Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, is the political, economic and cultural center and also the transport and communication hub of the province. Kunming has no bitter cold in winter and heat in summer with blossoms opening all the year round. Hence it has enjoyed the reputation of the ‘Spring City’. With a history more than 2,400 years, it owns its importance to the fact that is was the gateway to the well-known South Silk Road that facilitated trade with Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India.
Kunming’s alluring high land scenery, bewitching karsts landform, varied and exotic habitats and customs, places of historical interest can be found at major scenic spots in and around the city, such as Dianchi Lake, Stone Forest, Villages of Ethnic Culture, and Grand View Garden. Besides, the city is the place one can fully experience Yunnan’s minority culture with 26 ethnic minorities like Yi, Bai, Miao, Dai and Naxi in the region, each of them has their own featured festivals.
Yunnan is an important passage between southwest China and Southeast Asia. it has developed advanced highway, railway, river, and air transportation systems. The Chengdu-Kunming Railway and the Guiyang-Kunming Electric Railway link Yunan to the national railway network. So far more than 50 regional, national and International flight routes have been opened. Kunming Wujiaba International Airport boasts an air transportation network connected to all major countries in Southwest Asia. An across-province highway network, with Kunming as the center and national and provincial highways as the framework, has been formed in the province. The highways linking its major cities are all high-ranked. Its main watercourses are the Jinsha River and the Lancang-Mekong River, and its key ports include the Jinghong Port, Simao Port, Dali Port, Shuifu Port and Suijiang Port.
Located in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Kunming is located at an altitude of 1,900 m above sea level and at latitude just north of the Tropic of Cancer.
Kunming is close to Dianchi Lake in the south, surrounded on three sides by mountains and faces the Dianchi Lake plain. Kunming is the forefront and the portal that China facing Southeast Asia, South Asia and even the Middle East, of southern Europe and Africa. It has unique location advantage of connecting Guizhou-Guangxi to the coast in the east, passing through Sichuan and Chongqing into the central plains in the north, reaching Thailand and Cambodia via Vietnam and Laos in the south, and connecting Myanmar, India and Pakistan in the west.
Kunming has a long history, splendid culture, and it is one of the first batch of 24 national historical and cultural cities that the state council released which has more than 2200 years history of the city and 3000 years of civilization of Dianchi area. About 30000 years ago, there was human life in Dianchi lake area.
Located at an elevation of 1,890 m on the Yungui Plateau with low latitude and high elevation, Kunming has one of the mildest climates in China, characterized by short, cool dry winters with mild days and crisp nights, and long, warm and humid summers, but much cooler than the lowlands. The weather never gets very hot in summer; the temperature has exceeded 30°C (86°F) only on a handful of occasions. However, freak snowfalls occur in occasional winters. Controlled by a subtropical highland climate (Koppen classification Cwb), average highs are 15.4 °C (60 °F) in winter and 24 °C (75 °F) in summer. With its perpetual spring-like weather which provides the ideal climate for plants and flowers, Kunming is known as the “City of Eternal Spring”. The city is covered with blossoms and lush vegetation all the year round. The period from May to October is the rainy season and the rest of the year is dry. The city has a mean annual rainfall of 1,010 mm (40 in), with an annual sunshine period of 2,250 hours and an annual frost-free period of 230 days.