Mountain Futures Conference

Yunnan, China, October 2020

Introduction to the City of Kunming

Kunming City is located in the highlands of Southwest China. It is the capital of Yunnan Province. Its altitude is approximately 1900 meters. In China, Kunming is famous for being the “Spring City,” with an average annual temperature hovering near 20℃. However, there is a fairly large temperature discrepancy between mornings and evenings, characteristic in a highland climate. Because of this, Kunming locals have described the weather here as like “springtime year-round, but as soon as it rains, it will suddenly feel like winter.” In light of this, visitors to the “Spring City” may also need to prepare warmer winter clothing and a heavy jacket to stay warm.

          There are many locales worth visiting in the “Spring City.” Green Lake, located in the city center, is a favorite for locals and travelers alike. Just east of the lake is Yuantong Temple, a must-see for any appreciator of ancient Buddhist architecture. Yunnan University north of the lake has a beautiful campus replete with ginkgo trees. In the north of the city, the Kunming Institute of Botany’s East and West Botanical Gardens feature a wide range of stunning flora, and the nearby Black Dragon Pool Park draws visitors from far off lands to explore its sprawling botanical grounds.

          Food in Yunnan tends to be spicy and sour. Rice noodles are an extremely common dish. There are abundant halaal options, as Yunnan has a sizable indigenous Muslim population, but in the countryside, many farmers use pig oil to cook dishes. Yunnan, as China’s ethnic mélange, features a wide variety of culinary options. If you’re feeling bold, try the Dai minority’s shou zhua fan, a kind of pilaf eaten with the hands. For further information, please feel free to consult Wikipedia, and for more current happenings, the local ex-pat website GoKunming has updated listings: https://www.gokunming.com/en/

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