Where in the World is Kunming?

The Chinese language school where we are studying for nine weeks is in Kunming. We had visited Kunming on previous trips to China and found it to be a very pleasant city. When we searched the internet for Chinese language schools in China, we were surprised and pleased to find such a school in Kunming.

A medium-sized city by Chinese standards, greater Kunming's population is about 8 million. The city is the capital of Yunnan Province.

Yunnan encompasses a vast range of geography: the eastern edge of the high Himalayas, the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, deep river gorges including one of the world's deepest, and tropical jungles. Consequently the variety of plant and animal species is comparably large. Additionally, ethnic minorities make up 35 percent of the province's population.

Because of its location in the heart of such a unique mixture of both peoples and geography, the central government has designated Kunming as a 'special tourist zone' (tourists are primarily from other parts of China). In my 'South of the Clouds' post I'll have more to say about Yunnan.

Kunming is located on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, a fertile lake basin surrounded on the east, north and south by mountains. The Tropic of Cancer is just north of the city, but because of its high elevation (about 1900 meters/6200 feet) the city enjoys a mild climate throughout the year and is known as 'The Spring City'.

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