Top Attractions in Kunming
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Situated in a tropical latitude, Kunming, China’s temperate climate attracts thousands of westerners yearly.
Compared to other cities, it’s clean, too – though one might not know it from the traffic congested streets. As the hub of the Yunnan Province, Kunming has a plethora of exciting museums, temples, and parks. Don’t miss the following attractions while visiting the ‘City of Eternal Spring.’
The Kunming Municipal Pump House is of vital importance. The reservoirs surrounding the city are its only source of water during drought. Though only two rooms, the History of Kunming Water Supply offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s waterways. The building once pumped 1,000 cubic meters of water from Nine Dragon Pond along an intricate network of pipes. Old relics now sit within its quaint walls such as two French-designed water pumps and old photos. Moreover, admission is free.
Earth Forest is Kunming’s nature oasis. Ideal for beach lovers, the 50 square kilometer landscape is comprised of Tiger Leaping, Bangguo, and Xinhua beaches. If Earth Forest’s sprawling beauty does not take your breath away, it is only one of the ‘Three Forests of Yunnan Province.’ Visit the Stone Forest and Colorful Sand Forest for more scenic terrain.
The Yuantong Temple is the most vital temple in Kunming. Its architecture has been revamped several times during its 1,200 years history. Now the temple’s style is a unique mixture of Yuan and Ming era architecture that impresses visitors from around the world. Unlike most temples, visitors must enter Yuantong from above by walking a gently inclined path. Apart from the birds-eye view of the temple that this route offers, visitors can also see a beautiful memorial archway, stone bridge, and an elegant pavilion. Within the temple lie some of the city’s most important stone relics – over 500 ancient Arhat carvings from the Yuan Dynasty plus countless ancient inscriptions.
The Yunnan University Wu Mayao Museum of Anthropology contains an impressive array of Han Dynasty artifacts. Visitors can feast their eyes on wooden armory of the Yi people, ancient fearsome mountain warriors.
The Kunming Museum of Zoology provides hours of entertainment. The museum’s five floors are chock-full of fossils, dinosaur skeletons, preserved fish and insects, and stuffed animals, all native to Yunnan at one point or another.
The Yunnan Railway Museum offers a historical look at the railways linking Yunnan with nearby provinces, which were constructed with parts from all over China. Maps, models, and information boards as well as actual locomotives create a paradise for the mechanical buff.