Dianchi Lake Scenic Area
Located in the southwest part of Kunming City, Dianchi Lake Scenic Area is a cluster of imposing attractions. In addition to admire the beauty of Dianchi Lake, tourists can find many scenic spots around it, such as the Yunnan Ethnic Villages, Grand View Park (Daguan Park), White Fish Park (Baiyukou Park), Haigeng Bank, Kwan-yin Hill, Western Hills Forest Park, temples and pagodas. The visit to the towns near the lake will make visitors experience customs of the local people.
Dianchi Lake, also called Kunming Lake, is located at the foot of the Western Hills in Kunming city. Covering an area of about 300 square kilometers (74,132 acres), it is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province and the sixth largest one in China. With a stunning landscape and an elevation of 1,885 meters (6,185 feet), the crescent-shaped lake is famed as the “A Pearl on the Plateau".
The lake, with a width of 13 kilometers (8 miles), a length of 39 kilometers (24 miles) and a depth of 44 meters, was formed by the subsidence of a fault zone. Dianchi Lake is surrounded by mountains on all four sides with the Jinma Hill in the east, Biji Hill in the west, Heshan Hill in the south and (sheshan Hill) Snake Hill in the north. Its shores are strewn with scenic spots and places of folklores. Sailing on the lake, with the boat swaying gently on a vast expanse of liquid silver, proves to be a most enchanting experience.
Yunnan Ethnic Village
Located on the north shore of Lake Dian and about 6 kilometers south of Kunming, Yunnan Ethnic Village is a theme park presenting the colorful customs and architecture of twenty-five minorities in Yunnan Province. Apart from the respective villages of twenty-five ethnic nationalities, there is a square symbolizing unity among various ethnic oroups, a theatre for the performance of ethnic songs and dances, a folklore museum, and a museum of ethnic waxworks. Displaying a variety of buildings, lifestyles, and religious beliefs in the region, the village is a microcosm of Yunnan's colorful and diverse ethnic culture.
After tasting the local food and purchasing pretty handicrafts, visitors can experience the unique ethnic culture through joining in traditional festival celebrations, such as the Sanyuejie Festival of the Bai people, the Splashing Water festival of the Dai, the Torch Festival of the Yi, and the Three Flowers festival of the Naxi people.
Grand View Park
Grand View Park (Daguan Park) is located on the northern shore of Dianchi Lake in Kunming City. It features rock gardens, pavilions, bridges and murmuring water. The highlight of the park should be the three-story Grand View Pavilion which provides a spectacular view across sparkling Dianchi Lake to the distant Western Hills.
While the gardens and pavilions offer plenty of natural beauty, Grand View Park gains its name for the longest couplets containing 180 characters written by wandering poet Sun Ranwang during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
White Fish Park
Situated on the west bank of Dianchi Lake, White Fish Park is so named because a hill looks like a white fish opening its mouth to Dianchi Lake. This park is covered with green tress and dotted with charming gardens. In spring, the blossoming cherry flowers decorate the park to be much more attractive. Overlooking the lake, you can see white sails of boats on the glistening lake and gulls skimming over the waves.
Haigeng Bank, about four kilometers (2.5 miles) in length and three hundred meters (984 feet) in width at its widest, is a watershed of the Dianchi Lake. The sparkling lake and swaying willow twigs make the bank look like a floating jade belt. In the south is a wonderful natural swimming pool which is always crammed with people in midsummer.
With an elevation of 2,040 meters (6,693 feet), Kwan-yin Hill is bordered by the Dianchi Lake. On this hill, visitors will marvel at the lofty peaks towering to the sky. Other attractions are a seven-tier brick pagoda and a Kwan-yin Temple built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).