The Dianchi Lake Scenic Area is located in the southwest part of Kunming City. Dianchi Lake is, beyond question, the center of the resort. There are numerous attractions along the lake captivating tourists. Among these are the Yunnan Ethnic Villages, Daguan Park, Baiyukou Park, Haigeng Bank, Kwan-yin Hill, Xishan Forest Park, temples and pagodas. Towns, big or small near the lake provide visitors with an opportunity to experience customs of the local people.
Dianchi Lake is about 300 square kilometers (74,132 acres). It is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province and the sixth largest one in China. With picturesque scenery and its location on the Yungui Plateau, the lake has a reputation as 'A Pearl on the Plateau'. Unfortunately, the lake has been badly polluted. Although efforts have been made to save the lake, they have been largely unsuccessful.
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.
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 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 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 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 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.