Fresh air, trees, the sound of birds and spectacular views of Kunming: Yu'an Shan Public Cemetery is one of the nearest and most pleasant escapes from the city for a walk, run or ride.
The cemetery is perched on a bluff on Yu'an Shan, overlooking Kunming from the northwest, and is reached by a paved road that branches off from the road to Bamboo Temple. A GoKunming reader recommended the route to us earlier this year and it's since become one of our favorite places to go for a quick bike ride.
One of the best things about the road to the cemetary is that it's a dead end (no pun intended). This means that there is a relatively small amount of vehicle traffic—other than at times such as Tomb Sweeping Festival (清明节), when people flock there to pay tribute to the departed, tidy up their graves and leave them offerings to be used in the afterlife.
The road branches off the Bamboo Temple road near the bottom when it crosses a small bridge over a valley and doubles back on itself. Instead of following the Bamboo Temple road as it doubles back, one takes a right turn just after the bridge and heads off in the opposite direction up the floor of the attractive valley.
The distance from the turnoff to the cemetery is about 3.5 kilometers. After leaving the valley floor, the road follows a series of wooded switchbacks to the top. It is one of the more challenging paved climbs around Kunming. As is common in these parts, there are steep walking paths that cut through many of the switchbacks.
Whatever method one uses to get to the top, the views on a clear day make the climb well worth it.
To the the east, Kunming spreads outward from the downtown business district into the new residential high-rises sprouting in the north and west and, finally, the power plants, brick kilns and other industrial facilities in the little-visited valley northwest of the city.
To the south is Dianchi and a profile view of Xishan's severe cliffs.
The cemetery itself also contains a small temple, a smattering of intriguing statues and, of course, thousands of gravestones.
To extend an excursion to Yu'an Shan cemetery, one could visit pleasant Jiaoye Park, which lies in the valley between the cemetery and Bamboo Temple.
It is also possible to walk downhill from Bamboo Temple via a small path on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot and join in with the road to the cemetery.
First, get onto the road to Bamboo Temple: from the Huangtupo traffic interchange at the western end of Xuefu Lu go directly west, heading away from the second ring road on Kunrui Lu/Dianmian Dadao (昆瑞路/滇缅大道) and crossing Haiyuan Lu (海源路) and then Changyuan Lu (昌源路).
At Heilinpu Zhen (黑林铺镇), after about 1.8 kilometers, the road sweeps left and a smaller road named Heilinpu Qian Jie (黑林铺前街) branches to the right, next to a Yixintang (一心堂) pharmacy (turnoff photo above). Follow Heilinpu Qian jie for about a kilometer, then go over some train tracks and onto the auxiliary road of a new highway that is nearing completion.
To cross the highway, turn right onto the auxiliary road and cross on a bridge about 50 meters distant. Turn left off of the bridge and head uphill a few hundred meters. The Bamboo Temple road is the first entrance on right (turnoff photo above).
The turnoff for the cemetery is about 1.2 kilometers from the turnoff onto the Bamboo Temple road (route X001) and is marked by a blue sign that says "玉案山公墓," or Yu'an Shan Public Cemetery.
Note: Most of the photos in this post were taken in June. It's not quite as green on Yu'an Shan at this time of year, but it is nevertheless a pleasant excursion.© Copyright 2005-2018 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.