Ethnic Minority Discovery/Festival Tour
Yunnan has the largest number of ethnic population in China with 25 ethnic minorities including Bai, Yi, Dai, Naxi, Hani, Miao, Tibetan, Hui and Yao. A visit to Yunnan offers an unique and exciting experience of ethnic customs with more than 400 ethnic minorities festivals celebrated throughout the year. The ethnic minorities maintain their unique folk traditions and customs full of myths and celebrated the festivals by singing, dancing, paintings and playing the ancient music.
1. Torch Festival Celebration of Yi Minority
Deemed to be “the oriental carnival”, the Torch Festival is celebrated by several ethnic minorities including the Yi, Bai, Naxi, Jinuo and Lahu etc. Enjoying a long history as an important festival of these minorities, the festival exhibits quite profound cultural connotations. Although the origin of the festival is slightly different among these minorities, it takes place on lunar June 24 or 25. In Yunnan Province, Kunming, Chuxiong, Dali, Yuxi, Wenshan, Pu’er, Honghe, Lijiang and Zhaotong are the major areas for the Torch Festival as they are inhabited by the Yi or Bai people. Our torch festival tour usually involves Chuxiong and Shilin. In this tour, you will experience and understand the ethnic culture of Yi minority better. Join our Torch Festival Celebration tour and lost yourself in the joyful atmosphere of Torch Festival.
2. Cangyuan Monihei Carnival
“Monihei Carnival” (making you black) is a mud smearing carnival of the Wa ethnic group. It is originated from the folk custom that people smear the pot ash, ox blood and mud on their faces to frighten the evils and seek peace. The Monihei Carnival is held in late April or early May(usually April 29-May 1) each year in Cangyuan County, one of the only two Chinese Wa autonomous Counties in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. During Monihei Carnival, you can not only experience the joyful atmosphere which is full of ethnic features, but also appreciate the various natural and human scenery in Cangyuan. With pleasant weather, you can walk in the famous cliff painting valley and have a visit to Wending Village to discover the unique, extensive and profound culture of Wa minority.
3. New Rice Festival of Wa Ethnic Minority
New Rice Festival is one of the traditional festivals of the Wa ethnic minority. In the past, it used to be celebrated when the rice was ripe for harvest, and would last three days. During the festival, ladies would collect some rice from farmlands; dry and then husk them. Early next morning, the doors of the house would be closed to reject visitors and animals, and all the family members would stay at home enjoying the newly-harvested rice when eating, any waste wouldn’t be allowed. After the family finished, they would open the door and invite neighbors to enjoy the rice together.
In 1992, the local government of Menglian Dai, Lahu and Wa Autonomous County determined the festival as a mandatory holiday for the Wa and Lahu minorities, and the date has been confirmed during lunar August 13-15.
Other Festival tour packages:
3 Days Yi Ethnic Minority’s Hualian Festival Tour Held in Puzhehei
3 Days Yi Ethnic Minority’s Saizhuang Festival Tour
6 Days XishuangBanna Water Splashing Festival Celebration Tour
7 Days Honghe Hani Ethnic Minority’s Long Street Banquet Festival and Yuanyang Rice Terraces Photograph Tour
13 Days Yunnan Festival Tour in Spring
This kind of tour is designed for those who are interested in mosques and Muslim culture. Start a Muslim Tour in Yunnan to explore the Muslim culture during your trip. Yunnan Muslim Tours will help travelers to get around the most well-known Muslim sites in Yunnan and share their knowledge of Islam, dinning features and other aspects of Muslim culture. Our tours are carefully arranged for travelers to visit the ancient mosque, taste delicious Muslim food and explore the lifestyle there. In the meantime, you will not miss the famous attractions in your itinerary. Read More: Shadian Grand Mosque
5 Days Kunming Muslim Tour
6 Days Kunming and Qujing Muslim Culture Tour
6 Days Kunming Shadian Muslim Tour with Yuanyang Rice Terraces and Jianshui Old Town
6 Days Kunming and Zhaotong Muslim Culture Tour
Student Education Tour
For those who are interested in Chinese culture, especially interested in Yunnan culture, students education tour includes the special visiting to local schools and experience local life with ethnic people, which can help you to learn more about Yunnan ethnic culture and daily life of local people. Students will have chance to know about the local students’ study life by having classes, games etc. They will also have opportunity to learn how to make some handicrafts, visit some ancient architecture and well-known attractions, and experience beautiful nature by hiking. Our students education tours usually start from Kunming, Dali or Lijiang. Jianshui is also a good place to begin your education tour, where you can experience the Confucius culture at Jianshui Confucius Temple.
