Study Chinese in Kunming

Kunming City of Eternal Spring
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  • Overview

  • Facts

Why come to study in Kunming?

Study Chinese in KunmingThe people of Yunnan Province have a saying: “The mountains are high and the emperor far away.” Tucked into the southwest frontier of China, Yunnan was for a long time considered a center of lawlessness, barbarianism, and incivility. Nowadays, it’s one of China’s busiest travel hubs, especially for those who love outdoor activities.

Located on the Yunnan plateau, the province boasts colossal mountains to the north and dense jungles to the south. The capital of Yunnan Province, Kunming, has been laid siege to by sultans from the west, Mongols from the north, and Japanese bombers from above. With Burma, Laos, and Vietnam lying directly south, and Tibet to the west, Yunnan is home to 25 different ethnic minorities, making Kunming one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Yunnan’s unique topography, a plethora of natural beauty, and rich melting pot of cultures make it unlike any other place in China. In fact, the only thing that stays relatively homogeneous in Kunming is the weather. Often called the “City of Eternal Spring,” Kunming’s yearly temperature generally ranges from 10ºC (50ºF) to 25ºC (77ºF).

Yunnan’s unique topography, plethora of natural beauty, and its rich melting pot of cultures make it unlike any other place in China.

Kunming has always been a major transportation hub, and that has not changed in the present day. In 1913, the French completed the Indochina Rail line which connects Kunming all the way to Hanoi to exploit Yunnan’s copper resources. The line is still in use today. During World War II, it was the terminus for the famed Burma Road, through which Allied forces sent supplies to the Chinese to aid in the fight against Japan. Once the road was blocked by Japanese forces, pilots flew over the peaks of Nepal to airdrop supplies into Kunming. Today, there are direct highways from Kunming to its southern neighbors Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Burma, as well as to its northeast neighbor Tibet. Moreover, upon the renovation of the Stillwell Road, there will be a highway that connects Kunming to India. It’s a great starting point for world travelers.

As a smaller city than Shanghai or Beijing, and further away from the well-populated coast, Kunming is very popular with students looking to study Mandarin in an environment with very little Western influence. While Kunming does boast a large international population, most foreign students studying Chinese in Kunming are actually from the Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia. Students hoping to mingle with mostly Chinese-speakers are encouraged to study Chinese in Kunming. Moreover, its status as a smaller city distanced from more developed areas means that the cost of living is significantly lower than in big cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. Because of its beautiful scenery, fantastic weather, and small Western expatriate community, Kunming is actually our third most popular destination behind Shanghai and Beijing. Students looking for something more adventurous should consider studying in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China’s original “Wild West.”

Our two cents...

Learn Chinese in Kunming for a glimpse of minority cultureKunming presents a more immersive experience than the bigger cities. Set amongst lush green surroundings, the city is laid-back and things generally move at a slower pace than in Beijing or Shanghai. There are fewer foreigners, and the foreigners that are there tend to be from Southeast Asia rather than the West. Yunnan province, in which Kunming is located, is home to some of China’s most famous and naturally beautiful sites - the picturesque towns of Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-la are all located close by. Travelers also use Yunnan as a gateway to Southeast Asia and also Tibet, with which Yunnan shares a border.

Kunming itself is a relaxed city, with open-fronted cafes and bars lining its small streets, but it does also boast an impressive commercial hub where you will be able to find all foreign luxuries that you might miss from home.

Kunming is the city of choice for those who would like to experience China away from the big cities in temperate surroundings, with beautiful weather year-round.

Study Chinese in Kunming if you are looking for:

  • Great weather all year round
  • Stunning scenery and a travel hub with access to some of China’s most renowned areas of natural beauty
  • An immersive Chinese learning environment
  • A more laid-back slower pace of life
For more about our Kunming Program Manager, check out our blog about him hereOr for the program dates and fees click here
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Quick CSA Fact Kunming has a very comfortable climate ranging from 15 - 25ºC all year round.

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Kunming at a glance:


昆明 Kūnmíng, meaning “Eternal Brightness”


Provincial Capital, Yunnan Province


Capital of Yunnan province, located in the Southwest of China sharing borders with Burma, Laos, Vietnam as well as Tibet and Sichuan, Guangxi and Guizhou provinces


21,500 sq km (8,300 sq mi) (including surrounding rural areas - 330 sq km (128 sq mi) urban)


7 million


US$30 billion


10°C (50°F) to 25°C (77°F)

Local Dialect

Yunnan Dialect (云南话 Yúnnán huà)

Places of Interest

Stone Forest, Green Lake, Kunming Bird and Flower Market

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  • Beijing

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    3610 Capital Mansions,
    6 Xinyuan Nan Road, Chaoyang
    Beijing, 100027
    Phone: (+86) 10 8468 3799 
  • London

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    154 Bishopsgate
    London EC2M 4LN
    United Kingdom
    Phone: (+44) 0207 377 84 
  • Hong Kong

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    Rm 604-7 Dominion Centre
    43-59 Queen’s Road East
    Hong Kong
    Phone: (+852) 800 968 924 


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