Transit passengers from 53 countries including the United States, Canada and all members of the European Union can spend up to 144 hours in Kunming, Yunnan province, without a visa. This visa-free policy allows expats from these countries with visas and plane tickets to a third country to transit through Kunming for a visa-free stay of up to 6 days. The below provides a suggested itinerary for a six-day trip in the city.
Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, is dubbed “spring city” or “city of eternal spring” thanks to its year-round temperate climate. Along with a flourishing flower planting industry, it is also reputed as a “flower city”. Many tourists to Yunnan will choose Kunming as their first stop as the city is considered to be a transport hub in Southwest China and a getaway city oriented to Southeast Asian countries.
Day One: Visiting Dianchi Lake
Dianchi Lake, also called Kunming Lake, covers 330 square kilometers and is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan and the sixth-largest in China. The lake lies at the foot of Xishan Mountain and is about 5 km from downtown Kunming, with many must-see tourist attractions nearby, including Daguan Park, Yunnan Nationalities Village, Cuihu Park and Yunnan University.
The scenery around Dianchi Lake is very beautiful. Many visitors choose this place to view a sunrise or sunset. From November to March, red-billed gulls are seen at the lake.
Address: 1318 Dianchi Rd, Xishan district, Kunming
Opening time: all year
Ticket price: free
Founded more than 2,200 years ago, Kunming city was listed in the first batch of 24 national historical and cultural cities by the State Council in 1982. It is home to 25 ethnic groups, including the Yi, Yao and Hani, making it a typically diversified Chinese city. So, how could you miss the chance to experience local ethnic culture? Yunnan Nationalities Village should be a top priority on your travel bucket list when visiting Kunming.
Yunnan Nationalities Village is a national 4A-rated tourist attraction close to Dianchi Lake. It is divided into several sections based on the cultures and customs of 25 local ethnic groups. In addition, a series of singing and dancing activities in the village add more fun for visitors.
Address: 1310 Dianchi Rd, Xishan district, Kunming
Recommended duration for a visit: half day
Ticket price: 90 yuan ($13.50)
50 percent discount for full-time students with valid student cards
Free admission for children under 1.2 meters and visitors over 70 years old with valid certificates
Xishan Mountain scenic spot could be your next stop as it’s easily accessible by cable car from the Yunnan Nationalities Village. The forest park is about 15 km from downtown Kunming with traditional temples the highlight. From the mountaintop, visitors can see the breathtaking scenery of the city and Dianchi Lake.
Recommended duration for a visit: half a day
Ticket price: 40 yuan