Top 10 Things to Do in Kunming

Kunming, home to various landscapes and ethnic minorities, is very worth visiting during your trip to China. Then, what to do in Kunming, China when you get to the beautiful city? This article will provide you the best things to do in Kunming as a reference for your tour plan.

Stone Forest
When talking about “What to do in Kunming”, the first thing many travelers may think about is the Stone Forest. You could see the marvelous rocks forest made by the nature in this original karst land, as well as karst caves, stalactites, sink lake, natural stone arches and waterfalls over cliffs. You may feel like touring a place out of this planet. This region is a settlement of Yi nationality, and you can also learn their distinctive customs during the trip. The grand Torch Festival in summer draws large numbers of visitors every year.

 Recommended Tour:  3 Days Kunming Private Tour with Stone Forest from $359

Watch Migrant Birds in Winter

Migrant Birds in Green Lake Park of Kunming
Kunming is always warm, even in winter, so that flocks of migrants birds get there to overwinter, thus seeing the migrant birds becomes popular as one of Kunming things to do in winter. Dianchi Lake, near the downtown, is famous for black-headed gulls in winter. The scene that the gulls flying over the guttering water, is unmissable for tourists as well as shutterbugs. You can also feed these gulls with some crumbs or the specialized food for the birds on sale. Haigeng Park on the north side of Dianchi Lake, and Green Lake Park are popular bird-watching sites as well.

Take Pictures in Dongchuan Red Land

Dongchuan Red Land
Dongchuan Red Land, northeast to Kunming downtown, ranks the second in the world out of all the red lands. For the soil is rich in iron substances, there are more than 20 square kilometers (8 square miles) red fields all over the mountains. Quite a lot shutterbugs and photographers are attracted to catch the majestic pictures there, which becomes one of must things to do in Kunming, China gradually. From September to December, it’s the best time to photograph there. Some fields are with no crops, and some are planted with green highland barley or wheats, which makes the land colorful. When the unique white rape flowers are blooming in winter, especially in Nov. or Dec., it’s also nice to take photos here.

 Recommended Tour:  5 Days Kunming Photography Tour to Dongchuan Red Land from $899

Learn Local History at Yunnan Provincial Museum

Yunnan Provincial Museum
For culture and history lovers, Yunnan Provincial Museum is the best destination in Kunming. Because of the diverse ethnic groups in Yunnan, the museum houses many distinctive relics of local ethnic minorities. You will learn the Yunnan history from the pithecanthrope times to the present, including those of local states, national fusion, the rise of Buddhism and the modern wars. It is interesting to see the sliver-gilt Garuda sculpture and Buddhist texts of ancient Dali Kingdom, bronze wares, old paintings, ceramics, natural specimens and more varieties of items, which are all in the unique ethnic style.
Jiuxiang Scenic Area
Jiuxiang Scenic Area is also famous for karst landforms with dense forests, beautiful gorges and a series of underground rivers and karst caves. Among them, the karst caves are the best-known. Along the river in very narrow gorges with waterfalls, you would enter the caves. The underground cave called Lion Hall is considerably large with a stalactite looking like a lion. Going on the cave tour, you will see the rarely cave like terraced fields on mountains, upside-down stalactite forests as well as other karst caves. It’s well-ventilated naturally that you would feel cool inside even in summer, thus it’s also the top 1 destination to avoid summer heat in Kunming.

Experience Ethnic Folks at Yunnan Nationalities Village

Yunnan Nationalities Village
One of the must things in Kunming to do is to know the multiple ethnic groups in Yunnan and Yunnan Nationalities Village is the best site to know them all at once. The scenic spot preserves original villages of 25 ethnic groups including Dai, Bai, Yi, Jingpo, Bouyei, Hani, and Naxi. There are traditional dwellings, workshops of folk arts and crafts, and the performances to show ethnic customs. You could also try the unique snacks of different nationalities. On the Chinese traditional festivals and the ethnic festivals like Water-Splashing Festival of Dai and Torch Festival of Yi, bustling celebrations and activities are held, which is absolutely a great time to learn these Chinese nationalities in depth and in person.
Grand View Park
Grand View Park, by Dianchi Lake, is a historical garden centered with Grand View Tower, on which you can get a grand view of the Dianchi Lake and the mountains in the distance, hence the name. Apart from the lake and mountains, the garden with willows on winding shores, lotuses, other various flowers, artificial rockworks, bridges, etc. will definitely dazzle your eyes. Around Mid-Autumn Festival, Grand View Park is a great place to appreciate the moon in the sky as well as its reflection on water. Celebrations on traditional festivals and lantern fairs at night make it an even more popular Kunming China thing to do.

Stroll at Jinma Biji Zone & Enjoy Local Gourmet Food

Jinma Biji Zone in Kunming
Jinma Biji Zone is a historical block in Kunming with splendid archways and traditional buildings. Now it’s also a commercial block and a famous food street where one can taste various food. After strolling in the shopping malls, you may enjoy the authentic Yunnan cuisine there to feed your stomach. The best brands of Yunnan Rice Noodles, Spiced Rice-Flour Cake Shreds, Wild Mushroom Hot Pot, Yiliang Roast Duck are all available. Besides, you cannot miss the ethnic foods of Yunnan nationalities as well. Listed as one of the best things to do in Kunming, Jinma Biji Zone is also a popular place to see the sunset and night views in the city.
This is probably the most savory Kunming activity to do. Local people have created several methods to cook the Rice Noodles, such as boiling, frying, scalding and so on. It’s chewy and various side ingredients like tofu pudding, daube, eels, shredded chicken, and pork intestines can be added to form different flavors. In Kunming, there are large or small Yunnan Rice Noodle restaurants here and there. Jian Xin Yuan and Qiao Xiang Yuan are the best chain restaurants selling Cross-Bridge Rice Noodles, and you can easily find one shop of them nearby the attractions, the airport and the railway stations.

Enjoy the Performance “Dynamic Yunnan”

“Dynamic Yunnan” is a wonderful performance at Dynamic Yunnan Theatre in Sunac Resort in Kunming, on show at 20:00 every day. The large-scale performance combines original folk dances of the ethnic groups in Yunnan, like Wa, Jino, Hani, Jingpo, Yi, Dai, and Naxi, and most of the dancers are the ethnic villagers. It has been performed for over a dozen of years, and gets high praises from all fields, so no doubt one of top things to do in Kunming when you get there.
- Last updated on Nov. 24, 2020 -
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