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Around Town: Xihua Wetlands Park

By in Travel on

For most people living in the chaos of urban Kunming, the west side of Dianchi Lake is largely terra incognita, despite being just a short car or bicycle ride away. We recently made the trip out to Xihua Wetlands Park (西华湿地公园), where we found a pleasant getaway just a stone's throw (20 kilometers) from the city.

We parked in a cul-de-sac beside the lake and took a few moments to stroll along the shore. Dianchi still has major pollution problems, but government attempts to clean up the lake appear to be making gradual headway. We're not sure how effective the intentionally introduced invasive water hyacinths on the coastline are at reducing pollution, but they do add a nice touch of green to the area.

We crossed a dirt road and made our way into the wetlands area. There were no maps or visitor information in the free park, save for a faded sign in Chinese that contained a brief overview of the lake restoration project.

The park itself is crissed and crossed with wooden walkways. Most of them are well-marked but a few trail off into potentially perilous cement pathways a few inches wide.

Although at times the walkways felt a little artificial, the wood complemented the setting and the sole viewing pagoda we passed was unobtrusive. We passed one group of tourists taking photos and another with a long bamboo pole trying to fish, but for most part we were alone.

The pathways led us to the edge of the lake which was dotted with blossoming lotuses. Further down the path we found ourselves among tall grasses which eventually revealed a spectacular view of the park with the mountains rising in the distance.

The grasses gave way to ferns that stretched over our heads. We passed trees with orange and yellow flowers, and further onwards found purple orchid-like flowers dangling from the branches of small trees.

It would have been nice to have more information on the surrounding plants because there was an incredible diversity of plant life packed into each corner. We had many questions about what we saw but there were no resources to consult.

On the other hand, signage would have taken away from one of the most pleasurable parts of the experience: the feeling that we were completely surrounded by nature and could easily walk into the heart of the mountains.

When the walkway ended we found that we'd made a full circle and we were across the road from where we'd parked. There was a pagoda full of women selling fruits and vegetables. They were happy to chat with a foreign visitor – apparently not many come here.

All told, Xihua Wetlands Park is well-maintained without feeling overplanned. One of the better places around town to simultaneously take in lake and mountain views, it is highly photogenic and a refreshing change of pace from Kunming's better-known parks.

Images: mostk's Panoramio photostream

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I was there last week and it is a very unusual and pleasant part of greater Kunming. Hardly anyone there when I visited. The English on the sign I saw called it the "Urban Wetlands" if that helps to track it down. Not far from Guandu Old Town, which is a fun place to visit, too.

this is a lovely place to go:))

On Google Maps you can find it here: 西华湿地公园, 昆明

On the map t looks about 8Km south of XiShan's Dragon's Gate, or 10Km south of Hu Bin Lu, 湖滨路,(connecting XiShan to the Dianchi area/Minorities Village Museum.)

Also on the map found a #33 bus stop about a kilometer south of road leading to the park. But I have no idea how to get on the #33 bus going south.

I think bus #33 goes from Renmin Xilu to Haikou.

I found a route plan here www.kmbus.com.cn/line_ssyq_68.html with the stop to get off probably 西华街, but I thought the bus to Haikou does not start at the Xiaoximen bus depot, but further down on Renmin Xilu.

Thanks ludwig. Your posts have been accurate and useful. Appreciate them greatly.

I have tried to find this place and there is a sign directing you right as you approach Guandu Old Town. This led along a canal and then over a bridge to Kunming Dianchi PanAsia International Urban Wetland. There were guards who prevented us entering what seemed a pleasant part with some modern steel buildings. Around this park was some wetland that was accessible and made for a pleasant stroll. There were several fisherfolk and families but the walkways to the main island were closed off.

Could this be the same place? Is it going to be some new park or exclusive housing development? Any ideas?

Ocean, I believe the park you are referring to must be a different one. After all Xihua, as the name implies, is on the West side of the lake. As I put on my previous post I have been trying to find it as I live near to Guandu Old Town. Apart from Kunming Dianchi PanAsia International Urban Wetland, which appears to be a private research facility, there is Baofeng Wetland, which I have visited several times and is worth a trip:

The place indicated on the roadsign, near Guandu is, I think but I will check, Wujiatang Wetland Park. I have yet to visit this place but maybe this is where you went.

Yes Ocean, the one you write about must be Wujiatang Wetland Park. It is the one signposted near Guandu.I went there yesterday and it's well worth visiting. Large area, wildfowl (moorhens, herons, yellow wagtails etc), very few people and peace (well relative peace, as there are constant overhead flights). It's well laid out with floating walkways and very attractive.

So within spitting distance of Guandu there are three wetland parks, two of which are open to the public and free:

Wujiatang Wetland Park and Baofeng Wetland

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