Geography of Kunming
Kunming is located between 24°23´ and 26°22´N, and 102°10´and 103°40´E, with a total area of 21,600 square km. Its widest stretch from the east to the west amounts to 140 km and its largest expansion from the north to the south amounts to 220 km.
Its highest point is Mazong Ridge of the Jiaozi Mountain in Luquan with an elevation of 4,247 m, and its lowest point is the joint of the Xiaojiang River and the Jinsha River in Dongchuan District, with an elevation of 695m. Its downtown area is 1,891 m above sea level. Kunming is the political, economic and cultural center of Yunnan Province as well as the gateway of China to the Southeast Asian countries.
Kunming is free from bitter cold in winter and torrid heat in summer with an average temperature of 9°C in winter and 23°C in summer. It has an annual average temperature of 15.1°C and an annual temperature range from approximately 12°C to 13°C. "Climate remains like that of February and March, and flowers blossom throughout the year" vividly depicts its climate of perennial spring. Furthermore, in Kunming dry and rainy seasons are clearly marked, with the period from May to October as the rainy season and the rest as the dry season. The city has a mean annual rainfall of 1,000 mm, with an annual sunshine period of 2,250 hours and an annual frost-free period of 230 days.
Kunming has a total population of more than 4.55 million. In its population, there are 26 nationalities with a total ethnic minority population accounting for 12.55% of the total population of the whole city. Of its ethnic groups, those with more than 4,000 members are the Yis, the Huis, the Bais, the Miaos, the Lisus, the Zhuangs, the Dais, the Hanis, and the Naxis. Throughout the ages, people of different nationalities have developed their own peculiar life styles, customs, institutions, traditional festivals, cultures and art forms all of which constitute a gorgeous picture of varied ethnicity.
Kunming is well-known for its beautiful landscape, agreeable climate and fresh flowers blooming throughout the year. Here more than 400 types of flowers are blossoming and competing with each other for beauty and fascination. Of these flowers, camellia, yulan magnolia, azalea, fairy primrose, lily and orchid are known as the six famous flowers of city and camellia was confirmed by the Standing Committee of the Municipal NPC of Kunming as its city flower in 1983.
Kunming has a long history. Its present name "Kunming" was the sound of the title of an ethnic group residing in southwest China in ancient times. This group lived a nomadic life in west Yunnan and moved to settle in the area around the Dianchi Lake during the period from the Han to the Tang dynasties. At the outset of the Yuan Dynasty, the administration "Kunming Two Thousand Households" was established near the lake and the title of the group was first used to designate the place, a tradition which has lasted up to now.
Kunming is a hub of communications of Yunnan and a gateway of China to Southeast Asia. Kunming Airport is a national airport and also one of the five international airports of China. Nowadays, it has eight regional and international air routes to Rangoon, Bankok, Chiengmai, Vientiane, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and more than 40 home routes. From it, there are airways to Hekou, Cuiyang,Chengdu, Nanning, Yuxi and other cities or places.Meanwhile it has a complicated system of roads leading in all directions of which those to Wanding, Daluo and Hekou also lead to Burma, Laos and Vietnam, and thus serve as gateways of Southwest China to Southeast Asia and South Asia. Furthermore, from here there are such main roads as Yunnan-Tibet, Yunnan-Guizhou, Kunming-Baise which lead to other provinces. Now all the main roads within the area 200 km from Kunming have been improved and of these lines those to Songming and Yuxi are expressways.