My favourite hiking, the West Mt

Kunming is surrounded by mountains on three sides and the forested ranges in the North and West of the City have well established hiking trails, ancient sites, beautiful scenery and a superb climate all of which combine to provide an ideal environment for hikers. As a long term resident of Kunming, I like many others have developed a passion over the years for hiking, especially on the West Mountain and it is now an essential part of my life on weekends.

Hiking to Maomaoqing village at the rear of the West Mt, is for me an ideal way to relax and experience Kunming’s local lifestyle. The village is my favorite destination given that it provides some of the best food prepared from fresh locally grown produce. 


There are two ways to get to the village. One can take a local minibus from the bus terminal, a short ride which costs 10 yuan each way. The other is to hike to the village from the terminal. I and most of my friends, prefer the latter, because of the exercise it provides as well as the views along the way and I comment this to all travelers.

Motor vehicles are forbidden from entering the West Mt Park, making the roads safer for hikers and cyclists whilst providing an opportunity for hikers to enjoy the pristine forest environment. 

The first stop on the way up is the Huating Temple which is the biggest Buddhist temple in Kunming. Nestled in dense forests, the temple is an ideal spot to rest. During Buddhist festivals one can hear the serene chants of the Monks inside the temple. It is quite different to other temples in Kunming. The doors on most the rooms of the side buildings are adorned with special wood carvings which combine to provide one long story—the Pilgrim to the West or Xi You Ji in Chinese—and if you know a little about the story, you will not fuss over the Monkey and the Pig in the story. 


The next stop is the Taihua Temple about 2 km away. Near the entrance gate to the Temple stands a huge 600-year-old gingko tree which according to legend was planted by one of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty. 

From the Taihua Temple, a 40 minute climb up the mountain will bring one to Maomaoqing Village which provides one with countryside views and its beautiful, refreshing surroundings.


Maomaoqing is an outdoor paradise not only for hikers, but also for cyclists. Each family in the village owns a restaurant and can offer visitors accommodation in comfortable tidy lodges.

To get to the village by bus, leave by 8:30 am from Mianshan Bus terminal, and you will arrive at the village by 12:00, just in time for lunch. The set menu is more than adequate for two to three people and costs about 15 yuan per person. Of course one can also order seasonal green and wild vegetables.

After lunch, you can choose to go on to the Dragon Gate in the park (a ticket outlet has been set up near the village), or just wander around the top of the mountain taking in the spectacular views on all sides. The walk to the Dragon Gate is mostly downhill through the forests with magnificent views across the forested park, West Lake and Dianchi Lake.

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