Introducing Western Hills
Located at the west suburb 15 kilometers from Kunming City, the Western Hills extends a distance of more than 40 kilometers at an altitude of between 1900 meters to 2350 meters above sea level. It likes a beautiful lady laying beside Dianchi Lake with her face upward and her hair trailing into water. That is why it got another name ‘Sleeping Beauty Hills’. You can see the outline of her face, chest, and legs clearly.
Western Hills Fast Facts
• Chinese Name: Xi Shan 西山
• Best Time to Visit: March to October
• Recommended Visiting Hours: About 3 to 4 hours
• Things to Do: Photography, Hiking, Nature
• Opening Hours: 07:00-18:00 from Mar to Oct; 08:00-17:00 from Nov to Feb
• Entrance Fee: CNY 15 for Dragon Gate Grottoes; CNY 25 for Dragon Gate Cable Car (one-way)
• Address: West of Kunming’s Suburb, Xishan District, Kunming, Yunnan Province
What to expect at Western Hills
A tragic story related to the Western Hills said that in remote time, a pretty princess escaped from the palace to seek freedom and love. The girl later met her prince and they got married soon. Unfortunately, their marriage encountered the king’s strong opposition, who later killed her husband. The princess was so sorrow that she cried days and nights and tears fell from her face and formed the Dianchi Lake. The girl’s body formed the Western Hills.
The major sites of the Western Hills include Dragon Gate (also called Longmen) with a collection of Taoist caves and sculptures; Huating Temple, an ancient Buddhist temple; Taihua Temple, a temple with charming courtyard; Sanqing Pavilion, a Taoist temple; The Graveyard of Nie Er ( a famous Chinese composer). Meanwhile, the Western Hills has also enjoys great fame for its beautiful and unique natural scenery since ancient time.
Dragon Gate is the largest and the most beautiful Taoist grottoes in Yunnan Province. The gate and passageway were carved out of the steep cliffs, featuring danger, tranquility and uniqueness. It was built in the Qing Dynasty more than 200 years ago, with a construction of 72 years. They were constructed by the skillful craftsmen living at the foot of the Western Hills.You can take a bird-eye view of the grand Dianchi Lake from the spot of the Dragon Gate. There is a saying that ‘If you do not visit Western Hills, you haven’t visited Kunming; if you do not come to Dragon Gate, you haven’t been to Western Hills.’
How to get to Western Hills
• By Metro: take Metro Line 3 and get off at Xian Gongyuan Station. Then walk around 1.7 kilometers to arrive at the scenic area.
• By Bus: take bus No. 6, 51, 94, C70 or Fu 6 and get off at Gaoyao Station.
• By Cable: take cable car from Haigeng Park to Dragon Gate Grottoes directly.
• Rent a car/bus from GGC to enjoy a hassle free private transfer from hotels in Kunming to Western Hills.
Additional travel advice on Western Hills
• Please wear comfortable hiking shoes as there are many stairs in Dragon Gate Scenic Area.
• Children, seniors and people with poor healthy conditions are not recommended to make the hike.
• It is not recommended to hike under bad weather conditions.
• For the safety, do not take photos on the edge of steep cliffs.