5 Days Kunming Ethnic Culture Education Tour
7 Days Lijiang Education Tour for International School Students
7 Days Yunnan Students Education and Family Tour with Ethnic Culture Experience
8 Days China Students Education Tour to Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces
9 Days Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La Education Course Tour
9 Days Yunnan Highlights Education Tour
More Students Education Tour
Winter Birding Tour
Dianchi Lake dam, Nianhu Lake Black-necked Crane Nature Reserve and Zhaotong Dashanbao Black-necked Cranes National Nature Reserve are always included in the winter birding tour in Yunnan. During this tour, tourists can have a view of diverse birds of Yunnan, especially red-beaked seagulls and Black-necked Crane. Seagull, another name: red-beaked gull, comes from cold Siberia. Indeed, Kunming has been an important destination for watching seagulls in winter in the southwest of China since the 1980s. Therefore, your tour will start from Kunming.
Most of Yunnan tour packages include Kunming, we can’t list all of them at a time. Read more about Kunming tour, contact us YunnanExploration by Email: contact@YunnanExploration.com or Telephone: +86-871-63511469. Our attentive consultants will arrange the tour packages you choose or customize a tour according to your need.
Know the Travel Tips
Best Time to Visit Kunming
Kunming belongs to the north subtropical low-latitude plateau mountain monsoon climate, with annual average temperature of 16.5 ℃, annual rainfall of 1450 mm and frost-free period of 278 days. As we mentioned, Kunming is spring-like all year round and suitable for traveling all the year round. However, the best time to travel to Kunming is from March to October. At that time, there are the most numerous celebrations of ethnic festivals, the fruit is ripe and flowers are in bloom.
Rainy Season: May to October
Crowded Season: Chinese Spring Festival(Late Jan. or early Feb.), Labor Day(May 1-3) and National Day(Oct. 1-7).
Read more: Kunming Climate
What to Eat in Kunming
Kunming has its unique eating culture, all kinds of food can stimulate your taste buds. One of the most famous, also the symbolic food of Yunnan Province, is Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodle(Guo Qiao Mi Xian in Chiese). Other popular foods, such as Steam-pot Chicken and Rice in Bamboo Tube, are also worth a try. In addition, you can try the Dai dishes, which tastes hot and sour.
Where to Stay in Kunming
How to Get in Kunming
Three popular ways to Kunming: airplane, high-speed train and long-distance bus.
1. By Flight
The Kunming Changshui International Airport currently opens 319 routes, including 275 domestic routes, 38 international routes and 6 regional routes, connecting 89 domestic cities, 3 regional cities, 26 international cities, such as Bangkok, Paris and San Francisco. Read more: Kunming Changshui International Airport Shuttle Bus Timetable
2. By High-speed Rail or Train
You can also go to Kunming by train, it’s convenient to take train to Kunming from many other cities in China.
Kunming South Railway Station(昆明南站), located in Wujiaying of Chenggong District in Kunming. It is a special station under the jurisdiction of China Railway Kunming Bureau Group Co., Ltd. and an important infrastructure for China’s “Belt and Road” program to radiate Southeast Asia. It is also an important transportation hub for the construction of the middle road network in Yunnan Province.
Kunming Railway Station(昆明火车站), located in Guandu District, Kunming City. It is under the jurisdiction of China Railway Kunming Bureau Group Co., Ltd., and it is the principal station. It is the operating start and stop station of Hu-Kunming Railway, Cheng-Kun Railway, Nan-Kun Railway . Kunming Station has 6 waiting stations and 12 tracks.
3. By Long-distance
There are 5 bus stations in Kunming, which is very convenient for your trip. Read more about Kunming Transportation.
