Yunnan is said to be one of the most beautiful provinces in China. It’s capital Kunming, nicknamed “City of Eternal Spring”, doesn’t disappoint when it comes to traveling. I spent 2 weeks traveling Yunnan in summer 2015 and started out exploring Kunming due to the convenient location and transport connections by plane, bus and train. I continued on to Xishuangbanna (south), stopped in Laos for 3 days and went to Dali and Lijiang in the northern part of Yunnan.
If you are planning a trip to Yunnan, here is how you spend 48 hours exploring Kunming’s attractions:
1. Visit the Unesco Stone Forest 石林 Shílín
Start your morning off early with a trip to the famous Stone Forest 石林. The national park can be reached by bus departing from Kunming East Coach Station (at the East 3rd Ring Road area) The buses run every 20-30 minutes in peak season and every 40 minutes in low season.
The park features an impressive set of limestone formations that formed around 270million years ago, when the area was a shallow sea.
Price: CNY 175
Time needed: 4-6 hours
2. Walk Around Daguan Park
Kunming’s Daguan park (大观公园) is visited by many locals who come to sit, drink tea, fly kites, and go boating. The park has a history of several hundred years and features lakes, teahouses and pavillions. The visit is free of charge. You can spot retired Chinese locals playing cards and other popular games at the park.
3. Enjoy Tea at a Local Teahouse
Yunnan is famous for it’s vast variety of Pu’er tea. Make sure you visit a local teahouse and enjoy a few hours indulging in the Chinese tea culture. I can highly recommend visiting the teahouse at Daguan park due to it’s charme and lake views. It’s wonderful and the refills are almost endless!
Price: CNY 70 (for one teapot, numerous refills)
Time needed: as long as your heart desires
4. Indulging in History at Yunnan Provincial Museum
If you are a history fan and fond of museums, you shouldn’t miss the Yunnan Provincial Museum! It’s explains Yunnan‘s ethnic minorities and features a collection of artifacts from tomb excavations. This museums gives you first-hand insight in the multi-cultural history of this Chinese province which is home to around 25 of China’s 55 minorities.
Note that museums in China are usually closed on Mondays.
Time needed: 1.5 hours
Welcome to Yunnan!
Kunming is the gateway to Yunnan province! Being the capital, it has the largest airport and most bus and train connections depart from here to all parts of China and Southeast Asia. You can even take a bus down to Laos and Thailand! Come exploring Kunming.
Yunnan is one of China’s most beautiful provinces witch unique scenery and rich history! Be sure to stop by in Kunming when in Yunnan!
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