China Travel FAQ

Kunming Travel FAQ & Tips


When is the best time to travel Kunming?

March to October is the best time for traveling Kunming when a dozen of minority festivals take place and fresh fruits mellow and flowers blossom. November is the time to watch the red-beaked seagulls at Green Lake.

Kunming has yearly mild weather with annual temperature around15 °C. But spring and winter still see a greater temperature change with a fluctuation of 12-20 °C. Rainy season falls in May to October.


How can I reach Kunming?

By Air

Kunming airport, 5 km far from the downtown, has daily flights to main China tour cities, including Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Shanghai, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-la, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc.

There are also international fights frequently departing to most main Asian cities like Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Vientiane, etc. After the new airport construction finishes (expect in 2012), more international flights covering the North America, Europe, Australia and more Asian cities will be opened.

Bus No. 52, 67, 78. 103 (RMB 1) or a taxi (RMB 15-20, 20 min) can reach the airport from the city.

By Train

Kunming railway connects with Guiyang (Guizhou Province), Chengdu (Sichuan Province), Nanning (Guangxi Province) and Hanoi in Vietnam. Trains also daily run to Shilin (Stone Forest), Dali, etc.

Kunming Railway Station (Chinese: 昆明火车站 or 南窑火车站), 2 km away from the city center, can be reached by bus No. 23, 68, 80 (RMB 1) or taxi (RMB 10, 10 min). Train ticket office (8:00-17:30) is located at the No. 19 Kunshi Lu, behind the Nanjiang Hotel.

By Bus

Kunming bus stations have been undergoing vast adjustment with relocation and closure (by the time of writing ,2011). The 5 new bus stations in different directions are located far outside the city center. The exact bus arrangements are still unknown and thus detail research is required before the plan. The following station and bus information is for reference.

The West (Majie Town, Xishan District, Chinese: 西山区马街镇) : the buses link with western cities of Yunnan Province like Dali, Lijiang, Deqin, etc and other provinces.

The South (near the Xin Luosiwan Shang Mao Cheng, Chinese: 新螺蛳湾商贸城) the buses connect with southern part of Yunan Province like the Xishuangbanna, Yuanyang, and some outbound regions like Laos.

The East (Panlong District, Chinese: 盘龙区): the buses reach eastern and southeast destinations of Kunming like Shilin County and some places of Yunnan Province.

The North (Longtou Jie, Panlong District, 盘龙区龙头街) : the buses reach northeastern Kunming and some places of Yunnan Province and other Provinces.

The northwest (Puji Village, Wuhua District, Chinese: 五华区普吉村): the buses reach northwestern parts of Kunming.

How do I get around the city?

  • Public bus is a great choice to explore Kunming. More than 50 routes of bus can conveniently take you to main street, scenic area, and suburb places of Kunming. The buses usually charge RMB 1 and run from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm. And yet Bus No. A1 charges RMB 2 and runs among the main scenic spots in Kunming like Expo Park, Kunming Museum, Jinma Fang, Yunnan Nationalities Village, etc.
  • Taxi charges RMB 8 (daytime) and 10 RMB (night) as the flag down fare.
  • Bicycle is also one nice choice to explore this laid-back city. Many backpacker hotels and hostels offer bike rental service at around RMB 15 per day.


What is the local favorite cuisine and where can I get them?

Cross-the-bridge noodles (过桥米线), varieties of wild mushrooms, steam pot chicken ( 汽锅鸡, herb-infused chicken cooked in a steam pot) are the local favorite dishes in Kunming. 1910 South Railway Station (1910 火车南站) at Houjie Xiang (后街巷) and its neighbor Shanghe Huiguan (上河会馆) is a good choice to taste the authentic local flavors.

Local special snacks are available in Shuncheng Jie (顺成街), Jingxin Jie (景新街), Xinan Shangye Da Sha (西南商业大厦), Meishi Cheng at Baoshan Jie (宝善街的美食城), etc.


What are local specialties and where should I go for shopping?

Kunming's main shopping districts around the area of Qingnian Lu (青年路) , Dongfeng Lu (东风路), Zhengyi Lu (正义路) have many large department stores and supermarkets where local specialties like fresh tropical fruits, tea, Burma gemstone, highland cordyceps are available.

If you are a flower addict, the downtown biggest flower market-- No. 1 Chajie flower market (岔街1号花卉市场, the relocated Shangyi Jie flower and bird market), is worthy of a visit.

Leisure Activities

Where can I spend my spare time?

Some leisure entertainment is easily available in downtown Kunming, especially the Kundu area (昆都) and Jinma Biji Fang area (金马碧鸡坊). Green Lake area (翠湖) is crammed with bars and clubs for big spenders.

For more outdoor or workout choices, you could consider Mallard Lake (野鸭湖) for karting and horse riding or Spring Soul Garden Spa and Resort (安宁温泉) for a cozy thermal spring spa. If your visit time happens to be November to March, Green Lake Park should be an interesting spots for thousands of Larus ridibundus migrate at that time.


Are there any interesting local festivals held in Kunming?

Yes. Kunming is home to various ethnic nationalities and therefore nurtures many ethnic festivals all the year round.

Golden Temple Market (金殿庙会)

The temple market takes place on 8th-10th days of the first lunar month (late Feb. or early Mar.) in Golden Temple Park. The market is bustling with a variety of local special snacks, specialties, flowers, entertainment activities, performances and the like.

March Street Festival (三月三)

On the 3rd of lunar March (usually early Apr.), the ethnic people flock to the parks and scenic spots for a spring break, esp. more alive at Golden Temple Park (金殿公园) and Western Hills Forest Park (西山森林公园). Dance and song shows can be viewed on this festival.

The Torch Festival (彝族火把节)

The traditional Torch Festival is held on 24th day of the lunar June (usually late July or early Aug.) in Shilin County (Stone Forest). Villagers dress up and flock to the designated area to watch bullfights, wrestling at daytime and have bonfire parades and singing and dancing shows in the evening.

Yunnan Nationality Village also is an easy choice to glimpse at main traditional minority festivals and ceremonies.