The Longmen (Dragon Gate) in the Xishan (West Mountains) is a collection of grottos and niches with Daoist motifs that can be reached via paths and steep stairs. The path leads right along the abyss and offers a spectacular view over Dian Lake and Kunming. The Dragon Gate is the most famous sight in Kunming. A cable car starts at Hubin Lu 16 and leads over the Dian Lake to the valley station of the Xishan Suodao. The Xishan Suodao is a chairlift that ends above Longmen. From the station stairs lead down on the steep slope to the grottoes that are spectacular. Then you have to climb the stairs up again. With sturdy shoes and a bit of fitness you can make the way up in less than 30 minutes.
The most important Buddhist temple in Kunming was built around 900 AD. And was expanded in the following dynasties. Today the complex consists of several large halls built during the Yuan Dynasty. In the "Yuantong Temple" there is a lake with bridges, an island and a pond with turtles. Also famous are the two dragon pillars in the main hall.
The Jinma Biji Square is located in the center of Kunming. Here the pedestrian Zhengyi Lu starts. On the square, which can be translated "Square of the Golden Horse (jinma) and green rooster (biji)" there are two magnificent Pailou archways.
The "Xi Si Ta" Western Pagoda is the oldest still-preserved building in the city of Kunming. When working on the tower, a mark on a brick was discovered that could be dated back to 849 AD. The pagoda was part of a temple complex, that has not survived. The Western Pagoda is located about 500 meters south of the Jinmabiji Square.
The "Jinri Lou" is a replica of the southern city gate Nancheng Men. It is in the middle of the Sima Allee, between the west and east pagodas. The street has been redesigned for tourists, with bronze figures of ancient traders.
The "Dongsi Ta" Eastern Pagoda is a copy of the Western Pagoda vis-à-vis. Both pagodas were probably built at the same time, only the Eastern Pagoda collapsed during an earthquake in 1833 and was rebuilt around 1885. Both pagodas are a reminiscent of the "Three Pagodas" in Dali (Yunnan), built around 830. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda Xiao Yan Ta in Xi'an is probably the predecessor of the Yunnan pagodas.
The Temple of the Golden Summit is a Daoist sanctuary in "Jindian" Park. The Jindian Park is located on a hill in the northeast of Kunming. Beautiful temple complex with many designs from the Daoist myths. Laozi founded the philosophy of nature around 550 BC.
As in most Chinese cities, the center of Kunming is dominated by skyscrapers and large department stores. There is no historic old town, everything looks new. But there are a lot of restaurants and bars, making the center of Kunming a nice place to eat out.
The "Zhengyi Lu" is the pedestrian zone of Kunming. At the transition to Dongfeng Square, which was built over an expressway, there is a beautiful chinese gate building.
Welcome to Kunming
The capital of the Yunnan province has officially about 7 million inhabitants on an total area of 21,400 km². Kunming is a nice city at the Dian Lake, surrounded by mountains. The city of Kunming is on an altitude of 1.890 m, therefor the temperatures are quite modest. Most famous sights are the Western Mountains "Xi Shan" and the "Yuantong Temple".
If you are in Kunming, don't miss the Stone Forrest of "Shilin".
The city is at an altitude of 1,900 m, which makes the climate very pleasant. Kunming is on Lake Dianci and surrounded by mountains. Kunming is a relatively clean, pleasant city with a lively center. Air pollution is rather low compared to other Chinese cities. The main attractions include the west mountains "Xishan" with the famous dragon gate "Longmen" and the Buddhist "Yuantong" temple.
One of the greatest attractions of Yunnan is the stone forest Shilin south-east of Kunming.