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A quick guide to Kunming's Metro Line 2

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Kunming's Metro Line 2, which runs from the city center to the north of town, officially went into operation April 30. We decided to get out of the office and ride the entirety of the line. To our eyes, Line 2 functioned smoothly, with easy to purchase tickets and trains that ran on time. All signs, exit maps and public address announcements are in both Chinese and English.

Facilities along Line 2 were teeming with staff, including ushers, Metro security police and even bomb and drug-sniffing dogs. Many of those employed are at least partially bilingual. At the time of this writing, reusable cards can be purchased or recharged at station service desks. Touch screen ticketing machines located at each station provide single destination tickets on demand, but do not, as yet, accept credit or debit cards. Cell phone service throughout our journey remained flawless, and although free wi-fi had been discussed as an option during the Metro's construction, it is currently not available.

Our ride began at the Kunming Train Station, where we bought a multi-ride Metro card for a refundable 20 yuan and charged it to the tune of 40 yuan. The card we purchased is only good for Metro rides and not interchangeable with bus passes. We have been unable to verify where dual use cards are sold, but will add that information to this article as soon as we know.

Eventually our journey ended at the almost comically unfinished North Bus Station stop, which despite having a fully functioning terminal on the ground level, is a five story concrete skeleton above. Along our journey we found most of the 13 stops to be aesthetically identical — white walls and faux-marble floors lit by fluorescent lighting.

The design is largely utilitarian and nowhere in any of the stations were there shops to buy drinks, snacks, newspapers or magazines. There are problems. Most notably, the unfinished state of some stations, especially those located next to or under, construction projects that won't be finished for years. Also, it is important to note that Lines 1 and 2 are connected and currently require no transfer for those heading to Chenggong. They appear to be one single track with two separate names because each line will add divergent stops in the future.

Despite some quirks, the focal point of the entire enterprise — moving large numbers of people quickly through the city on a north-south axis — has been achieved and getting around is straightforward. Below, we have used the official English names for stations that are displayed on Metro placards and maps, with the exception of The North Bus Station stop — labeled by planners as the North Coach Station. All Metro Line 2 stop names are linked to their GoKunming Listings pages, which include maps.

Kunming Metro Line 2 Stations

Kunming Railway Station

This stop is not officially part of Line 2, but we began there to see how the Metro had been incorporated into the existing facilities. All three street-level entrances are somewhat inconveniently located to the south of the Kunming Train Station, behind the building on the second ring road, not on Beijing Lu.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:02am
- to University Town (South): 6:48am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 10:42pm
- to University Town (South): 10:30pm

South Ring Road Station

The tracks proceed north roughly three blocks to the intersection of Erhuan Nan Lu and Beijing Lu, which marks the southern terminus of Line 2.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:05am
- to University Town (South): 6:46am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 10:45pm
- to University Town (South): 10:27pm

Tanzi Xiang Station

Most entrances to the Kunming Metro are finished, like the one pictured above. However, there are some that remain uncovered, which is a bit of a concern with the rainy season approaching.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:08am
- to University Town (South): 6:44am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 10:48pm
- to University Town (South): 10:25pm

Dongfeng Square Station

By far the most pleasingly decorated stop. It will eventually be a transfer station between Line 2 and Line 3, although construction in the area will most likely continue for years.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:10am
- to University Town (South): 6:42am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 10:50pm
- to University Town (South): 10:23pm

Jiaosan Qiao Station

This stop in located at one of the city's busiest intersections, Beijing Lu and Renmin Lu.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:11am
- to University Town (South): 6:40am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 10:51pm
- to University Town (South): 10:21pm

Chuanxin Gulou Station

A stop offering easy access to Yuantong Temple and is also quite close to the recently spruced up Panlong River.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:13am
- to University Town (South): 6:39am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 10:53pm
- to University Town (South): 10:19pm

North Railway Station

The North Railway Station went into operation four months after all other stops on Metro Line 2. It offers easy access to the refurbished Yunnan Railway Museum and will eventually be a transfer stop for future Lines 4 and 5.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:14am
- to University Town (South): 6:36am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 10:54pm
- to University Town (South): 10:16pm

