Kunming is located in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau province in south-west China. It covers an area of 21,501 km² and its urban area covers 6,200 km². It is skirted on three sides by mountains, with one side opening onto the Dianchi Lake. The jurisdiction of Kunming includes five city districts, one city and eight rural counties.
Kunming has a history of more than 2400 years. In ancient times it was an important gateway to the celebrated Silk Road which conducted to Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India.
Today the city is the political, economical and cultural center of Yunnan and the provincial center for transport, science and technology; it is also home to several universities, museums, galleries and other important institutions and consequently has become the most popular center for tourism in Southwest China.
Kunming is a significant horticultural centre in China, providing products such as grain, wheat, horsebeans, corn, potato and fruit such as peaches, apples, oranges, grapes and chestnuts. Kunming is world-famous for its flowers and flower-growing exports. More than 400 types of flowers are commonly grown in Kunming. The camellia, yulan magnolia, azalea, fairy primrose, lily and orchid are known as the six famous flowers of the city and which can be found in the Kunming Botanical Garden, where 4,000 varieties of tropical and subtropical plants grow profusely.
Copper is smelted with hydroelectric power. Coal is mined, and the city has a few iron and steel complexes. Other manufactures include phosphorus, chemicals, machinery, textiles, paper, cement, foodstuffs, trucks, electrical equipment, building materials and plastics, and it has its own steel plant.
Kunming is the hub of communications in Yunnan and a gateway to China for Southeast Asia. Kunming consists of previously walled city, a modern commercial district, residential and university areas. Jinma Biji Square, Jinbi Square and Dongfeng Square along with Nanping Jie, Jinma Biji Fang, Renmi Lu and Zhengyi Lu and Jingxing are great places for tourists and locals to enjoy entertainment and shopping.
Among the major scenic spots of Kunming are the Dianchi Lake, the Cuihu Lake, the Village of Ethnic Culture, the Jindian (Golden Temple) Park, the Western Mountain Forest Reserve, the Stone Forest, the Jiuxiang Scenic Belt, the Yuantong Mountain, the Grand View Pavilion, and the Qiongzhu Temple.
Kunming has more than one hundred star rated hotels and a variety of a thousand or so guest houses. These provide tourists a wide choice of somewhere to relax after whole day's tour. Tourism is a key part of Kunming as it is one of the major cities that mainland Chinese go to as tourists, with more than 16 million Chinese visiting it per year and another 600,000 foreign tourists visiting annually.
Kunming enjoys a pleasant climate and does its best to live up to its title of”The City of Eternal Spring”. The reasons for this are its elevation and location just north of the tropic of cancer. The average temperature in winter is 8ºC and 20ºC in summer.
Kunming is also renowned for many delicious local dishes; the most famous ones are Across Bridge Rice Noodle and Xuanwei Ham. In the night markets you will find many pubs, bars and cafes that serve good quality meals.
In observing and participating in the festivals and traditional ceremonies of the minority nationalities, tourists can understand many folkways and customs. You can understand religious beliefs, fairy tales and legends, dances and songs, and recreation. Their festivals and ceremonies also reflect their different life styles, productive habits, ideological concept and social structures constituted under different periods of history, different areas and different cultural background.