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Dianchi Lake – The Crescent Gem of Kunming

Kunming’s Dianchi Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan, and the sixth in China. It is an important source of drinking water for the city of Kunming and a well-loved sightseeing destination. It sits on the Yungui Plateau, and has a reputation as “the Pearl on the Plateau” because of its scenic views, rich biodiversity, and significance for the local life.


Fast Facts of Dianchi Lake

  • Location: Southwest of Kunming, Yunnan, China; about 3 miles (5 kilometers) in the South of Kunming
  • Opening hours: 8 am-6 pm (free)
  • Size: over 115 square miles (300 square kilometers)
  • What to bring: comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat
  • Visit time: half a day
  • Suited to: anyone interested in nature, Kunming’s local culture, the environment


What to See at and Around Dianchi Lake

The Dianchi Lake area has a lot to offer visitors. Here are the top attractions and highlights:

1. Western Hills

Western Hills is a forest park on the west shore of Dianchi Lake. 7700 feet (2350 meters) above sea level, the mountain range has an amazing view of the lake and surrounding countryside. Take a hike in the park and stop by famous attractions like the Dragon Gate and Huating Temple along the trail.

Yunnan Dianchi Lake
Views of Dianchi Lake from the Western Hills

2. Dragon Gate

The Dragon Gate is the most impressive attraction at Western Hills. It is a series of pavilions, caves, and sculptures carved into the side of the mountain. The construction spanned 72 years during the Qing Dynasty. You can admire the intricate carvings as you hike up the mountain.

3. Yunnan Ethnic Village

The Yunnan Ethnic Village is a theme park that showcases traditional architecture, cultural performances, and handicrafts from 25 ethnic groups living in Yunnan. If you make it in time for major festivals, you’ll get to experience exciting celebrations.

4. Haigeng Park

Haigeng Park on the east shore of Dianchi Lake, is the perfect place to relax and get close with nature. Take a boat ride, a hike, or have a picnic. Observe local wildlife at the bird-watching tower or butterfly garden.

Kunming Haigeng Park Dianchi Lake
Haigeng Park

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Dianchi Lake, Kunming is from March to May and from September to November when the weather is nice, and the scenery is at its best. The summer months in Kunming can be hot and humid. Winter months can be cold and dry. Mountain weather is hard to predict at times, so make sure you check the weather forecast before leaving for Dianchi Lake.


Getting to Dianchi Lake

Here’s a guide for those of you wondering how to go to Dianchi Lake.

When you travel to Kunming in Yunnan, taking a flight to Kunming Changshui International Airport is the easiest way. Then take a taxi or bus number C26 to Dianchi Lake.

The taxi ride will be about 40-50 minutes depending on the time and traffic. It’ll cost you CNY 70-100. Taxis are readily available in the city throughout the day. It’s the most convenient way unless you’re driving yourself.

Once you’re in the area, you can rent a car or a bike to explore at your own pace.


Attractions Nearby Dianchi Lake

  • Grand View Park is also located on the shore of Dianchi Lake. There are rock gardens and pavilions with Chinese architecture.
  • Kunming World Horticultural Expo Garden has 2551 different kinds of floral, many of which are rare and endangered species. You’ll see why Kunming is known as the “City of Eternal Spring” once you visit the garden.
  • Yunnan Nationalities Museum is the largest ethnic museum in China, and Yunnan has the largest number of ethnicities in the country. Learn about the rich heritage and customs of Yunnan’s various ethnic groups through over 40,000 cultural relics.


FAQs about Dianchi Lake

1. Is swimming allowed in Dianchi Lake?

Yes, it is in designated parts of the lake.

2. Are there any boat tours on Dianchi Lake of Kunming?

Yes, the rides are CNY 100 each. It will be about 20 minutes.

3. Are there any festivals near Dianchi Lake?

Yes, there are many occasions in the area. The most prominent one is the Water-Splashing Festival in April. It attracts countless people every year. There are also celebrations at Yunnan Ethnic Village. You can learn about the different customs of ethnic groups.

4. Can I rent water sports equipments at Dianchi Lake?

Yes, you can rent equipments for water sports including kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating.


Recommended Tours to Dianchi Lake of Kunming

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