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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top sights to see in Kunming - Exploring the Spring City
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top sights to see in Kunming - Exploring the Spring City

Widely known as the "Spring City" thanks to its agreeable climate, Kunming is one of China's most desirable destinations. These are just a few of the top things to see on your next trip.


Bamboo Temple (Qiongzhu Temple)

A serene temple dedicated to Zen Buddhism, the Bamboo Temple is located on Yu'an Mountain. The original temple was built during the Yuan Dynasty but has since burned down and been reconstructed several times over by each successive dynasty. The temple is one that should definitely be visited by anyone interested in sculpture or art. During a renovation in the 19th century, a Sichuanese master sculptor and his apprentices designed 500 sculptures in a mesmerising jumble of realism and surrealism. The sculptures are so lifelike that they were frowned on by his contemporaries, and upon completion, he disappeared without a trace. Aside from the sculptures, the temple houses a collection of literature that ranges from poetry by a monk to scrolls belong to an ancient general.


Yúnnán Provincial Museum

At first glance, the old building that looks like it came from the set of a 1950s movie might not look too appealing, but step inside and discover the interesting exhibitions of the Yúnnán Provincial Museum. The exhibits include collections of prehistoric and cultural value, as well as a section on the minorities of Yúnnán, with several displays highlighting ethnic costumes and arts.


Stone Forest

The stone forest is a massive landscape of enormous karst formations that date back over 270 million years ago. The limestone formations were created by a combination of wind erosion, water and seismic activity. The forest is separated into different areas, but the main one which people refer to is the Greater and Lesser Stone Forests - the stones here are peculiarly shaped and rise majestically like tall stone trees. Visitors can walk among the complex stone formations which form several different shapes that have been liked to cones, mushrooms and even animal and man-shaped figures. The stones are scattered both densely and sparsely, with green trees and the odd pool of water breaking up the formations. The stone forest is quite a distance from the main city, so if you're staying at a hotel in Kunming, like the modern Grand Park Kunming, do check if they can arrange transport for you.


Dragon Gate

Outside of the city lies the Western Hills which form part of a mountain range that is best known for its evergreen forests and several man-made structures, including the dragon gate. Cut into the rock face of a cliff high up on the mountain, the dragon gate is a temple consisting of a group of grottoes, corridors, pavilions, and sculptures that were hand-carved into the cliff by a Taoist monk and his co-workers between 1781 and 1835. In addition to the spectacular architecture is the stunning views. Visitors will have panoramic views of Dianchi Lake and the surrounding valley from a natural cliff-top platform


Sanqing Ge

Located along the mountainside, Sānqīng Gé was the former villa of a Yuan dynasty prince, which was later turned into a temple dedicated to the 3 main deities in Taoism. A chairlift is located nearby if you want to skip the final ascent up the mountain to the peak.

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