Must Visit Places in Kunming – China

Kunming is the capital of the Yunnan Province in China and is the center of transportation, politics, culture and economics. It is also the main portal to Southwest China and Southeast Asia. Millions of visitors go every year to take in the beautiful year-round spring climate and breathtaking scenery. Sometimes known as The Flower City, Kunming is smothered in lush green vegetation and blooming blossoms all year. A mixture of karst landscape, red land and snowcapped mountains, Kunming is a magnet for photographers the world over and, home to a number of ethnic minorities, it is a culturally diverse city. With so much to do and see, two landmarks stand out as must-visit places.

  • Kunming Stone Forest


The Kunming Stone Forest is a stunning representation of multiple karst landforms and is the only one to be found in a region of subtropical plateau anywhere in the world. The forest covers an area of 400 square kilometers, and visitors can take in the massive stone forest, lakes, caves and waterfalls, as well as learning the Sani lifestyle.


Three parts of the forest that you must make time to see are the Lesser, the Greater and the Naigu Stone forests. The Lesser and the Greater Stone Forests cover 12 square kilometers and is home to some odd shaped stones, natural masterpieces and fantastic intricate formations, shaped like mushrooms, pagodas, columns, cones, even human, animal and plant figures. Naigu Stone Forest covers 10 square kilometers and is older than the others. It is a quieter place and is now as World Heritage Site. The stone is black and there are plenty of caves and waterfalls to visit as well as a stunning causeway formed from blocks of black volcanic rock.

Allow around 3 to 4 hours for a visit and avoid public holidays and, because it is all outdoors, rainy weather.

  • The Black Dragon Pool

kunming pool

The Black Dragon Pool can be found around 12 kilometers to the Northeast of Kunming and has been one of the most popular of all the tourist attractions for more than 700 years, right back to the Ming Dynasty. The Black Dragon Pool is the main attraction here, although there are plenty of other things to see.

The Pool got its name from a legend that told of a black dragon that lived in the pool. There are two very important complexes – Longguan Temple, or Dragon Spring Temple, and Black Dragon Palace. Longguan Temple is the largest of the structures within the park and was built in the early days of the Han Dynasty, along the pool. The temple has been reconstructed and made bigger over the years and most of what you see today was constructed during the Qing dynasty. Memorial ceremonies were once held on the bank of the Black Dragon Pool and this is where the Black Dragon Palace was constructed, about 700 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. The Palace is made up of two courtyards and three halls.


To the front of the temples you will see massive ancient trees, including cypress, plum and camellia. The plum tree is more than 1200 years old and was planted in the Tang Dynasty. Today the branches spread in all directions and the roots are twisted and tangled. The Cypress was planted in the Song Dynasty and the trunk takes four to five men to circle it with their arms stretched wide. The camellia tree is the youngest, planted in the Ming Dynasty.

Both of these attractions are well worth taking the time to visit, providing you with a view of Ancient Kunming rather than the modern side.

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