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Dianchi Lake Scenic Area, the cradle of Kunming city


Brief Introduction of Dianchi Lake


Dianchi Lake, also known as Tien Lake or Kunming Chi, is Yunnan’s largest fresh water lake and the number sixth fresh water lake in China. Due to its enticing natural scenery and rich cultural relics, it is honored as “the sparkling pearl embedded into the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau” and “the cradle of Kunming culture”.

Nestling at the foot of West Hill, Dianchi Lake borders Daguan Park (Grand View Park) in the north and greets Jinning County in the south. It is only 5km from downtown and 20km southwest from Kunming. Stretching 39km from north to south and 13.5km from east to west, Dianchi Lake covers an area of 330km2 and boasts a coastline of around 200km. With an altitude of 1,886m and average water depth of 5m, it reaches 8m at the deepest. Haigeng Bank, a natural bank in its northeast area, stretches a distance of 4000km and divides this lake into north and south area known as Outer Lake and Inner Lake respectively. The Outer Lake is 287 km2 and the Inner Lake is 10.67km2. Over 20 rivers instill into it, forming a water area resembles new moon before flowing into the Yangtze River. 

A chain of scenic spots include West Hill Forest Park, Guanyin Hill, Baiyukou Park, Daguan Park (Grand View Park), Haigeng Bank Park, Yunnan Ethnic Village and Zhenhe Park embrace Dianchi Lake, offering spectacular scenery. Among the undulating hills which encircle Dianchi Lake, they are Jinma Hill (Gold Horse Hill) in the east, Jinji Hill (Golden Rooster Hill) in the west, Snake Hill in the north and Crane Hill in the south respectively. Various fishes abound in this lake and its extremely fertile bank is occupied by various crops such as rice, wheat and corns. Hence Dianchi Lake is famed as: “Homeland of Rice and Fish”.

The history of Dianchi Lake can be traced back to more than 2000 years ago. Prior to Warring States Period (475BC-221BC), one tribe named Dian settled down here and lived a primitive and happy life. The Warring State Period saw the establishment of Dian Kingdom. It is not until Yuan dynasty (1206AD-1368AD) did the city Yachicheng was named as Kunming and positioned as a capital city. However, this time-honored summer resort and top holiday destination suffered heavy pollution during the past decade. Great effort and huge sum of money are devoted to restore it. Hopefully in future, it will assume the former crystal clean status.




Dianchi Lake, Daguan Park( Grand View Park)

Dianchi Lake, Yunnan Ethnic Village

See Black-headed Gull during Autumn and winter in Dianchi Lake

Dianchi Lake Haigeng Bank Park


Highlights of Dianchi Lake

Guanyin Hill: Enveloped by vast water area of Dianchi Lake, Guanyin Hill belongs to the stretch of West Hill. With an altitude of 2,040m (6,693ft), it slides into the Dianchi Lake and offers the most amazing perspective of this lake. Covered with dense vegetation, Guanyin Hill harbors a seven-tier temple on its summit: Guanyin Temple. This hollow brick temple was built during Ming dynasty and is over 450 years old. Characterized by stately architectures, exquisite pagodas, delicate stone inscriptions and moving legends, this place breathes rich Buddhism atmosphere and mysterious flavor. 

Baiyukou Park: Situated at the west bank of Dianchi Lake, Baiyukou Park is 40km from Kunming. It sinks into Dianchi Lake like a peninsular and is blessed with exuberant forest and clear water. At the north side of this park, there is a plat area near the cliff which faces the lake. A magnificent Europe style stone villa built at early 20th century stands here. At the southeast end of this villa sit a bay and a stone bank, two ideal sightseeing places. The water here reaches as long as 11km, thus you can gain the broadest vision. In Baiyukou Park, you can catch stunning beauty of Dianchi Lake during different weather conditions: in sunny days, gulls will flutter above the surging snow white waves against the distant mountains. While during rainy days, Dianchi Lake will offer you refreshing and imagination-inspiring misty scenery. Moon night here, in particular, is gorgeous: the waves will kiss the willow-lined bank gently, and Dianchi Lake saturated in moonlight will adopt an aerial and mysterious look. 

