Most people think that Kunming is situated on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. Rail and air are the main two methods to travel to or from Kunming from outside Yunnan, yet it is not completely true! Travelers would do well to familiarize themselves with the provincial, inter-provincial and internationally-linked transportation network, including travel options by air, by rail, and by road. In the following are listed the main air, rail, and highway routes within the province – and beyond.
As the transportation hub of Yunnan Province, Wujiaba International Airport (KMG) near the provincial capital of Kunming currently operates 48 Chinese domestic routes – including a number of strictly provincial routes – and 6 international routes. There are domestic flights to most of China's major cities, offering connections to some of China's most popular tourist destinations in cities such as Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin and Shanghai. Provincial routes originating from KMG include flights to the scenic sites of cities such as Baoshan, Dali, Lijiang, Mangshi, Simao, Xishuangbanna, Zhaotong and Zhongdian. International routes include flights between KMG and Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Rangoon and Singapore. In addition to the air routes originating from KMG, there are 11 provincial and 2 international routes that originate from Jinghong Airport , near Xishuangbanna.
A new international airport in Kunming slated for completion by 2011. It is projected to be China's fourth largest airport and one of the world's top 80 airports. The new airport is expected to greatly increase the city's access to countries in SE Asia and S Asia. The airport is being constructed by Yunnan Airport Group. It will be able to handle 25 million passengers yearly, compared to the current capacity of 20 million at Kunming Wujiaba International Airport, which will remain operational until the switchover in 2011. The new airport is expected to handle 38 million every year by 2020 and 65 million passengers per year in 2035.
Yunnan Province is naturally linked to other parts of China via a network of railways – and indeed, also linked by rail to China's immediate neighbors: Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. With the capital, Kunming, serving as the province's railway hub, a number of railway lines radiate out in all directions. These include:
Northward – The Chengkun Line from Kunming to Chengdu in Sichuan Province, a stretch of 1100 km (688 mi), of which 280 km (175 mi) lies within Yunnan Province.
Eastward – There are two lines, one running to the northeast, the other running to the southeast: The Guikun Line runs from Kunming to Guiyang in Guizhou Province, a stretch of 640 km (400 mi), of which 340 km (213 mi) lies within Yunnan Province; the Nankun Line runs from Kunming to Nanning in Guangxi Province, a stretch of 900 km (563 mi), of which 243 km (152 mi) lies within Yunnan Province.
Southward – There is a provincial railway line between Kunming and Yuxi, about 95 km (59 mi). The most logical extension of this railway would take it to Pu'er and on to Xishuangbanna, though no concrete plans for this extension exist at present.
Westward – There is a provincial railway line between Kunming and Dali, about 315 km (197 mi), with plans to extend this railway line northward from Dali to Lijiang and Shangri La, and possibly eventually into Tibet.
Over one hundred bus lines crisscross the city proper, reaching every corner. The price is quite cheap usually 1 yuan for a non air-conditioning one and 2 yuan for a air-conditioning bus.
Yunnan has built a comprehensive highway system with roads reach almost all the major cities or towns in the region. Bus travel across the region now is very convenient and easy. Travelers can take a bus here heading to the neighboring tourist destinations such as Dali, Lijiang.
There are four major long distance bus stations in Kunming with the South Bus Station and Railway Square Bus Station the most useful and important.
South Bus Station: Facing the Kunming Railway Station in Beijing Xi Lu, this station is the most useful one of the four to travelers and has bus routes to most of the regional destinations. Buses depart here generally fall into two types: Regular and Faster, Luxurious. A regular bus runs slower and usually the bus condition is not so good as the faster one. The bus station itself is well managed.
Railway Square Bus Station: This bus station is less organized and majority of buses depart here is under private management. No fixed schedule is available and bus will leave when it is full. Most of the buses here are normal coaches and are a bit cheaper than the Faster and Luxurious buses. This bus station mainly caters for the domestic tourists who are familiar with the standard conditions. Foreign travelers, however, are recommended to avoid it.
Taxi and Bicycle
Taxi: The starting price is 7 yuan for the first three kilometer and 1.6yuan will be added for per extra 1 kilometer. After 10:00 pm price is a bit higher 9.6 yuan for the first 3 kilometers and 2.7 yuan will be added to per extra kilometer.
Bicycle : Hotels around the Kunming Railway Station provide bicycle rental service. the price is busually 2 yuan/per hour and 10 yuan/per day.