On your first day in Kunming, you’ll visit the gorgeous Qiongzhu Temple to explore its architectural and religious significance. You’ll visit the magnificent Stone Forest and the charming Golden Temple the next day. You’ll go to Lijiang the following day to explore the exquisite Baisha Mural and the veteran Lijiang Ancient Town. You’ll return to Kunming the last day to visit Western Hills and the elaborately carved Dragon Gate grottoes.
You’ll be picked up at the airport in Kunming by the local guide and chauffeured to a nice hotel in the city. In the afternoon, you’ll start your journey by visiting the splendid Qiongzhu Temple, which is honored as one of the national cultural relics in China and hosts the top-grade artistic achievements 7 hundred years ago.
Qiongzhu Temple (Bamboo Temple) is a Buddhist temple located 12 kilometers to the northwest of Kunming. It was established during the Yuan dynasty as the first temple dedicated to Zen Buddhism in Yunnan. The major temple is enclosed by a stretch of courtyard walls and gables, emphasizing its status as the sacred centerpiece of the area. The temple is most notable for the painted clay sculptures of the 500 Buddhist arhats. Each arhat is vividly featured with unique facial expressions and body gestures, which marks a radical separation from the conventional style of Buddhist sculptures.
You’ll be escorted by the guide to enjoy tasty local dishes for dinner. After that, you can start exploring the city by yourself. Kunming is a fast-changing cosmopolitan that still retains its ancient charm. The bustling Kundu Night Market reflects the city’s modern prosperity with a cluster of bars, cafes and retail outlets, while the charming Golden Horse and Jade Phoenix Archway provides an insight into the city’s ancient grandeur.
500 Buddhist arhats, Qiongzhu Temple
After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeured to visit the iconic Stone Forest. We’ll head towards the Stone Forest located 90 kilometers to the south of Kunming. Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created an art gallery of limestone sculpture there. You’ll be amazed to discover the striking resemblance between the stones and trees, animals and even fungi. The quintessential karst landscape will make every visitor lost in wonder.
Next up, you’ll be escorted back to Kunming in the afternoon to visit the charming Golden Temple. Located only 11 kilometers away from Kunming, the gorgeous Golden Temple sits on top of Mingfeng Hill in a surrounding of sweeping greenery. It’s the most renowned Taoist shrine in Yunnan province and is largely decorated in gleaming copper. You can spot copper-made Buddha statues, wall decorations and banners almost everywhere. When approaching the temple by climbing uphill on winding stone steps and passing through a series of ‘Heavenly Gates’, the outline of the temple will gradually appear on sight and will enchant you almost immediately with its elaborate architectural style and sedative tranquility.
You’ll take the morning flight to Lijiang. Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up by the local guide at the airport and chauffeured to visit Baisha Murals. The exquisite Baisha Mural was created 600 years ago, it consists of a series of paintings representing the first-class craftsmanship at that time and reflecting the spiritual pursuit and mundane life of Naxi people in ancient times. Not only does it stand out as a rare treasure of art, but it also serves as an important source of information for research on national religions, arts and history.
After that, you’ll be escorted to visit the veteran Lijiang Ancient Town. This well-preserved UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site covers an immense area of 1255 square kilometers. Once the habitation of local Naxi people, the place is now crammed with a profusion of fancy restaurants and boutique hotels, yet its enduring allure never fails to fascinate visitors. You can have an exploration of what the stores have to offer at daytime and stroll through its meandering streets when the whole place is lit up by lanterns and neon at night. The city was found on the streets radiating out from the landmark Square Street, which can help you better navigate the maze-like place just in case you get lost in your ambling.
Lijiang Ancient Town
You’ll take a morning flight to return to Kunming and explore the beauty of the last destination on the itinerary. Located 15km away from the city, the Western Hills are a national conservation area. They’re nicknamed ‘Sleeping Beauty Hills' because they appear like a young lady laying beside Dianchi Lake with her face upward and her hair trailing into the water when being viewed from a distance. You’ll catch a chairlift at the foot of the mountain to skip the fairly steep ascent to the summit to visit the Dragon Gate — a massive exquisite stone carved edifice with a collection of grottoes, sculptures, corridors, tunnels and pavilions that were hacked from the cliff between 1781 and 1853 by a Taoist monk and his co-workers. You can stand on the edge of the cliff by holding the railing, looking downward to experience the steepness of the hill and enjoy the spectacle of Dianchi Lake.
At the end of the journey, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your departure flight.
Dragon Gate grottoes
|Kunming Bank Hotel
|Kunming Golden Dragon Hotel
|Kunming Jinhua International Hotel
|Lijiang Guanfang Hotell
|Lijiang Gucheng Zhuyuan Hotel
|Lijiang Shiner Hotel
our trip: Day 1 Kunming-78KM-Stone Forest-Kunming. ( Breakfast and Chinese lunch) Sightseeing: the Stone Forest, Guandu Ancient Town,Jingang Pagoda, You will drive 86 km to the Stone Forest. An old local saying says that \'If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time more..
Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!] by Michael Brown,05/02/2013