Located in the tropical highlands of southwest China, Kunming sits at 6,600 feet (2,011 meters), making it a temperate and mild city. Though Kunming first rose to prominence under the Nanzhao Kingdom, it played a key role at several important points in history; during World War II, it served as a base for the famous Flying Tigers, a squadron of American pilots who dueled Imperial Japanese pilots in the skies over southwest China.

Today, as the gateway to China's southwestern Yunnan province, Kunming has seen a variety of infrastructure projects in recent years, including a new airport that features flights to destinations across Asia. Its conspicuous greenery, wide avenues, and lakeside views make it one of China's most pleasant cities.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Dongchuan Rice Terraces

Drive to Dongchuan, home of the beautiful Red Land rice terraces: iron oxide deposits in the soil cause beautiful patches of yellow, red, green and white to grow. Take in the scenery as the multitudinous colors of the rice fields spread out like a palate across the horizon.

Flower & Bird Market

Visit the Flower and Bird Market for a unique shopping experience. Among the flora and fauna for sale, guests can also find many souvenirs crafted by local minorities, include jade and Chinese games.

Impression of Yunnan

See Impression of Yunnan, a spectacular combination of song and dance that highlights various customs and celebrations of Yunnan’s many ethnic minorities.

Sani Tribe

The area is inhabited by the Sani minority. A distinctive feature of this southern tribe, which descends from the much larger Yi minority, is their hats. On women’s hats in particular, one can identify the person’s marital status.

Shilin Stone Forest

Drive 2.5 hours to the Shilin Stone Forest, a natural wonder of limestone formations as tall as 100 feet, much like a petrified forest. The park is littered with pagodas, lakes and vantage points from which to take in the scenery.

Tanhua Temple

Visit the beautiful Tanhua Temple, built in 1634 and home to magnificent gardens designed in the traditional Chinese style. The temple grounds are filled with the famous perennial flowers of Kunming, as well as ancient Buddhist statues and relics.

Yunnan Cuisine

Enjoy local Yunnanese food at one of the city’s most exclusive restaurants. Specialties include over-the-bridge rice noodles (guoqiao mixian), steamed potted chicken, and Xuanwei ham.

The story behind guoqiao mixian is a fascinating one: after her husband secluded himself on an island to study for the imperial examinations, his wife brought him daily meals. Unfortunately, by the time she crossed the bridge, the food was often cold; as a solution, she put a thin layer of oil on top of the soup, and separated the ingredients - combining them only before eating. Thus, this distinct noodle soup was born, and has since become a trademark of the area.

Yunnan Provincial Museum

Visit the Provincial Museum, where an expert in Yunnan’s eclectic history and peoples will guide you through the collection of ancient relics of the many ethnic minorities that populate this diverse province.

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