Yuantong Temple

Yuantong Temple is at the foot of Yuantong Hill in the northern part of Kunming. With a history of more than 1,200 years, it is one of the grandest as well as the most important Buddhist temple in Yunnan Province. King Yimouxun of the Nanzhao Kingdom built it during the late eighth century as a continuation of Putuoluo Temple, and the restorations  performed from the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) onward had not changed its unique mixed architectural style of the Yuan (1271 - 1368) and Ming (1644 - 1911) Dynasties.

Yuantong Temple, Yunnan
Yuantong Temple

Unlike all other Buddhist temples, which are built on an ascendant, you enter Yuantong Temple from above and descend along a gently sloping garden path. The view before you starting your peaceful walk beneath the gigantic cypress trees that line the garden path to the temple with its extensive array of flowers and foliage is deeply restful and impressive. A memorial archway with four Chinese characters -Yuantong Shengjing (Yuantong Wonderland)-is standing on the halfway; you can see the entire temple from here.

Yuantong Hall

The temple complex is built around Yuantong Hall (Mahavira Hall), which is known as the Fane on the Water for it is surrounded by a very large pond filled with limpid water and fish. A delicate stone bridge which has an elegant octagonal pavilion stands in the center connects Mahavira Hall and the Yuantong Temple entrance. The pavilion is connected to the rest of the complex by various bridges and walkways.

Yuan Dynasty Statues

Sakymuni, Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha, all Yuan Dynasty statues, are found in the main hall. The surrounding 500 Buddhist Arhats who are carved in the walls are rare treasures noted for their perfect proportions and lively appearances. Also in this hall are two ten meter high pillars from the Ming Dynasty that are each engraved with a dragon - one yellow and one green - who are trying to extend their bodies and claws into the air as if they are ready to fly. Like the Arhats, they impart the feeling that at any moment they could spring into action.

Stone Staircases

Outside, on each side of the main hall, there are stone staircases that are carved out of the mountainside and wind their way to the top of the hill. As you climb these stairs, there are ancient inscriptions along the way and various tone artworks that are 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. It is from here that you can most appreciate the architecture of the remarkable temple complex.

Yuantong Temple, Yunnan Yuantong Temple, Yunnan

Copper Buddha Hall

In 1982, Thai Buddhists sent a copper statue of Sakymuni to Yuantong Temple as a symbol of friendship, and the statue is three and a half meters high and four tons in weight. A few years later, in 1985, a Copper Buddha Hall was built in a combination of Chinese and Tai styles to house this exquisite gift.

Buddhist Scriptures

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 taken at the end of the Qing Dynasty by Auguste de Francois, a shop, a restaurant, and more.

Yuantong Temple is a working temple that also represents the Buddhism of China today. Along with the patronage of the local people of Kunming and Yunnan in general, 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. This temple plays a very important role in history and in the modern world.

How to get to Yuantong Temple

1. Take Metro Line 2 to Chuanxingulou and walk west for about 15mins to the Yuantong Temple.
2. Take bus 85, 92, 95, 100, 101, 119, 187, 235 or Z5 to Yuantongjie.
3. Take bus 4, 59, 74, 83, 129, 234, A2, or Z63 to Yuantongshan.
Kunming Bus / Metro Search

Entrance Fee CNY 6
Opening Hours 8:00 - 18:00
- Last updated on Apr. 12, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Yuantong Temple
Asked by Lia from INDONESIA | Dec. 17, 2019 18:11Reply
How to go YuanTong Temple from Jinma Biji
Hi..I’m staying near Jinma Biji area, how to get to this temple by metro?
Answers (1)
Answered by Hedy from SINGAPORE | Dec. 20, 2019 01:53

Take bus no.95 from Guofang Road to Yuantong Street. Then walk to the temple directly.
Asked by siriluk from THAILAND | Apr. 27, 2019 23:29Reply
I want to go to Yuantong Temple from Kunming railway station.
How I go to Yuantong Temple by bus ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Tom from UNITED KINGDOM | Apr. 28, 2019 18:32

You can take Bus Line 83 from the railway station to Yuantongshan Station and then walk west about 500m to the temple.
Asked by pairin from THAILAND | Feb. 24, 2019 23:54Reply
I am going to KM on March and I would to see the cherry blossoms in Kunming.
What time are cherry blossoms will start to bloom?
Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Sylvia from CANADA | Feb. 25, 2019 19:48

Generally speaking, the cherry blossom festival will start from late Feb. to late March.
Asked by pairin from THAILAND | Feb. 05, 2019 08:57Reply
How far is Yuantong temple to Yuantong garden? Can I walk ?(Yuantong temple to Yuantong garden)
Answers (1)
Answered by Emerson from CANADA | Feb. 17, 2019 22:59

Yes, the distance is not far. It is within 1km. You can just walk to there directly.
Asked by Tang from THAILAND | May. 23, 2017 03:47Reply
I will travelling to Kunming in this June and start from Main Railway Station at 2 p.m
And go back to the railway station at 8p.m. Can you suggest an attraction and resturant near by the railway station and bus no for me?
Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Lina from RUSSIA | May. 25, 2017 04:28

As I know, Cuihu Park is only about 5 kilometers from the Main Railway Station. You can take bus no.2 at Zhanqian Road Bus Stop to Wuyi Crossing Bus Stop. Upon arrival, you may walk 80 meters ahead along Middle Renmin Road and turn right to JInghong Street for about 270 metrs to the park. There are many restaurants near the station, and you may find them when you get out. Therefore, you may choice one as your willingness.
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