Ramble on Kunming Lake, Dreamily Return to Ancient Yunnan-style Castle

Dianchi Lake is a "plateau pearl" in Kunming, also known as Kunming Lake. Driving along Dianchi Lake not only enables the tourists to see beautiful scenery of the plateau lake but also allows them to appreciate Longmen in Xishan Mountain and overlook panoramic view of Kunming. The visitors are recommended to travel to ancient Yunnan kingdom, experience the millennium civilization, stroll the wetland field of Dianchi Lake, view the landscape of lake and hill, smell the fragrance of grasses and flowers and roam amid in ancient Jinning Town to feel the time of aging.


Day 1

Step across Longmen and Pass through Ancient Yunnan

Longmen, Xishan Mountain - Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park (one hour’s drive for approximate 50.2 km)

Driving to Xishan Forest Park, the first stop around Dianchi Lake, climb up and look far into the distance, understand the culture of Xishan Mountain, and experience spectacular scenery of Dianchi Lake described in the “longest couplet under heaven”, recalling the past and reflecting current life.

Visiting the Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park along Southern Lake Ring Road, you can not only view exquisite bridges, flowing water, tall and jagged trees, easy and foraging egrets, seeming to be a harmonious and beautiful ink painting, exuberant but also experience the "water" cultural and "fishing" cultural connotations of famous ancient Yunnan city. The photography lovers may also reap many works of their own satisfactions.

The architectural design of the Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park is of quite Yunnan-style characteristics, and the design is ingenious. The park is decorated with wide range of lavender fields. Pontoons and footpaths are available in the park. Yihai Pier and other attractions are unforgettable. The visitors are allowed to sit on the sightseeing tour, ride a bicycle, or take the boat featured with "long ridge and short ledge" of the ancient Yunnan kingdom to learn the culture of the maritime silk road and the Zheng He.



Name: Xishan Forest Park.

Address: 15 km to western suburb of Kunming.

Admission: Free

Introduction: Xishan Mountain is featured with up-and-down peaks, green forest, buzzing birds, flowing spring in gully stream, splendid and flourishing cloud and nice scenery.

Name: Longmen

Address: Longmen Resort, Xishan National Resort, Xishan Road, Xishan District, Kunming.

Admission price: 40 Yuan per person


Day 2

Archaeology • Yunnan culture-featured ancient town • slow-paced life

Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster – Jincheng Ancient Town

Drive to Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster, a major historical and cultural site under state protection. Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster, located in Shizai Village, Shangsuan Township, Jinning County, to the shore of Dianchi Lake five kilometers away, covers an area of 5,000 square meters approximately, is the graveyard for a generation or generations of kings and their families and servants, being the cultural center of Yunnan, an excellent representative of ancient Yunnan-bonze art, and also the representative of bronze cultural relics in southeast Asia and the world civilization.

Since 1955, Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster has been subject to five excavations, a total of 86 combs and over five thousand cultural relics were unearthed. A total of twenty tombs were cleaned up that time, and a large number of bronze ware with extremely local characteristics, excellent casting technique, distinctive shape unearthed. Especially one “Stamp of Yunnan King” with circling & winding button in gold texture was found, confirming the records of Records of the Grand Historian · Biography of Minorities in southwest China.

Most of burial wares are sourced from big-sized tombs, and such wares are divided into the bronze, gold, silver, iron, jade, agate, turquoise and sea shell and so on. The bronze wares occupy the largest proportion, and they are featured with abundant varieties, exquisite craftsmanship, vivid and lively expression form, showing special culture style of the Bronze Age in Yunnan region. One of the most striking is the shell receptacle, which is a kind of bronze ware used to hide the shell (the currency at that time), being unique to Yunnan Kingdom. From late Warring States Period to early Eastern Han Dynasty, the tombs in Shizhai Mountain faithfully record the history of the kingdom from prosperity to decline.


Jincheng Town, as the capital of ancient Yunnan kingdom, the birthplace and the center of Yunnan culture, has a long history along with a unique pattern of ancient residential courtyard, street and exquisite architectural sculpture. There is also a "bamboo birdcage" listed in the intangible cultural heritage, which can be used for tourists to experience the unique craft of bamboo carving.

By walking into Jincheng Ancient Town, you start to flip down through the commencement of historical records. For sequent two thousand years of feudal dynasties, Jincheng was named after Dianchi County in both Xihan and Donghan dynasties, and Jincheng ever served as the jurisdiction venue for Yizhou Prefecture, Jinning Prefecture, Ningzhou Prefecture and Jianning Prefecture (the venue of Tribe Cuan and the castle of Yangcheng in Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom in Tang and Song dynasties). It is no wonder that Yuan Jiagu, a scholar in modern times said in his work titled with Dian Yi: “The Capital is the center of politics. The center of Yunnan remained in Jinning (Jincheng currently) from the Warring States period to Tang Dynasty.

In Sui Dynasty, Jincheng, as the jurisdiction venue of Ningzhou Prefecture, was expanded with urban area in 3.5 kilometers and added with nine gates and twelve passages by prefectural governor Liang Pi. In the 22nd year of Chenghua Period in Ming Dynasty (1486), Jincheng was built with the brick castle, enclosures and four gates in eastern, southern, western and northern directions respectively, which were destroyed or renovated in subsequent period with the duration of hundreds of years. The former defensive wall broken was measured with the circumference in 4,100m and height in 4m according the results of field survey in 1954. It was not completely removed until 1958. Fortunately, dwellings and public buildings of the ancient city of Jincheng in Ming and Qing dynasties were mostly intact though the walls were removed, and they still recalled the prosperous scene of ancient city then.

Ancient Jincheng town has a special status in the history of architecture and urban construction. The layout of urban construction in Ming and Qing dynasties covering an area over 600,000 square meters still remains. Eight streets including Shangxi Street, Xiaxi Street and Guanjing Street consist of pallets and affiliated with dozens of alleyways, which are said to have been preserved till now since the Ming Dynasty. The residential courtyards kept in the streets are mostly of "stilt" and "one seal" structure, adopting "three principals with four stalls and “two principals with two stalls” in the courtyard layouts.


Panlong Temple is one of temples with most prosperous attendance of incense pilgrims in Kunming, which is located in Panlong Mountain, Jinning District, eastern bank of Dianchi Lake, approximately 40 km from downtown Kunming. It is known as one of three major Buddhist shrines in Yunnan together with Xishan Mountain in Kunming and Jizu Mountain in Binzhou, and it was unveiled to be a major historical and cultural site under protection of Kunming in 1983.

Panlong Temple, was built in the seventh year o