As one of China’s most diversified provinces, Yunnan is certainly one of China’s most alluring destinations. Yunnan is home to more than one third of China’s ethnic minorities and over half of the country’s plant and animal species. The province is blessed by its mixture of traditional folk cultures as well as breath-taking scenery. Kunming, Yunnan’s capital, resides at an elevation of 1890m and boasts a milder climate than most other Chinese cities. Celebrated as the "Spring City," Kunming has neither severe winters nor extremely hot summers and can be visited at any time of the year.
Numerous areas of Yunnan exhibit strong local identities and have successfuly resisted Chinese influence. Ethnic minority culture has survived and thrived despite the government’s best efforts to encourage the relocation of Han Chinese into predominately ethnic regions. Thus, Kunming has developed a distinctive multi-cultural feeling that seems a world apart from other major Chinese cities. The city retains an individuality that has earned it a reputation as a laid-back, yet cosmopolitan provincial capital in southwest China. However, this is in light of the fact that rapid economic growth currently transforms Kunming into a modern Chinese city with wide roads, massive shopping malls, and skyscrapers.
Kunming has been inhabited for 2000 years. The town was a remote Chinese outpost until the 8th century when the kingdom of Nanzhao captured it and made it a secondary capital. In the 14th century, the Ming Dynasty set up shop, building a walled town in Yunnanfu, as Kunming was then known. The middle of the 19th century saw the intrusion of the West into Kunming from British Burma and French Indochina. In 1910 the French Indochina railway was completed, linking the city with Hanoi. The new train line allowed the French to exploit the region’s copper, tin, and timber resources. Kunming’s true modern expansion began during World War II when factories were established and refugees fleeing the Japanese poured in from eastern China. The face of Kunming has since radically changed, with streets widened and office buildings and housing projects erected.
Major tourist sites in Kunming include two Tang Dynasty Pagodas, Yuantong Temple, Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming City Museum, and Green Lake Park. Aside from Kunming’s array of tourist attractions, the city serves as a great jumping-off point for Dali, Lijiang, and Tiger Leaping Gorge to the north as well as Jinghong, Xishuangbanna, Pu’er and Yuanyang to the south.
Synotrip welcomes travelers, students, teachers, and explorers to Kunming and encourages visitors to our site to contact the Kunming manager with any questions, comments, or concerns.