By Zhou Mengya in Features

In the heart of Kunming, a beacon of knowledge and learning stands tall. Yunnan University, one of the largest and most prestigious universities in China, is a testament to the country's commitment to education and progress. As a member of the "Double First Class" initiative, a government plan aimed at cultivating world-class institutions, Yunnan University is a symbol of China's academic prowess.

The biggest lake inside the Chenggong campus

The university's roots trace back to December 1922. Originally known as the "University of the Eastern Land," it was renamed Yunnan University in 1934. Over the years, the university has evolved, adapting to the changing needs of society and the country, and has made significant contributions to China's development. Its original campus, located in Beimen Jie near the serene Green Lake Park, has been a cornerstone of the city's academic heritage. However, this article shines a spotlight on its newer counterpart in Chenggong district,

As you step off the metro at University City Station and step inside the campus after 5 minutes walk, you're greeted by grand staircases that lead to Mingyuan Square, the beating heart of the campus. These stairs have already borne witness to countless stories of ambition, perseverance, and success, each step echoing with the dreams of students past and present.


The campus is a sight to behold. Nestled near the shores of Dianchi Lake, the university is a blend of traditional and modern architecture. The tranquil environment and beautiful scenery provide an ideal backdrop for academic pursuits, making it a haven for students and faculty alike.

The university's academic offerings are as diverse as they are comprehensive, reflecting its commitment to comprehensive education. The institution comprises 28 schools, offering 84 undergraduate majors. In addition to its undergraduate offerings, the university has 14 post-doctoral research stations. These academic structures support a myriad of research endeavors, with institutes dedicated to fields such as biotechnology, environmental science, and ethnic minority studies, ensuring that Yunnan University remains at the forefront of diverse academic pursuits.


The legacy of Yunnan University is not just confined to its campus. It has produced a number of notable alumni who have made significant contributions in various fields. Among them are Li Lanqing, a former Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China; Zhang Yuhuan, a renowned Chinese writer and translator; Yang Zhenning, a Nobel laureate in Physics; and Zhang Yimou, a famous Chinese film director, producer, and actor.

As you explore the campus, you will discover a gastronomic paradise, offering a diverse array of dining options. From traditional Chinese cuisine to international fare, the campus caters to every palate. And for those in search of a quick snack or a cup of coffee, local cafes and milk tea shops offer a taste of the local culture.

Just a stone's throw away from the campus, Shilin Street awaits. This bustling street is a favorite among students, offering a myriad of dining options and a cinema, making it the perfect place to unwind after a day of classes.

Black swans kept inside the campus

Today, Yunnan University remains an illustrious epicenter of knowledge and scholarly pursuit in Southwest China. Its storied history, robust academic offerings, and distinguished alumni collectively shape the nation's educational tapestry. Whether you're an aspiring academic or an inquisitive traveler, Yunnan University offers a harmonious blend of knowledge, culture, and scenic splendor. It represents more than just an institution; it embodies China's unwavering dedication to education and progress.

As the sun sets over Kunming, Yunnan University stands as a testament to China's rich academic and cultural heritage. It's more than just an institution; it's a journey through time and tradition. For travelers venturing through Yunnan, a visit here offers a unique blend of knowledge and scenic beauty. Immerse yourself in its narrative, allowing it to enrich your Kunming journey.

Photos: Martin Li