unexpected hikes: kunming’s western hills (xi shan)

After a lovely weekend in Shangri La, we decided to spend the weekend in our home city- Kunming!

Kunming is a wonderful, manageable-sized, charming city. There’s plenty in the city to check out (if you’d like a post on that, I can definitely do that), but we headed towards the mountains.

Kunming is the home to the Western Hills (Xi Shan in Chinese). I was expecting a hike up to the top and a quick descent, but the area is actually really lovely to explore, and I highly recommend checking it out.

You can take a series of cable cars and ski lifts up to the top of the mountain, but we wanted the hike (in preparation for next weekend’s adventure). The hike was short (45 minutes at a brisk pace), but it was also steep!

Definitely bring water if you’re planning on coming here- I was sweating buckets. It’s available to buy at the bottom of the hike as well.

You’ll have to pay a 40 yuan entrance fee. We thought maybe it wouldn’t be worth it, but it is, I promise!

After the entrance, there are plenty of paths to follow. I recommend going to Dragon’s Gate, as you’re walking through the rocks and rewarded with a beautiful view of Dian Lake.

The BEST view, however, is further up, at Luohan Hill. Definitely go here, as it’s absolutely beautiful.


Take your time exploring the grounds, as there are plenty of really stunning Buddhist temples around.

It honestly felt so great to get out into nature again. Hiking is something that always grounds me and makes me appreciate my surroundings. Kunming is a special city; if you’re here and looking for a little adventure, don’t miss the Western Hills.

9 thoughts on “unexpected hikes: kunming’s western hills (xi shan)

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