Kunming’s Myths, Mountains and Temples
Mountains and Temples
Explore Kunming, the City of Spring, and discover the local culture
along with panoramic views of expansive mountain ranges
and intriguing temples full of history, legends and myths.
WHY THIS TOUR?
Situated in the south-western region of China, the capital of Yunnan province is known as the ‘city of eternal spring’ for its pleasant year-round climate. It dates back over 2,400 years and it was the gateway to the famed Silk Road, the ancient merchant route that connected trade between China and the south-west of Asia.
The city is also a focal point of ethnic culture. Twenty-six ethnic minorities such as the Yi, Bai, Miao, Dai and Hani reside in Kunming and its environs. The rich history, spring-like climate, expansive mountain ranges, fertile fields, colourful tribal culture and intriguing temples have attracted visitors for hundreds of years.
08:30 - 17:30
After an early start in the morning, you head out to the suburbs to admire the Western Hills, one of the region’s most mesmerising views. From a distance this mountain range covered in wild flowers and dense forest resembles a sleeping Buddha and has earned the nickname ‘sleeping Buddha hills’. The guide and driver will take you to Dragon Gate, the steepest spot in the Western Hills. The temple seems to almost hang off the side of a steep cliff and it is accessed by a winding staircase and through a stone archway. From here there are spectacular views over the shimmering Dianchi Lake and the expansive valley.
Nearby is Qiongzhu Temple, also known as Bamboo Temple, this is believed to date back to the Tang Dynasty. Tucked away up a mountain road, it is the first temple dedicated to Zen Buddhism in Yunnan. Inside there are many lifelike statues of Buddha and various animals. The guide will be happy to relate some of the myths and stories that surround the Bamboo Temple.
After lunch in a local restaurant, you will make your way back to Kunming to visit the renowned Golden Temple. This Taoist shrine is located on top of Mingfeng Hill in a park-like environment of pines and cypress trees. The temple is not actually made of gold, but from pure bronze – over 200 tonnes! Climb the steps that lead up to the temple. The walls have been made with cast panels covered with exquisite designs and these are well-preserved examples of the smelting and casting techniques common in Yunnan during the Qing Dynasty. Don’t leave without seeing the beautiful statue of the Guanyin Bodhisattva and the 14-tonne bronze bell.
After exploring the temple, the driver will take you back to the hotel.