Haigeng Bank Park: Established in early 1960s, Haigeng Bank Park measures 2.5km long and 200m wide. It is 10km from downtown, thus boasts convenient traffic. Neighboring “Yunnan Ethnic Village” in the north, meeting the Dianchi in the south, echoing the West Hill cableway in the west and meeting the Golf field and National Sport Training Base in the east, this park is bestowed with unique charm during four seasons. In spring, the stunning cherry blossom and the emerald buds of willow trees will lead you into a bewildering wonderland. During summer, you can experience the feeling of sea here: the blue sky will highlight the beauty of the blue lake and white sailboats will sparkle near the horizon. During autumn (especially during Mid-Autumn Festival), local people will throng into this park to see the moon. In winter, thousands of black-headed gulls will fly here, chasing after the boats or greeting you like old friends. The 5km long Haigeng Bank with width ranging 60m to 300m, is a must-see. It divides Dianchi Lake into two parts: South of it lies the Dianchi Lake, north of it sits the “Grass Sea”. The south of this bank features shallow water with white sand and water deepens by degree, making it an ideal swimming site. If you want to delve into the core of local life and culture, “Yunnan Ethnic Village” is within walk distance from here.

Daguan Park: Built during the year 1368 in Ming dynasty, Daguan Park derives its name from Daguan Mansion. It is the largest park in Kunming. During Qing dynasty, a scholar composed a couplet of 180 characters to praise the Dianchi Lake. Thanks to this masterpiece, Daguan Mansion ranks as Top Four Mansions in China, just like Huanghe Mansion (yellow crane mansion) in Hubei province, Yueyang Mansin in Hunan, Tengwangge Mansion in Jiangxi. The outstanding Chinese gardening finds the fullest expression here. Pavilions, bridges, winding streams and various flowers all strive to bring out an elegant and delicate site suitable for cultivating mind. 

Yunnan Ethnic Village: Located at the south bank of Dianchi, Yunnan Ethnic Village is 7km form downtown. Architectures of 25 minority groups are arranged orderly and cozily within, greeting tourists worldwide. The moment you set foot on this area, you will embark on a fantastic cultural tour. As the epitome of Southwest China culture embodied by delicate architectures, diversified and exotic customs, delicious food as well as eye-dazzling handicrafts, it will baptism you and bestows you with lasting memory. You can feast your eye on the most splendid scenery and indulge in the most diversified entertainment here. “March Street” of Bai people, ”Water Splashing Festival of Bai People” and “Torch Festival of Yi people” are staged here regularly.


 dianchi-lake-bai-minority-village dianchi-lake-yunnan-ethnic-village

 Yunnan Ethnic Village: Bai Minority Village

 Yunnan Ethnic Village: Wa Minority Village

 dianchi-lake-ethnic-village dianchi-lake-yunnan-ethnic-village-craftman

 Yunnan Ethnic Village

 Yunnan Ethnic Village:handcraftman

 dianchi-yunnan-ethnic-village dianchi-lake-yunnan-ethnic-village-handicraft

 Yunnan Ethnic Village

 Yunnan Ethnic Village

Travel Tips


Admission Fee of Dianchi Lake: Free

Advised tour hour: two hours

Best Travel Season: With annual temperature of 15 degree, Kunming well lives up to its name as the "Spring City", "Flower City" and "Green City". You can visit it all year around and appreciate blossoms in spring, enjoy breeze and lush vegetation during summer as well as feed the black-headed gulls during autumn and winter.

Transportation: From Kunming train station to Dianchi Lake: Take Bus 24 or 44 and get off at Haigeng Park.

Tour Route Advised: you can visit the West Hill first, and then take the cable car at Longmen. The fee is 30RMB. Or you can leave from Daguan Park by boat. Cycle around this lake is good idea.

Special tips: Though with an altitude of only 1800m, sunshine here is still a threat to your delicate skin. Sunscreen (30+ to 50+) and cap are necessary items; Be aware not to get into the illegal taxi; Rain often visit Kunming unexpectedly, but it goes quickly also. You can bring an umbrella.

Bird-watching: During each November to April the following year, Kunming city will be thronged with ten thousands of blacked-headed gulls. They will fly across the vast and deserted area of chilly Siberia and Russia all the way to Yunnan, the lost Shangri-La and a paradise on earth. With warm weather and abundant food, they live very happily and healthy here during the 180 days. You can feed them in Cuihu Lake( Green Lake) during this period, and feel the merry atmosphere of local people. Cuihu Lake is the “Vienna” for the local people, a base camp for local singers and musicians. During morning or dawn, middle-aged or senior-age group will gather here habitually, singing and dancing every day at this park and humming the original flavor Yunnan folk music. If you want to see the Tibetan dance or Dai Minority’s dance, you can visit Jinyudao( Golden Fish Island). 

New Entertainment: you can visit the National Sport Training Base, and join in the football, volleyball, basket ball, tennis, pingpang, swimming here.


<<<<<<<Gallery of Dianchi Lake

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