Yuanyang terrace fields

Serving as the capital of Yunnan province – China, Kunming is located at an altitude of 1,894 above sea level, between two large plateaus, Yunnan and Guizhou, so this place is favored by nature. Besides, Kunming is a place with many beautiful scenery and a mild climate all year round, so it is increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination. So, where to go in Kunming? Let’s check out our top rated 15+ best places to visit in Kunming and Kunming attractions as follows!

Kunming city by Dianchi Lake | best places to visit in kunming
| best places to visit in kunming
Kunming dubded the Spring City | best places to visit in kunming

Kunming is the gateway to Yunnan province, where many of the city’s attractions fully reflect the tourism and ethnic cultural elements of the province. If mountain landscapes and ethnic minority cultures interest you, then definitely don’t miss any of the destinations that we will introduce below!

Ancient beauty of Kunming | best places to visit in kunming
Kunming is called the Spring City because its climate in all four seasons is similar to spring with many majestic and poetic mountain landscapes and unique indigenous culture. | best places to visit in kunming
Yunnan province location on the China map with its capital of Kunming | best places to visit in kunming

If you plan to travel to Kunming, don’t miss out our article below!

Dianchi Lake (#best places to visit in kunming)

About 2km southwest of Kunming center, Dianchi is a freshwater lake surrounded by massive limestone mountains, with an area of up to 300km2.

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This is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan province and its altitude is more than 1,800m above sea level and there are more than 20 rivers flowing into the lake. This is a place that attracts a large number of tourists because of its natural scenery of mountains and rivers and famous scenic spots.

Daguan pavillion | best places to visit in kunming

If you ask any Kunming person about Dianchi Lake, they will definitely be willing to introduce you to this “unique” famous tourist destination. This place is not only the pride of Kunming people but also a top favorite destination for domestic and foreign tourists when coming to Kunming.

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Dianchi Lake, also known as Kunming Lake, is the third largest natural freshwater lake in mainland China. Located in Xishan district and about 15km from Kunming city center, getting here is very easy. The lake is about 298km2 wide, this place is considered the kingdom of swans. Because every time winter comes, thousands of birds fly here to winter, creating a wonderful natural scene, rarely seen in a crowded city like China.

Therefore, if you love this bird and the majestic natural scenery in Kunming, book a flight to China immediately. Come here to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and immerse yourself in nature!

| best places to visit in kunming

If you have the opportunity to come to Yunnan province, you should not miss this place because it not only has a comfortable and pleasant atmosphere but also has beautiful photo spots. What could be better than being immersed in nature and enjoying some local food nearby, right? Come here and let us know how you feel when coming to Dianchi Lake!

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  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Opening hours: All day
  • How to get there: take bus number 24 or 44

Jinbi Archway

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Located in the middle of the Kunming center, about three blocks south of Nanping shopping street is Jinbi Square with two large Chinese arches – the Jinma and Jinbi (Golden Horse and Jade Rooster) memorial arches.

However, before reaching Nanping large square, you need to challenge your courage to cross the lane with crowded traffic. This is also a special point for foreign tourists coming here. If you come here at the right time, you can admire the speedy parade of two-three- and four-wheeled motor vehicles, not to mention the crowds of pedestrians passing through this street.

The arches are one of the unique structures to see when visiting Kunming. It was built during the Ming Dynasty and is up to 400 hundred years old. They are about 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with intricately carved and painted columns and beams.

How to get there: Take Bus No.3, 4, 90, 62 to Jinma Archway Station.

Yuantong Temple

| best places to visit in kunming

As one of Kunming’s most popular tourist attractions, Yuantong is a large Buddhist temple that attracts many people to worship and make pilgrimages every year. If you are a follower of Buddhism, or simply want to travel to enjoy and explore the places you have visited, you should visit this ancient temple. The peaceful scene here will definitely make you feel at peace after the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

| best places to visit in kunming

With a history of over 1,200 years old, Yuantong Temple is a complex built over many centuries. There is a small lake surrounded by buildings and a small temple in the center connected by beautiful arc-shaped bridges.

Despite the noisy traffic outside, Yuantong Temple still retains its peaceful beauty inside. Perhaps the quiet scene here can only be interrupted by the sound of the monks in the temple banging and chanting sutras. There is also a building behind the main area, if you are lucky you will be able to see the monks tending their garden in front.

| best places to visit in kunming
  • Address: 30 Yuantong St, Wuhua District, Kunming, Yunnan, China, 650091
  • Entrance fee: 8 CYN
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 17:00
  • How to get here: take bus number 4, 59, 74, 83 or 101 to Yuantong mountain station

Cuihu Green Lake Park

After visiting Yuantong Temple, visitors can stroll in the green lake park not far away. This is the largest city park in Kunming. There are many bridges and paths that allow visitors to walk and admire the scenery around the lake.