Baiyun Road Station

The final stop before passing outside of the Second Ring Road. In addition to being a residential area, this section of Kunming is heavy on office buildings and shopping areas.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:17am
- to University Town (South): 6:34am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 10:57pm
- to University Town (South): 10:15pm

Jinxing Station

Bilingual signs located outside of each Metro entrance clearly state first and last departure times for trains heading both north and south. Some, but not all, include shopping and tourist destinations within walking distance, including Kunming's largest tea market.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:20am
- to University Town (South): 6:32am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 11:00pm
- to University Town (South): 10:13pm

Beichen Station

For the most part, subway portals look the same, with sloping, glass-enclosed roofs. At least one though, at Beichen, is uniquely decorated where it opens up into the VC Shopping Mall, just across the street from Beichen Fortune Center.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:22am
- to University Town (South): 6:30am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 11:02pm
- to University Town (South): 10:11pm

Linyu Qiao Station

This stop is also near the Panlong River. Exits are situated around the intersection of Beijing Lu and Linyu Lu and the most notable landmark is perhaps a Wal-Mart.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:24am
- to University Town (South): 6:28am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 11:04pm
- to University Town (South): 10:08pm

Yangchang Cun Station

Kunming's development begins to thin out noticeably beyond this stop. While construction sites and new residential high rises still predominate, traffic here is lighter and less hectic.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:26am
- to University Town (South): 6:26am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 11:06pm
- to University Town (South): 10:06pm

Sijiaying Station

The final underground station as one heads north. From here, train tracks travel along elevated platforms through an area of a town that is a hodgepodge of construction and destruction.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:28am
- to University Town (South): 6:24am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 11:08pm
- to University Town (South): 10:04pm

Longtou Street Station

The first above ground stop along Line 2. As commuters approach the station it resembles a space-age barn or very fat steel caterpillar.

First train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 7:30am
- to University Town (South): 6:22am

Last train departure time:
- to North Bus Station: 11:10pm
- to University Town (South): 10:02pm

North Bus Station

The northern terminus to Metro Line 2. Far from complete, the stop is nevertheless in full working order. The bus station is located just behind the structure in the above photo, and services destinations in northeast Yunnan.

First train departure time:
- to University Town (South): 6:20am

Last train departure time:
- to University Town (South): 10:00pm

A trip along the full length of Metro Line 2 — from the South Ring Road Station to the North Bus Station — takes no more than 25 minutes. Minimum ticket prices for short journeys under four kilometers are two yuan with full trip tickets costing six yuan. All fares are discounted ten percent when using a rechargeable Metro pass. People aged 60-69 using a card receive 20 percent off and those 70 years-old and above ride for free. Bathrooms are located at the end of every Metro platform and are free to use.

Images: Yereth Jansen
Map: Luodingyu via Widimedia

© Copyright 2005-2019 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Comments

Really nice pics, especially the tunnel ones.

Useful info, thanks.
Don't suppose GoK has any up-to-date info on the above-ground light railway that services the Kunming suburbs from the North Station?

Agree. Excellent pics by Yereth and a very descriptive article. Kunming sure has changed since I left in 2007!
Is there/will there be a subway station near my old haunt of Jian Shi Lu?

Good descriptions - and the start/end times are very useful.

Are those discounted fares for folks over 60 just for Chinese citizens?

omg you totally forgot Jiao San Qiao, what gives?

Some of the times for last train departures to the North Bus Station say am instead of pm.

So if you are arriving at the train station, how do you get on the subway at the moment? I don't know any way to get to the south of the station without going through the main building, is there a way I don't know about?

Or do you just walk north to the next station at Huanchen Nan lu?

So is line 1 open to the train station now too?

Now that the Irish Bar has a place near the Zoo there is no need for this line to the north anymore...

Sounds good. I propose a monthly transportation card allowing unlimited use of underground trains and buses for a set price, as in Paris (the Carte Orange), where it works well.

