Nicknamed the "Spring City" thanks to its mild climate, Kunming is a relaxed city with temples, lakes, museums and shopping opportunities aplenty. An easy-going city that has adapted well to modern life, it's a wonderful place to spend a vacation in southern China.
Kunming's past stretches back well over 2,000 years and there are many sights to enjoy, including Taoist shrines like Sānqīng Gé and Buddhist sites like Yuantong.
One of the great things about Kunming is how green it is. Head to zoos and see the cherry blossom at sprawling parks like Yuantong Mountain, or picnic by city center lakes like Green Lake in between sights.
About an hour's drive south of Kunming, the Stone Forest is a fascinating place, filled with limestone pillars and strange rock formations.
Back in Kunming, don't miss outstanding museums like the Zoology Museum and the ancient Han artefacts in the Wu Mayao Museum of Anthropology.
If you love to shop, Kunming is a fabulous destination, offering the colors and smells of the Flower and Bird Market, and a vast selection of bargains at Zhangguanying Secondhand Market.
Kunming averages around 60°F all year-round and doesn't experience great climatic extremes. To catch local festivals, schedule a trip between October and March.
Changshui International Airport has excellent domestic connections. From the airport, bus 919 costs CNY13 and there's an express bus which costs CNY25. Taxis will charge about CNY100.
You can travel by rail to Kunming from Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou. The journey from Beijing takes 12 hours (at least) and prices start at CNY1,000.
From Hong Kong, follow the G80 through Nanning all the way to Kunming. The G56 runs directly to Kunming from Shanghai as well.
Long distance buses are run by the Chinese state and provide a cheap, comfortable alternative to trains.
Some of the best places to stay in Kunming include the luxurious Wyndham Grand Plaza and the Lakeview Golf Hotel, along with the similarly upscale Intercontinental Kunming.
Guandu – Styled as Guandu "Old Town", this attractive area has been built in a historical style and is home to many of the city's finest temples.
Panlong – Situated in northern Kunming, Panlong is a tidy area with a diverse population and is a great base away from the center of town.
Beimen – Another central neighborhood, Beimen is home to Yuantong Temple and park, which is a great place to relax with its cherry trees and zoo.
City buses charge CNY1 for most journeys (CNY2 on models with air conditioning) and run from 6:00 until around 23:30 every day.
Taxis charge a meter drop of around CNY8, then CNY2 per mile after that.
Car rental options include Senlong, Luchang and Linteng, where you'll find smaller vehicles for around CNY50.
The best place to shop for crafts items, clothes and electronics is the market at Zhangguanying, but there are also malls like the Golden Eagle Shopping Center and Brilliant Plaza.
Local supermarkets include Carrefour and Zhenxin, and you can expect to pay around CNY11 for 12 eggs.
Standout eateries in Kunming are easy to find. Some of the best include Yíng Jiāng Dǎi Wèi Yuán, where sweet and sour cooking is a specialty, the rigorously organic Tǔ Shēngshí Guǎn and 1910 La Gare du Sud, which cooks up Yunnan dishes in an old colonial-era property. Meals will cost about CNY60-CNY100.