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Initially, this was just a water reservoir for the city, you can see there is still a small water pumping plant next to the lake, but later this place was developed into a destination for tourists and locals to enjoy. If you come here on a weekend morning, you will meet many locals who come here to exercise.

| best places to visit in kunming

This is another quiet place in Kunming, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Come here to enjoy a vacation after days burying yourself in work, maybe you will love this land more!

| best places to visit in kunming

Kunming Old Town (#best places to visit in kunming)

The old town of each city is always the top destination to attract tourists, because this is the place that contains and preserves the traditional cultural beauty of a city, a country, and Kunming old town is the same.

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The local government here has shown efforts to preserve the ancient beauty of this street through many different measures. If you come here, you can see street markers and large signs showing efforts to preserve the old town.

However, what you can admire when you come to Kunming old town are old wooden buildings, some of which are tilted and leaning against people’s houses showing deterioration over time and in need of repair. However, trading activities still take place vibrantly on the ground floor.

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Wuhua Square (Kunming Square)

This is really not a very famous place to visit but we still put it on our list of things to do when coming to Kunming because of its peace.

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This is a square not far from Green Lake Park, but this is a gathering place for local people who come here to do activities such as playing chess, flying kites, dancing, etc.

Wuhua Square is situated at the corner of Renmin Middle and Wuyi streets. There are also statues of fallen soldiers representing the past of struggle and sacrifice to protect the country. If you are a lover of peace and rusticity, you can choose this as a relaxing place during your trip to Kunming. Watching and participating in daily activities with the people here to better understand their culture is also a wonderful experience.

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Western Hills Park (Xishan Forest Park) (#where to go in kunming)

Western Hills, also known as the “Sleeping Buddha” mountain, is located in the western suburbs of Kunming. In the Western Hills, there are many beautiful scenes for visitors to admire and relax.

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Besides, Western Hills is also a wonderful place with blooming flower fields and immense forests. This is considered one of the top tourist attraction in Kunming because it not only has beautiful scenery but also has a wonderful, pleasant atmosphere that is completely different from bustling Shanghai or busy Beijing.

| where to go in kunming
| where to go in kunming
  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 18:00
  • How to get there: take bus number 6 or 51 to get there; or take the tour bus from Yunnan hotel.

Yiliang Jiuxiang Scenic Area

Yiliang Jiuxiang Scenic Area is located in Jiuxiang Yi and Hui Autonomous Town of Yiliang County about 90km from Kunming center. This place is famous for its caves, mountains, valleys, ethnic minority styles and cultures,…

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Yiliang Jiuxiang Scenic Area covers an area of about 20km2. There are 5 outstanding attractions in this area that you must visit: Diehong Bridge, Dasha Dam, Sanjiao Cave, Alu Long and Mingyue Lake. Coming here, visitors can travel by boat to explore the beautiful caves and lakes here.

  • Location: Yiliang County, Kunming
  • Entrance fee: 90 CNY
  • Opening hours: 08:30 – 17:30
  • How to get there: take bus number 5 to Kunming Chengxi station, then transfer to bus number 6 to Jiuxiang scenic area

Kunming World Horti – Expo Garden

Located in the northeastern suburbs of Kunming, the Kunming World Horti – Expo Garden was the site of the 1999 Kunming International Horticultural Exhibition.

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Kunming World Horti – Expo Garden includes five large exhibition halls, seven theme gardens, three outdoor display areas and two large squares. The international pavilion has an area of 13,250 square meters, surrounded by dense trees. In this garden, you can admire more than 2,551 different types of plants, and among them, 112 are considered rare and listed as endangered species.

| where to go in kunming
  • Address: 10 Shibo Rd, Panlong District, Kunming, Yunnan, China, 650233
  • Entrance fee: 100 CNY (in the morning); 70 CNY (after 2pm)
  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 18:00
  • How to get there: take bus number 10, 68, 69 or 71 to Kunming Exhibition Garden

Golden Temple

The Golden Temple, also known as Yingwu Hill in the northeastern suburbs of Kunming, is located on Mingfeng Hill. It was built in 1671 during the Qing Dynasty.

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The Golden Temple is a two-story Taoist temple, 25 feet wide, 21 feet high, placed on two marble platforms. Inside, there is a statue of God Zhenwu, with a Golden Boy and a Golden Girl on either side. Besides, there are images of a fierce turtle and a snake protecting the altar.

