Kunming – City of Eternal Spring in China

Although it is called the City of Eternal Spring, Kunming is not necessarily warm all year round, but the climate in the mountain city is certainly much less variable that in other parts of China, possible because it located near the tropics and is perched at an altitude of a smidgin under 2000 metres.

Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province, which is located in southwest China. It’s relatively friendly climate and reasonable rainfall allows plants to grow abundantly, and Kunming is certainly a garden city, with almost a quarter of its total area covered in parks, trees and flowers. Although the city does have dismal congestion thanks to the heavy traffic, it is not as polluted as many Chinese cities, so it quite a pleasant place to visit.

One of the features of Kunming is Dianchi, which is also known as Kunming Lake, which is the largest lake in Kunming. Despite its accessibility to the city, the lake can be quite serene, especially at sunrise and sunset, and is framed on its west side by a mountain forest.

Although Kunming is a modern metropolis, the Chinese culture is still revered here. Yuantong Temple is considered to be the most auspicious temple in Yunnan Province, and with a history retreating back over 1200 years. Unlike other Buddhist temples, you actually enter Yuantong from above and make your way down to the temple along a gently sloping garden path. The temple complex is built around Yuantong Hall, which is surrounded by a very large pond. A delicate stone bridge which has an elegant octagonal pavilion stands in the centre and connects the hall and the temple entrance. The pavilion is connected to the rest of the complex by various bridges and walkways.

As a contemporary city, Yunnan caters to the human need for food and drink, and there are many restaurants and bars in which to eat good food and imbibe in a pleasant libation. Yunnan cuisine is quite different to that found in the rest of China with Over the Bridge Rice Noodles being a popular local delicacy, as is a popular late night snack called Smoked Smelly Bean Curd, which does taste much better than it sounds.

Kunming is a popular destination for visitors to China, particularly because it is a hub for southwest China, and within reasonable distance from Kunming can be found the popular tourist areas of the Stone Forest, the city of Dali and Lijiang, the mountain city that is the gateway to Shangri-la.

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