|Kunming is the provincial capital of Yunnan
province, which borders with Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam to the south. At
an elevation of 1,891m, the city is surrounded by mountains on three
sides, with one side facing Dianchi Lake. With Wumeng Mountains in the
north stemming the south-blowing cold air and moisture in the south from
the Bengal Bay warm monsoon, Kunming enjoys a delightfully moderate
climate year-round and is reputed to be known as "Spring City."
There is a fairly even spread of temperature from April to September (15
C). The city can be visited at virtually any time of the year and one
needs to only pack light clothing. Because of its favorable natural
conditions, it has been chosen as the venue for the International
Kunming city proper covers five districts: Wuhua, Panlong, Guandu, Xixian and Dongchuan; one city which is Dongchuan city; and eight counties: Chenggong, Jinning, Fumin, Yiliang, Shilin, Songming, Luquan and Xundian. The city has a total population of 4.67 million, of which about six percent are minority nationalities, including Yi, Hui and Miao. Also, some 150,000 Vietnamese refugees from the China-Vietnam wars have made home here.
The center of the city is focused around the Kunming Department Store area - to the southeast of which is the main bustling shopping-dining-theatre district. Another major shopping mall in the city is the landmark, Zhengyi Department Store, which is situated in the northwest part of town. Lying north and northeast is the older back-alley maze. By travelling eastward beyond this old quarter, and crossing Fengjian Road, you can see some of the city's scenic attractions like Cuihu (Green Lake) Park, Yuantong Temple and the zoo. At the west side of town, on Daguanjie Road, there are throngs of farm produce markets. Beyond in the west lies Western Hill Park, which offers one of the best of the city's out-of-town sights.
Green Lake Park
West of Yuantong Temple, and only 15 minutes along Yuantong Street, one approaches the city's largest park, Green Lake Park, which is decked out with long embankments and waterways. Many pavilions and buildings have been newly built, where art exhibitions, floral displays or some other exhibitions are frequently on show. To the southwest of the park lies Daguan Street where there is a large free market selling farm produce brought in from the nearby farms, which is mingled with cobblers and other merchants. In the double-story shop fronts along Daguan Street, one can catch a rare glimpse of the rapidly disappearing traditional wooden architecture.
Wuhua and Panlong Districts
These two districts constitute the center part of the city, which then extends to Guandu and Xishan Districts. With Zhengwen Street in the Wuhua District as the north-south axis and Dongfeng Street as the east-west axis, the city has kept its historical layout, despite the vicissitudes of time. Lined along Wuhua Hill Street, East Dongfeng Street, Shulin Street and near the Maitreya Temple area, are some of the important provincial and municipal government buildings. The area around Zhengyi Street, Nanping Street, East Dongfeng Street, Wucheng and Changchung Roads is the city's commercial center, while the financial center is spread along Nanping Street, Zhengyi Street and Beijing Road.
Dotted along Beijing Road, Dongfeng Street and Huangcheng Road are a host of hotels and restaurants of different sizes and tastes. Lying in the north part of the city is the academic district where there is a cluster of well-known scientific research institutes, universities and colleges. A residential construction boom has been witnessed along the First and Second Ring Roads over the past few years.
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Fahrenheit temperature scale is used.