  • Address: 3QQC+9MQ, Chuanjin Rd, Panlong District, Kunming, Yunnan, China, 650225
  • Entrance fee: CNY 20
  • Opening hours: 07:00 – 19:00
  • How to get there: take bus number 10 or 71 to the Golden Temple

Jianshui Ancient Town

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Jianshui Ancient Town was also voted as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kunming city, Yunnan. This place preserves the unique culture and interesting customs of the Hani people along with some ancient architectural works that are worth admiring. In this neighborhood there are many great attractions for visitors such as:

Zhu Family Garden: This is a tourist destination that cannot be missed if you come to Jianshui ancient town. Built 100 years ago by a merchant named Zhu and his brother when they became rich through business. Therefore, this place was built like a maze with many interesting things to admire. The buildings here are built in ancient architecture with old moss-covered porches and intricately carved paintings on the roofs.

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Jianshui Confucius Temple: Jianshui Confucius Temple, is one of the largest Confucius temples in China and one of the ancient structures worth visiting. Confucius was a famous philosopher who lived from 551-479 BC. His teachings and philosophies have profoundly influenced the culture and life of China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam throughout history. His temples were widely built over the years but most were destroyed during the civil war and Cultural Revolution.

| where to go in kunming

Jianshui Confucius Temple was first built about 700 years ago and renovated thereafter. A special feature here is the large cypress tree in the temple that is hundreds of years old. Twice a year at the Chinese Spring Festival, on September 28 – Confucius’ birthday, there is a ceremony held here to commemorate this great celebrity. Besides, this is also a famous place to pray and study, and every exam occasion, this place is crowded with people visiting.

Jiaozi Snow Mountain (#where to go in kunming)

Located 155km from Kunming city, Jiaozi Snow Mountain is an ideal place for winter tourism and winter sports. Its main peak, at 4,247 meters, is the highest point in the central region of Yunnan province.

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This place has a wonderful landscape that conquers any demanding guest. The natural scenery here is even more attractive when there are countless azalea flowers blooming in spring, lakes and alpine meadows also make it more charming than ever.

The best time to visit this place is from October to mid-April next year, you can admire the snowfall scenery, glacial lakes, ice waterfalls and other landscapes. Besides, visitors can also enjoy winter activities such as skiing.

Mountain Lake: Jiaozi Snow Mountain Scenic Area is 3,800 to 4,100 meters above sea level, covered with many eroded rock hollows. This place has the very famous “Paradise Lake”, the water is clear and the scenery along the lake is worth admiring.

Because this lake is located at high altitude and has an unstable climate, the lake water is very vulnerable if you make loud noises on the water surface. When it rains or snows, this place becomes even more mysterious and magical with wonderful colors reflected in the lake.

Azalea world: In spring or summer, azaleas bloom everywhere. This is a flower that can survive in harsh environments. They can survive even growing in waterfalls. Create a strong and resilient beauty that makes you submit to the greatness of the Maker. There are more than 32 types of rhododendrons that live in the mountains, they grow at many different altitudes, and the best time to see this flower is from mid-March to September.
Among these flowers, “Wumeng azalea” is a unique variety of Jiaozi Snow Mountain that has quite a special color. It can change color from yellow to black then back to white over the course of 2 months.

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Icefalls on snowy mountains: In areas at altitudes of 2,500 to 4,000 meters, there are many waterfalls of different shapes with levels varying from tens of meters to hundreds of meters.

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In summer, these waterfalls resemble silver curtains falling in mist. In winter, the waterfalls freeze from top to bottom, forming ice waterfalls that resemble giant white marble sculptures of different shapes.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

If you are a photographer, you should not miss Yuanyang rice terraces. If you want to see the rice fields in these fields, Yuanyang will definitely surpass your expectations. The beautiful scenery as well as the unique culture of the Hani people are worth exploring.

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Yuanyang Rice Terraces is the masterpiece of the Hani ethnic minority. With its unique shape and size spanning thousands of years of history, it is like a precious mosaic of colorful landscapes and breathtaking beauty bestowed by nature. Known as a “terrestrial sculpture”, the terraced fields have been officially recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. There are three famous scenic areas that tourists should visit when coming here: Duoyishu, Bada and Laohuzui.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces | kunming attractions

Duoyishu – Best place to take sunrise photos: Duoyishu Rice Terraces is a 50-minute drive from Yuanyang. It is considered the best place to take photos of the sunrise from above.

You should come to Duoyishu at dawn. As sunlight appears on the horizon, it shadows the fields and creates a surreal moment of nature. When the sun rises, the nearby village wakes up and people start walking on the mountainside, this is the time for you to take extremely unique photos of the lives of the people here. And until the sun rises over the mountain, everything is visible and clear, the terraced fields sparkle even more in the sunlight. Surely you will not regret coming here.

