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Kunming Attractions

What to see in Kunming

There is so much to see that is unique in Yunnan.

From intricately fashioned clay figures in the Bamboo Temple to the magnificent Stone Forest – surely one of the world's most striking sights – and sites – the area abounds in natural splendour.

And it's not just the sights that are attractive; Yunnan enjoys an all-year-round temperate climate, making it the ideal place to visit whenever you feel like it. Enjoy! 

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All Attractions in Kunming

Bamboo Temple

Rebuilt after a fire in the 15th century, this Tang dynasty temple has been renovated several times since. It is best known for its 500 surrealistic clay figures, including Buddha images in various positions, and all kinds of animals, created at the end of 19th century by the Chinese sculptor Li Guangxiu and his students. 

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Cuihu Park

Due to the large population, parks have a special place in China's culture. They're a free, wide open space that can enjoyed by everyone. This is where people socialise and relax by playing draughts, practice tai chi or perhaps exercise. Performances of Chinese operas and people watching make this park, near Yuantong Temple, a pleasant place to spend some time. Located in the west side of the park is the statue of one of Yunnan's most famous patriots - Nie Er, the composer of China's national anthem.

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Golden Temple and Jindian Park

Built during the Ming Dynasty, this small Taoist temple is thought to contain 200 tons of pure copper in its roofs, pillars, doors, windows, altars and statues, based upon a white marble base. Located in a pine forest on Phoenix Song Mountain in Kunming's northern suburbs, it became the residence of a Chinese general in the 17th century. Inside, a statue of the Zhengwu Emperor, with a gold boy and girl on either side, dominates the altar. An image of a fierce tortoise and a snake guard the altar.

Jindian Park (national park) which houses the temple is around 130 hectares and contains a mountain range, forest, lakes and manicured gardens. All this is located just seven kilometres northeast of Kunming. 

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Lake Dian

Covering 300sqkm and extending 40km from north to south, this lake is China's eighth largest and is dotted with sailboats along with many scenic spots and picnic sites on its shores. It is best viewed from Kumning's Western Hills Forest Reserve. Created by subsidence of a fault zone, it's freshwater but not suitable for swimming due to pollution.

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Western Hills Forest Reserve (Xichan Forest Park)

Richly endowed with trees and vegetation, this natural reserve is located on the west bank of Lake Dian and comprises the Huating, Taihua and Luohan mountains, averaging 2,500 meters above sea level. A chairlift up into the mountains affords spectacular views of the lake and surrounding areas. Nicknamed 'Sleeping Beauty' as the chain of mountains is said to look like a woman sleeping.

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Yuantong Temple

Thought to be more than 1,200 years old, Kunming's largest Buddhist temple has undergone many renovations. A new building contains a statue of Sakyamuni, presented as a gift from the King of Thailand. Unusually, unlike all other Buddhist temples, which are built on an ascendant, you enter Yuantong Temple from above and descend along a gently sloping garden path.

The view before you starting your peaceful walk beneath the gigantic cypress trees that line the garden path to the temple with its extensive array of flowers and foliage is deeply restful and impressive. A memorial archway is halfway down from where you can see the entire temple.             

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Yunnan Ethnic Villages

These villages feature authentic reconstructions of village life of Yunnan's many ethnic minorities, performances of ethnic songs and dances, and displays of waxworks, culture and customs.

You can try activities as diverse as tie-dying and dragon boat racing. The Bai village includes the largest Butterfly Museum in China.

Experiencing the villages give an insight to the people of Yunnan. 

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Yunnan Opera

Yunnan Opera integrates the various kinds of operas introduced to Kunming in Qianlong Period of the Qing Dynasty. The tunes are resounding, mellow and full, and the main characters include a young man, several bearded male characters, and male characters with painted faces. And the lines are read in local dialect.

The music integrates the three systems of strings; huqin (Chinese violin) and xiangyang. With over 800 titles in its repertoire, Yunnan opera is an interesting blend of influences and styles, including Anhui, Hubei and Han opera, and leans heavily on the languages and folk songs of the province.

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