Main Festivals in Kunming
Kunming is a typical multi-ethnic united city. Various ethnic minorities have created colorful festivals in Kunming. Some festivals include Golden Temple Fair(Jan. 9 in Chinese Lunar Calendar), Torch Festival of Yi Minority(June 24 in Chinese Lunar Calendar) and Water-splashing Festival of the Dai Minority(Around 11st of April).
Best Things to Do in Kunming
1. Visit the Most Popular Attractions inside Kunming
If you like mountaineering, Western Hill and Dragon Gate will be a perfect place for you when travelling in Kunming. Western Hills boasts an excellent environment with flourishing flowers and dense forest, providing tourists an excellent environment to enjoy the tranquility and marvelous scenery. Facing Kunming’s famous landmark Dianchi Lake, you can enjoy a great view on the Western Hill. Don’t miss the chance to experience the stone carving art at Dragon Gate.
If you like water, Dianchi Lake will be a good place to kill time. Dianchi Lake is located at the foot of the Western Hill and is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province. From November to January, it is the best time to watch thousands of black-headed seagulls gathering around Dianchi Lake. You can enjoy your leisure time at Haigeng Park and Baiyukou Park near Dianchi Lake.
If you are curious about ethnic culture, pay a visit to Yunnan Ethnic Village; If you are a flower lover, Flowers and Birds Market is suitable for you. Furthermore, there are many other places you can choose in Kunming, including the Green Lake, Nanping Street, Jinma Biji Archway, Yuantong Temple, Golden Temple and the like.
2. Nearby Attractions
Or maybe you would like to go somewhere near Kunming, experience magnificent stone forest, explore Jiuxiang Karst Cave, and even go to Luoping to enjoy the sea of rape flowers there.
The most dramatic of these attractions near Kunming City is the Stone Forest, known as the ‘First Wonder of the World’ since the Ming Dynasty. An old local saying says that “If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.” Obviously, ranking the first at its age, size and typical formation, the Stone Forest is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan. It takes 1.5 hours from Kunming for driving.
Jiuxiang Scenic spot has China’s largest karst cave group, with the most numerous and unique caves in various sizes.
Luoping, 228 kilometers from Kunming, is famous for its large-scale rape flowers. The best time to visit is from the late February to March.
Dongchuan, a rural place in the Wumeng Mountainous area, about 180 kilometers north of Kunming(3.5 hours), becomes very famous among photographers for its red soil. Dongchuan Red Land is known as “color palette of God”.
3. Watch Yunnan Impression Show
If you are interested in ethnic culture, you can go for watching a Yunnan impression Show. Dynamic Yunnan is a masterpiece of artistic work that spotlights the unique character of Yunnan. It is regarded as a milestone creation in Chinese stage and dance history. You can enjoy different ethnic dances and the most original songs through the show. This show lasts about 100 minutes.
Yunnan Art Theater云南艺术剧院
Address: 132 Dongfeng West Road, Kunming昆明东风西路132号
Mobile: 18087116007 (Chinese), 13114215023 (English)
Price: 520 CNY / 400 CNY/300 CNY / 220 CNY
Prepare for Kunming Tour
What to Know
1. Know some basic information about Kunming, Yunnan and China, which can help you understand the local culture well.
2. Learn some information about ethnic minorities in Yunnan in advance.
3. If you are interested, learn some basic Chinese words and phrases, which could help you communicate with the locals easily.
What to Take
1. Pay attention to keep warm in winter. Because of the relatively high altitude, the temperature difference is large between day and night in winter, it is suggested to bring the thick coat and windproof jacket. Except for winter, other seasons are usually warm. Remember to bring a jacket in spring and autumn and add clothes according to the change of temperature.
2. Pay attention to sun protection. Due to the strong solar radiation in the daytime, sun cream, sun hat, sunglasses and other sunscreen products will be needed.
3. Do remember to take the umbrella and rain gear in the rainy season, especially from May to October.
4. Bring some medicines in case of emergency, like cold medication and and medicines for a stomachache.
5. Don’t forget your Chinese visa and passport. If you will go further to Tibet, Tibet travel permit is also required.