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Bada – The best place to take sunset photos: Bada is considered the best place to admire the sunset here. Terraced fields stretch from the foot to the top of the mountain, like a ladder to the sky. When the sun sets, they change color endlessly; first pink then turns dark pink and then turns dark red. There are 17 Hani ethnic minority villages in this area. Isn’t it interesting to explore the villages and see the traditional mushroom-shaped architecture of the Hani people?

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Laohuzui – A place to see more rugged and unique rice terraces: From Bada to Laohuzui it only takes about 40 minutes to drive. This is the place to enjoy the panoramic view of the majestic beauty of the terraced fields, they are like a giant painting painted by a talented artist.

Thousands of colorful fields stretching for several kilometers and dotted with surrounding green trees create a magical beauty. The best time to see rice terraces in Laohuzui is at dusk.

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Finally, the best time for tourists to visit here is from January to March, when the terraced fields are irrigated and the water in the fields reflects the sunlight, creating a variety of colors. Or in spring (from late February to March), terraced fields are “decorated” with many flowers, including pink peach blossoms and white pear blossoms.

Yunnan Ethnic Village (#kunming attractions)

Yunnan ethnic village is located on a narrow peninsula on the northern shore of Dianchi Lake. This village has more than 25 ethnic minorities including Yi, Dai, Miao, Jingpo, Wa, Hani, Naxi, Dulong and some other ethnic groups living here. Therefore, this place contains an extremely unique and interesting cultural and spiritual life. The villages of each ethnic group are arranged in a reasonable way, making visitors attracted by their charming beauty, this place is a miniature model of a diverse and colorful culture of Yunnan.

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Coming here, visitors can not only admire a variety of art in architecture, costumes and customs but also watch songs and people dance. Visitors can also directly participate in some festivals to better understand the lives of ethnic minorities here such as the Sanyuejie festival of the Bai people, the water festival of the Dai people, and the torch festival of the Yi people and the Sanduo festival of Naxi Ethnic Minority. Besides, tasting some dishes and buying some souvenirs is also a great experience for you.

Yunnan is home to largest ethnic groups | kunming attractions

Stone forest

The Stone Forest is also one of the places with wonderful natural scenery that you can admire near Kunming.

This is considered a wonderful scenic area that includes many beautiful viewing areas and locations such as Lizijing Stone Forest, Naigu Stone Forest, Zhiyun Cave, Dragon Lake, Moon Lake, Qifeng Cave and Dadie Waterfall.

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The Greater and Lesser Stone Forests: This is a stone forest considered the main scenic area of this place with an area of 12 km2. If you come here and mention “stone forest”, you will definitely receive an answer related to this stone forest.

Coming here, you will certainly be amazed by the natural stone masterpieces and be fascinated by the intricate stone blocks shaped like columns, cones, pagodas and mushrooms, animals, plants and even human form. The stones are scattered densely and sparsely in a variety of shapes, some looking smooth, others rough.

Naigu Stone Forest – Geopark, less crowded: If you want to enjoy the majestic rock scene in a quiet space, avoiding crowds, this is an ideal place for you. 8km northeast of the Big and Small Stone Forest is another wonderful but very quiet rock viewing area. It has been recognized as a world natural heritage and a symbol of southern China’s karst mountains.

Naigu Stone Forest

Naigu literally means “ancient black” in the language of the Yi people. Naigu Stone Forest has a weathered black surface with an area of about 10 square kilometers. This place has sharp rocky mountains, caves, waterfalls, vast grasslands and the mysterious black color of black volcanic blocks.

Best time to visit: Rolling Stone Scenic Area is open year-round. Because this is an outdoor area, to avoid rainy days, you should check the weather forecast before coming. The rainy season lasts from May to October.

Also, to avoid tourist crowds try to avoid Chinese holidays, such as Labor Day (May 1 to 7) and National Day (October 1 to 7).

Daguan Pavilion

The last place that we want to introduce to visitors is the Daguan Pavilion.

Besides some of the attractive attractions introduced by us above, Daguan Pavilion is also a place not to be missed. This is one of the parks with pleasant views and atmosphere for visitors to visit and relax. Moreover, coming here you will have the opportunity to admire the longest couplet in China at Daguan Pavilion with pleasant natural scenery, many unique architectural works, a convergence of calligraphy and writers,… it will definitely bring you memorable experiences.

Above is the entire article about the top 15+ places to visit when coming to Kunming. Although this is not a tourist attraction like Beijing and Shanghai, Kunming has a unique and peaceful beauty. If you have the opportunity to travel here, try visiting the 15+ outstanding tourist attractions that we introduced above. Hope you have a happy and lucky trip.

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Kunming and Yunnan you can refer to

Read more Kunming guide here and China guide here.