Kunming, honored as 'Spring City', is the capital of Yunnan Province, the gateway city in China opened to Southeast Asia and South Asia and a national historical and cultural city. It is an important tourist, commercial and trade city in China, and is one of the important central cities in the western region.
Kunming is located in the central Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, linked to Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in the north, adjacent to Yux City in the southwest, and bordering on Honghe Hani-Yi Autonomous Prefecture in the southeast, Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture in the west and Qujing City in the east. It is the core of the city cluster in the Central Yunnan, the center of Aisa Five-hour Aviation Circle, and one of the cities in the national first-class logistics park. Kunming City sits on a landform with many mountains and plateaus. The terrain is generally high in the north and low in the south, dominated by karst cave and lava landscape, and the lava basin includes Shilin Bazi. It is located in the northern subtropical region, with the low-latitude plateau mountain monsoon climate. There has an annual average temperature of 16.5℃, annual average precipitation of 1450 mm and frost-free period of 278 days, creating a pleasant climate.
Kunming is ringed on three sides by mountains and is adjacent to Dian Lake in the south. Dian Lake is the largest plateau lake in Yunnan Province and the sixth-largest freshwater lake in China, with enchanting beauty along the lakeside. With the climate of 'spring all the year round' formed by locating in a low-latitude plateau, especially the regulation of temperature and humidity by the plateau lake, Dian Lake, it has fresh air, blue sky and pale clouds, bright sunshine and normally-open flowers in all seasons.
It was proposed in Implementation Summary for the Development of Regional International Key City in Kunming that Kunming will focus on building a regional international comprehensive hub, accelerate the construction of 'four centers', i.e., regional international economic & trade center, science & technology innovation center, financial service center and cultural communication center, comprehensively promote the three city brands of 'World Spring City and Flower Capital, Historical and Cultural City and City of Health in China', and speed up the development of Kunming into a regional international key center based on the southwest China, oriented to the whole country and radiating to South Asia and Southwest Asia.
In the coming future, the city running towards us will be a city of economic prosperity with well-developed industry, a city of bloomed vigor with innovation and creativity, a city of modern atmosphere with openness and inclusiveness, a city of cultural charm with compatibility and a city of green health with harmony and habitability.
Head north on Day 4, overnighting in quiet Shaxi (沙溪) Ancient Town and visiting Sideng Jie (寺登街) – the only surviving historic marketplace on the Tea Horse Road (茶马古道; Chama Gudao). The next day, explore a village nearby, or head for Shibao Mountain (石宝山; Shibao Shan) to see ancient Buddhist grottoes. Lijiang (丽江) is your next stop, where you can either stay in busy Dayan (大研) or serene Shuhe (束河).
Spend Day 7 visiting Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山; Yulong Xueshan). Its snow-capped summit and blue glaciers are the highlights; non-climbers can visit Baisha (白沙) and Yuhu (玉湖) villages at the bottom. Catch an early evening bus to Shangri-La for a stay in a Tibetan-style boutique hotel.
If you prefer hiking, head instead to Lijiang on Day 5 and find transport to Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡; Hutiao Xia), the start of an 18km trek. Most hikers reach Zhonghutiao (中虎跳) in two days, from where there are lifts onwards to Shangri-La.
Waking up in the heady sunlight of Shangri-La (香格里拉; Xianggelila), spend Day 8 wandering among the old houses in Dukezong (独克宗) Ancient Town, enjoying butter tea and fresh air, and spinning the giant prayer wheel in Guishan Park (龟山公园; Guishan Gongyuan). Ganden Sumtseling Gompa (噶丹·松赞林寺; Gadan Songzanlin Si), Yunnan’s largest and most spectacular monastery, deserves a long visit on Day 9. Join the Tibetan group dance (锅庄; guozhuang) that evening on the city square.
Relax in your hotel spa on Day 10 and fly from Shangri-La to Kunming. Better yet, fly to Chengdu (成都), Guangzhou (广州) or Xi’an (西安) instead and head off on another adventure.
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