Dianchi Lake and the endless beautiful scenery which surrounds it plays an important role in the minds of people from Kunming. This is a must-visit destination for those visiting the area, and there are also some amazing lesser-known hidden scenic spots to explore.
Located on the east shore of Dianchi Lake, Haiyan Village (海晏村) is the only traditional village which has preserved the Yunnanese residential characteristics and local fishing culture.
The buildings in Haiyan Village are very simple and showcase the traditional characteristics of Yunnan dwellings which have existed since the Qing Dynasty. Both sides of the street are feature well-preserved old adobe or brick houses. The layout of houses in Haiyan Village is a little irregular, and the village is made of alleyways arranged in a "fishbone" distribution on the edge of the Dianchi Lake. Taking a walk through the village feels like being transported back to ancient times.
A stone road is the oldest feature still present in the modern layout of Haiyan Village. This stone road is about 1,700 meters in length and runs through the entire village from north to south. It has been polished by over 300 years of use.
One of the attractions is a distinctive style of residential house found here. These old houses used adobe to build the exterior wall, with the frame for the roof built from wooden pillars and beams, and then covered with neat small blue tiles. This was the most common house type found in ancient Kunming but now it is difficult to find.
For generations, people living in Haiyan Village have made their livelihood from fishing. In recent years, in order to protect the natural environment of Dianchi Lake, the Kunming government has set strict control over the fishing season in Dianchi. Haiyan people must wait a long eleven months before the month-long fishing season, when the villagers are busy again. They take small fishing boats out onto the lake to collect fish and shrimp, and then take them to the market for sale. There is an old pier that can be reached by passing through the Haiyan village. It is a great place to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Dianchi Lake and watch the sunset, since it overlooks Xishan Hill.
Shilin is the first-choice destination when it comes to looking at the world-famous karst formations. However, there is a place which also has a lot of interesting stones near Dianchi Lake. Although it can't be compared with Shilin, it is still worth a visit. It is a small lava landform in the Xishan District of Kunming, called Shicheng Park.
Shicheng Park (石城) is located in the foothills of the Tanglang River (螳螂川畔) where it joins Dianchi Lake. It is a beautiful natural landscape garden and because it is surrounded by a wall several meters high, like a well-guarded castle, it got the name "Stone City".
Baiyukou (白鱼口) Scenic Area is located on the west shore of Dianchi Lake, about 30 km away from Kunming. It extends like a peninsula into Dianchi Lake, forming a unique landscape, where the trees are lush all year round, the lake is clear and the environment is quiet.
Once here, when the lake's flood season approaches, a lot of sediment accumulates, and causes an underwater backflow. The water is quiet, and a type of small white fish flock to it, giving the place its name "Baiyukou" (which means white fish gathering place).
Haikou Forest Park
Haikou Forest Park (海口森林公园) is about 50 km away from Kunming city center. It is located in the drainage area of Dianchi Lake, adjacent to Haikou Town. The Haikou Forest Park was established in 1956 and can be described as a forest in the sea, full of lush and verdant greenery.
There used to be very few trees, but for more than 60 years now, reforestation has been carried out here, so that the barren mountains have disappeared, as the tree species have been gradually adjusted and renewed. Finally, the mountains and ridges here have come to resemble a sea of green. The forest coverage rate has increased from 33.8% in 1980 to the current 90% due to this.
In addition to forests and flowers, Haikou Forest Park also has a forestry museum, which collects a variety of forestry-related pictures and objects, which record and convey forest-related knowledge.
In different seasons, Haikou Forest Park has different landscapes. In spring and summer, flowers are in full bloom and the trees offer shade. In autumn and winter, ginkgo and maple leaves become golden, forming a golden world for you to escape into. Experience the vastness of Dianchi Lake and enjoy some quiet time!