Located at the foot of Longquan Hill, about 17 kilometres north of the centre of Kunming lies the black Dragon Pool (Heilongtan), also known as the Dragon Fountain Temple (Longquanguan).
An ancient legend lends the Black Dragon Pool its name. It is said that a long time ago there were ten wicked dragons that caused much destruction and did great harm to people. One day, one of the Eight Immortals of the Chinese legend 'Lu Dongbin' subdued nine of the dragons and jailed them in a tower. Only the youngest black dragon was left, charging with protecting and benefiting the people as the price of its freedom. This dragon is believed living in the pool till today.
The Western Hills lay to the west of Kunming, on the shores of Dianichi Lake. Also called the 'Sleeping Buddha Hills' due to the fact that looked at from a distance, they have the appearance of a giant sleeping Buddha, they have also been given another name - 'Sleeping Beauty Hills' as when viewed together they look like a beautiful young lady laying beside Dianchi Lakewith her face upward and her hair trailling into the water. You can see the outline of her face, chest, and legs clearly.
Here, there are wonderful scenic spots such as Huating Temple, Taihua Temple, Sanqing Pavilion, and Dragon Gate. Huating Temple is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Yunnan Province. It had been destroyed and rebuilt several times most recently in 1923.
Dongchuan, a rural place in the Wumeng Mountainous area, about 180 kilometres north of Kunming is famous among Chinese photographers for its red soil.
In the mid-1990s, the first Chinese photographers discovered the Wumeng's scenery. The brilliant red soil, the yellow buckwheats and the dramatic skies make the region around Dongchuan a paradise for photographers.
The Stone Forest, or Shilin in Chinese, has been known since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.). It is a wind and water eroded Karst limestone formation in Lunan Yi Nationality Autonomous County, which is about 120 kilometres from Kunming and covers an area of 400 square kilometres (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small stone forests, as well as many other scenic spots. An old local saying says that 'If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.' Truly, the site is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan.
Walking through the site, visitors marvel at the natural stone masterpieces and are bewitched by the intricate formations. The magnificent, strange and steep landscape creates countless labyrinthine vistas, including:
Major Stone Forest, Minor Stone Forest and Naigu Stone Forest, all of which feature stones in various formations.Animals, plants, and even human figures can be found here. Some are elegant, some are rugged, and each is lifelike with its own distinguishing characteristics.
In early spring, the sprawling farmlands in Luoping are covered in golden, yellow rapeseed flowers stretching as far as the eyes can see, all the way to the horizon. The blooming buds fill the air with the refreshing smell of spring that not only attracts humans, but also bees.
Rapeseed flowers are planted to harvest cooking oil from their seeds after the flowers had withered after their colourful bloom. They are planted all over China but bloom at different times of the year, depending on the temperature of the locations. The rapeseed farms in Luoping are among the largest scale in China. They are normally the “first-off-the-block” every year, followed by those in Guizhou and other provinces.
It is also the season for beekeeping and honey processing. Beekeepers set up base in tents amongst the rapeseed farms every spring to keep bees and harvest their honey- the bees feed on the rapeseed flowers.
The Puzhehei Scenic Area is a typical karst landscape, the scenic area abounds in beautiful waters and green mountains which are very similar to and even prettier than those in Guilin. Therefore, Puzhehei is praised as being ‘a unique pastoral scene in China’.
'Puzhehei’ in the Yi language, means ‘a pond teeming with fish and shrimp. With an area of 165 square kilometres (40,772 acres), the scenic area mostly consists of clusters of limestone peaks, karst caves and natural lakes.
Puzhehei Lake, an upland freshwater lake, stands in the center of this area. It is 1,310 acres of clear, sparkling water, and is called ‘Pearl Lake’ by the local people. About 70 lakes of different sizes link together to form a 20-kilometre long watercourse with 300 distinct peaks tower over crystal waters; some seem like elegant pagodas while others resemble penholders.