10 Things to do in Kunming, China

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

1) The Yunnan Nationalities Museum is an excellent anthropological museum that describes the different lifestyles and cultures of ethnic minorities of Yunnan Province. This is the best museum that I've been to in a long time (more details coming up soon).

Ethnic dress at the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

2) Green Lake Park is a popular park and lake in the center of the city. I love heading to Green Lake early in the morning to watch locals practice Tai Chi and dance.

Green Lake park in Kunming

3) The Yuan Tong Temple is a Buddhist temple in the center of Kunming that is from about 1,200 years ago. The admission fee is 6 RMB.

The Yuan Tong Temple in Kunming

4) You can find tea tastings at numerous tea houses and markets throughout Kunming. Tea tastings at tea markets are typically free, though it is expected that you purchase some tea. Try visiting one of the many tea houses around the southern side of the park (try Cuihu W Rd. and Cuihu S Rd.)

Tea for a tea tasting in Kunming

5) Eat rice noodles. The rice noodles in Yunnan are the best (I am certainly biased). Eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! You can find awesome rice noodles throughout the city.

Yunnan Rice Noodles

6) West Mountain (Xi Shan) is a perfect day to spend the day hiking. West Mountain is also very close to Dian Lake and the Yunnan Nationalities Museum.

7) I'm always up for a visit to a botanical garden (I'm a botanist- go figure). The Kunming Botanical Gardens certainly don't disappoint. The gardens are particularly gorgeous from February to May when magnolias and/or rhododendron are in bloom. The Kunming Botanical Garden is a bit far out of the city, so if you are unfamiliar with the bus system, I'd suggest taking a taxi (tell the driver 'Kunming Zhi Wu Yuan zai Heilongtan' or find the address at this website)

The Kunming Botanical Garden

8)  The Bird and Flower Market is an interesting place to pick up souvenirs or people watch. The city is slowly demolishing the old-style wooden buildings; however, if you visit soon you will be able to see the few that remain.

The Bird and Flower Market

9) There are major shopping centers throughout Kunming, the most famous being Nan Ping Street. I love heading to this area to people watch and shop at international stores such as Uniqlo and Zara.

Umbrellas in KunmingShopping at Kunming's Nan Ping Street

10) Dian Lake (Dian Shi) is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province. At Dian Shi is the Grand View Park that has a pavilion built in the 1800s.

11) Bonus! Try excellent Yunnan coffee - even Starbucks sells it!

Yunnan Coffee

Kunming - The City of Eternal Spring


Today I'm linking up with Treasure Tromp for TreatYoSelfThursday!


  1. I'll definitely be using these recommendations if I get the chance to plan a trip one day! x

    1. Great! I'd love to help with your planning when you do go :)

  2. Replies
    1. They are really fun - and such a bargain when they are free!

  3. We liked Kunming - after 6 weeks travelling in China, the air was a welcome surprise- so much pollution in the other main cities.

    Another thing we LOVED about Kunming (and China generally) is people (mainly the elderly) gathering early morning in the parks to do their exercises, tai chi etc. Really moving to see:


    1. I love Kunming and I do love to see people gathering for their exercises. I also love the diversity and the food.

  4. That nationalities museum looks so interesting! I didn't have time to go to West Mountain when I was in Kunming, but I did love the Stone Forest. It's a bit far from the city though.

    1. We wanted to go to the Stone Forest but it is a bit expensive and we were running out of money towards the end of our trip. It will have to wait until our next trip. The Nationalities Museum was excellent and I talk more about it on Monday.