Kunming is located in the mountains of Yunnan Province and is known for its mountain air, mellow climate, and stunning scenery. In the summer months the elevation of the city means that the smog that is found in many Chinese cities is noticeably absent here and you can breathe easier and enjoy the more laid back vibe that seems to cover the city. If you want to travel to China from neighboring Laos of Vietnam then Kunming makes the perfect place to stop off as you cross over the border.
The city of Kunming itself is not the reason that most visitors head to Yunnan, as many of its best attractions can be found in the areas surrounding the city. Still, there are a few points of interest that are worth a look over a few days and it is a pleasant city to wander around. One of the highlights here is Green Lake Park, home of the Green Lake with its emerald waters and relaxed atmosphere. If you are still interested in temples then Yuantong Temple is widely believed to be the prettiest temple in all of Kunming, and makes a nice spot to spend an hour.
Aside from Kunming itself, there are a number of day trips that you can take that allow you to take in more of the surrounding countryside. Of particular note are the Yuanyang Rice Fields, some of the most beautiful terraced rice fields in Asia that rival anything that you might find in Bali or the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines. Another must-see in the area is the Tiger Leaping Gorge which sits high in the mountains and is made up of a fifteen kilometer gap that gives the valley its structure. If you look down, you will see the Yangtze River flowing through the bottom of the valley, and this is truly a spectacular feat of nature. For more remarkable natural wonders in Yunnan, head to Stone Forest in nearby Shilin, where you will see some amazing limestone mountains and karst formations.
At 2,000 meters above sea level Kunming is an enjoyable place to spend a few days, and the day trips from here are what really make a stop worth it. The city has also embraced its reputation as a tourist area so you will find plenty of places to stay and nightlife options, all surrounded by beautiful scenery and crisper, cleaner mountain air.