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Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, with a history of more than 2400 years, owes its importance to the fact that it was the gateway to the celebrated Silk Road that facilitated trade with Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India. Today the city is the political, economical and cultural center of Yunnan provincel and has become the most popular center for tourism in Southwest China.
Kunming enjoys a pleasant climate, with an average temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius), making it spring all year round. Whenever you are planning to go, the temperature is always pleasant.
Kunming is the focal point of Yunnan minority culture. Some 26 ethnic minorities such as Han, Yi, Bai, Miao, Dai, Hani and more inhabit the region. Each group has its own featured festivals such as the Torch festival of Yi people, the Golden Temple Fair and so on.
Kunming welcomes and sees off tens of thousands of tourists every day.
Tourist Highlights
Golden Temple
Located on top of Mingfeng (Singing Phoenix) Hill is the home of the Taoist Taihe Palace (Hall of Supreme Harmony), which is the largest copper temple in China. It is also known as the Tongwa Temple (Bronze Tile Temple) and by its popular name, the Golden Temple.
The history of the Golden Temple starts during the Ming Dynasty and the reign of the Emperor Wanli in 1602. At that time the governor of Yunnan Province was a devout Taoist who built this temple to honor the Taoist hero-god Zishi. Just 35 years later, in 1637, the entire original temple was moved to Jizu (Chicken Foot) Mountain in western Yunnan. Three decades later in 1671 during the Qing Dynasty, Wu Sangui, the governor of Yunnan Province, built an exact duplicate of the original temple. This temple was undisturbed for almost two hundred years until the Muslim rebellion of 1857, during which the Golden Temple suffered some damages. Emperor Guangxu ordered its complete repair and in 1890, using 250 tons (246 gross ton) of solid bronze, the entire temple was again rebuilt. Except for the staircases and balustrades, which are made of marble, the walls, columns, rafters, roof tiles, altars, Buddha statues, wall decorations and the banner near the gate tower are all made of copper. The burnished copper gleamed like gold and that is why people named it the Golden Temple. Since its last renovation, this beloved copper temple on the top of Mingfeng Hill has been well cared and has become the most famous Taoist shrine in Yunnan Province.

Stone Forest
The Stone Forest, known since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) as the "First Wonder of the World", is in Lunan Yi Nationality Autonomous County, which is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Kunming and requires only a three-hour drive. Being one of the National Scenic Resorts in China, Stone Forest Scenic Resort has a complete range of karst forms.
It covers an area of 400 square kilometers (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small stone forests, as well as many other scenic spots. An old local saying says that "If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time." Truly, the Stone Forest is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan.

Daguan Park
Daguan, which means "the grand view", is the most befitting name for the park and the pavilion which are on the terminus of Daguan Road in the southwest of Kunming city, Daguan Park and Daguan Pavilion.
Daguan Park locates on the shore of Dianchi Lake and faces the Western Hills which are on the other side of Dianchi Lake. In 1682, a monk named Qianyin built a small temple here to give Buddhist lessons; eight years later, in 1690, the satrap of Yunnan Province Wang Jiwen was attracted by the beautiful natural views here and began to construct a whole park including many halls, pavilions, bonsais, rockeries, trees and porches. Daguan Park became an attraction from then on and the most famous spot among them is the Daguan Pavilion.
True to its name, Daguan Park and the attractions in it provide spectacular and grand views in different styles. From the sparkling Dianchi Lake to the superb Western Hills, the natural beauties create a perfect place to spend your holiday.

Bird and Flower Market
The famous Flowers and Birds Market in Jingxing Street is the city's biggest, most attractive shopping market where spring reigns all year.
Since 1983 the Flowers and Birds Market has gradually been built into a comprehensive public spot for leisure, shopping, and trading. Strolling on the market street, you can see shops and stalls of all sorts, especially those featuring flowers, birds, and fish.
The Flowers and Birds Market is also a popular trading place for antiques. Curios, coins, jade articles, jewelry, ink stones, porcelains, potteries, stone carvings, and marble products are among the arts and crafts to be found there. It is a treasure trove for souvenirs. Do not miss the shops that sell colorful ethnic costumes with headdresses. Most are handcrafted and very popular with tourists. Prices are reasonable, and you may even bargain with shopkeepers.

99 World Horticultural Exposition Garden
The venue of World Horticultural Exposition, hosted by Kunming from May 1st until October 31st in year 1999 and participated by over 69 nations and 26 international organization, is in the northern suburbs of Kunming some 6 kilometers from downtown. The Expo Garden is composed of 5 indoor exhibition halls (China Hall, International Hall, Man and Nature Hall, Greenhouse, and Science and Technology Hall), 3 outdoor exhibition grounds (domestic, international, and enterprise), and 6 theme gardens (Tree Garden, Tea Garden, Bonsai Garden, Herbal Medicine Garden, Bamboo Garden, Vegetable and Fruit Garden).

Xishan ( West Mountain )
Looking at Xishan afar, you will find the mountain resembles a sleeping beauty lying on the Dianchi Lake. 19 kilometers from Kunming proper, Xishan is also known for stone sculptures on the cliff, represented by the Dragon Gate, which took 72 years to complete. Tourists can take a bird-eye view of the grand Dianchi Lake from the spot of the Dragon Gate.
Dragon Gate
Totally cut on a natural precipice, with an elevation of 2,500 meters, 8 kilometers west of Kunming city, the Dragon Gate is the highest temple on the West Hill. It is famous for its spectacular view. Climbing up the winding old stone stairs leading to the natural cliff-top platform, passing through an archway on which is inscribed “Longmen” (Dragon’s Gate), many inscriptions and steles are found here and there. You will have a birds-eye-view of Kunming city and the Dianchi Lake.

Yunnan Nationalities Villages
This wonderful theme park displays the colorful folklore and architectures of 25 ethnic group in Yunnan Province through shows and performances, a folklore museum and a wax museum for folklore, as well as the copy buildings of villages of the 25 ethnic groups. When you cannot afford more days upcountry, a short visit of this Village may provide you comprehensive background knowledge of ethnic groups in the province.

Dianchi Lake
If you have been to Dianchi Lake, which is located at the foot of the Western Hills to the southwest of Kunming, you know what the "Pearl of the Plateau" means. Being the largest lake in Kunming and the sixth largest fresh water lake in China, Dianchi Lake is 300 square kilometers (116 square miles) in surface area, 1,885 meters (6,185 feet) in altitude and about 40 kilometers (25 miles) in length (from north to south).
The west side of Dianchi Lake is the mountain forest, while on the east side are lands dotted with the fisheries and agribusinesses. Traditional fishing boats still sail on the lake, hooking and netting. Taking a boat to voyage between the blue sky and the green water, breathing the fresh air and viewing the birds flying just at your side, what an enjoyable, light-hearted and free moment it is!
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