Called Kunming Lake, Dian Lake is in the southwest of the Kunming City. The lake was so named for an ancient Dian tribe living in this area. The crescent-shaped lake extends 39 kilometers from north to south and around 13 kilometers from west to east at an altitude of 1886 meters above sea level. Occupying an area of 306 kilometers, the lake have water capacity of 15,7 hundred million cubic meters. Dian Lake is surrounded by hills on 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. The area on the lake shore is fertile with comfortable weather condition, abundant rivers for irrigation.
Dian Lake has a long history. In the Warrior Period, a Dian State was built in this region. Dian Lake with crystal clean water, ripple lake surface, boats sailing on the lake looks like a glittering pearl set on a mountain basin and reflects the surrounding mountains the blue sky. The area around the Dian Lake is clustered with sights of either beautiful scenery or rich cultural heritage. These include the Nanyun Nationalities Villages, West Hills, Grand View Park.
The lake is crescent-shaped, about 39 kilometers (24 miles) in length and 13 kilometers (8 miles) in width at its widest. Its natural banks are formed by mountains on all four sides. More than twenty rivers nurture the lake which has a shoreline of 163.2 kilometers (101 miles). Four surrounding hills contribute to the picturesque landscape, making visitors intoxicated and linger around. You may appreciate the beauty of the lake and hills from a boat, and explore this cradle of Yunnan culture.
The west side of Dian Chi Lake is the mountain forest, while on the east side are lands dotted with the fisheries and agribusinesses. Traditional fishing boats still sail on the lake, hooking and netting. Taking a boat to voyage between the blue sky and the green water, breathing the fresh air and viewing the birds flying just at your side, what an enjoyable, light-hearted and free moment it is!
When the weather is fine, there are white flocculent or massive clouds floating in the cerulean sky, the cyan water waves under the golden sunshine and the surrounding mountains reflect their silhouettes on the water. If you take a walk on the lake shore you will feel intoxicated by the beautiful landscape.
The most beautiful view of Dian Chi Lake appears at dawn and sunset, the refraction of the ethereal rays glitter on the water surface just like thousands of silver fishes swimming and playing. At night, when the breeze is fleeting over the water and the world is brimming over with hazy moonlight, Dian Chi Lake lies in silence and breathes in peace like a sleeping beauty.
The ocean-like Dian Chi Lake is the best place to go for those people who wish to get away from the bustling city and be close to the nature. Facing such a beautiful and capacious place, one may forget everything even himself, the only thing left is the amazing scenery before you.
On the West Mountain, you can overlook the crossed green fields and the vast green Dian Chi Lake, the high and low peaks ranged at random at distance and emerald forests and elegant meditation rooms closely.
Having the advantages of beautiful scenery and rich plants on the mountain, the West Mountain has already become a large-scale forest park after the transformation by Kunming City Government. Nearly 3,000 kinds of woody plants are growing on the mountain and the Ginkgo, Yulan magnolia and epiphyllum are unique in Kunming. The sago cycas, metasequoia, yew podocarpus and peacock China fir handed over in the geology history and the rare plants in the Dianzhong Plateau such as moss, alangium and Yunnan camphor tree are in addition to the above.
The Longmen is the most beautiful scenic spot on the West Mountain. If climbing the Longmen and overlooking the endless Dian Chi Lake, you will see the green wave ripples and the pretty scenes of the lake. If enjoying the Dian Chi Lake on the close Grand View Pavilion, you will see that the waving water is running to your eyes and the sails are strolling in the light mist on the lake.
Dianchi Lake is also the paradise of the sea birds. As winter gets near, thousands upon thousands of seagulls flock to the lake from afar to look for food. They skim the lake water, circle overhead or flutter down with wings on the lake. You may have never before gazed on such splendor! While boating on this plateau lake in a misty day, breathing the fresh air and viewing the flying birds just at your side would be a free moment, it resembles a dream!
Yunnan Ethnic Villages The village acts as a good shortcut to understand the social customs of the ethnic groups in Yunnan. It has a natural sun-bathing area where you can escape from the heat of summer. Twenty-five ethnic nationalities have their respective villages and conduct many activities to present their unique folkways and beautiful clothes. Also you can enjoy the water screen movie and an elephant performance, have a taste of the local dishes and buy pretty handicrafts.
Daguan Park Daguan Park is vibrant with rock gardens, pavilions, bridges and murmuring water. It is famous for the longest couplets in China on the Daguan Pavilion. The Daguan Pavilion was built in the year 1828. It commands a lovely view. The couplet written in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), contains 180 characters brimming with literary grace. During festival evenings, gatherings take place here.
Baiyukou Park Baiyukou Park is on the west bank of Dianchi Lake. Here a small hill looks like a white fish opening its mouth to Dianchi Lake. Near the Irregular shore line, beautiful gardens are hidden among green trees. In spring, the cherry trees are in blossom, adding luster to this serene place. Overlooking Dianchi Lake, you can see white sails of boats on the glistening lake and gulls skimming over the waves.
Haigeng Bank Haigeng Bank is about four kilometers (2.5 miles) long while ranging in width from forty meters (131 feet) to three hundred meters (984 feet). The bank, like a floating jade belt, is in fact a watershed of the Dianchi Lake. Slender willow twigs sweep the lake in the gentle breeze. In the south is a wonderful natural swimming pool which is always crammed with people in midsummer.
Kwan-yin Hill Kwan-yin Hill is bordered by the vast lake and has an altitude of 2,040 meters (6,693 feet). Lofty peaks on this hill seem to thrust themselves straight towards the sky. A Kwan-yin Temple built here in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was once a popular resort of Buddhism. Remaining are a seven-tier brick pagoda, houses, and a gate to the Kwan-yin Temple.
Tips: Best Time to Visit: The place is most beautiful in spring when sakura flowers bloom and it looks brilliantly red everywhere. Recommended Time for a Visit: Half a day is enough if tourists do not take a boat to view the lake. The lake is surrounded by high roads. Tourists can also rent a bicycle and ride around the lake, which takes about two days.