Gregomatt - YES! But the line doesn't stop in the train station. I was there today and walked around a bit, couldn't find where to enter the subway from the train station as (according to the article) its on the south side of the station, which is all but useless for getting to the train station as far as I can tell.

Instead I walked north to the 2nd Ring Road station (HuanChen Nan Lu) and took it south, past the train station stop. I took it only to Rixin Lu, but it goes all the way to University District in Chenggong. I aren't sure this is the best way to go, you may be able to find a way to get to the subways entrances on the south side of the Railway station, but I couldn't find it. It wasn't signposted or anything yet either as far as I could see.

It was actually really full this morning, standing room only and already pretty squashed. The trains seem to be going pretty slow at the moment too, I expect they will crank up faster after a few months shortening the travel times somewhat. 2 minutes wait between trains too.

Useful article, I see you made mention of the bus and metro cards not being interchangeable. It would be great once more info on this is available that the article be updated. I was actually going to ask if the current bus cards could be used with the metro, as there is a picture of the metro on the card.

As a side note, the pictures are great, but on Firefox they cut into the text on the right, obscuring it. i.e. the classifieds and the comments section on the right of the page. Just thought I would mention this.

When I bought a new bus card at Xiaoximen ladt year, I was told it could be used on the Metro, but I haven't ridden yet, so can't be 100% sure. The card has 一卡通 printed on the front. Oldet bus cards won't work though.

The missing stop, Jiaosan Qiao Station, has been added to the list. My mistake.

Thanks!

There's only Longtou Jie's last train time left to correct.

Is Dongfeng Square operational, going all the way to Chenggong?

Alien, your idea is very good, specially for students. I spend around 300RMB a month in transportation... and this drives my budget down.

By the way, I have the card that can be used both for the Subway and Bus fares. Purchased it in Chenngong on ShiLin Street, in the computer store across Fujian Bank.

Mandrake, there is such a card, it can be used for the subway and bus. It is light yellow, and it as a subway and a bus drawing on it. It cost me around 30 RMB and it's rechargeable but if you can even recharge it in stores or markets. I always keep a 200 kuai balance on it.

Spartans... dude, did you read the article? Dongfeng is very much operational... and yes, all the way to Chenggong.

I purchased a rechargeable bus pass from the Public Transportation IC Card Recharge Center just west of Xiaoximen when I arrived in Kunming last summer. Today I went back to ask about a dual bus/subway card and I was told that my current card works for both. I tested it out and it's true. So if your card is newer than mine, it should work and if you need a card for both bus and subway the Recharge Center is one place you can purchase one.

Informative article, thanks. Two questions that I can't see answered here. If I want to travel from Kunming train station to North bus station, how much would it cost and how long would it take? Any ideas?

@mPRin 2-4 rmb, approx. 30 minutes

Thanks, just spotted it in the article :)

My wife purchased the new cards yesterday at the Metro station.

Awesome photos. Good job!

The card I bought six months ago was the dual purpose one.

The new cards can be used on both the subway and the buses. However, the 20 Yuan deposit is NOT refundable. This is a recent scam I discovered recently when I turned in my old bus card to get the new subway + bus card. If you do not beleive me - go ask for yourself. You are charged 1 Yuan every month until the 20 Yuan deposit is depleted.

I like the simple & functional stations. It shows Kunming has learned some lessons from system in South China and Shanghai regions where some middle period stations were too grand and not so functional. Our more recent line stations were more simplified and work better. What passengers want is good service and in-and-out quickly, not amusement park. I think in time the starting problem will be fixed and end result you can be proud of. I hope I can visit sometime.

To get to the Train station subway entrance you have to walk completely around the building. You can walk around on either side of the building but it is about a 10-15 walk. It is not very convenient. Also, because of the beefed up security, all the back doors of the train station are locked so you can not walk through the train station.

At this time, the station on Huan Chen Nan Lu is a bit more convenient.

I took the No. 2 train last Saturday but I didn't see any bathrooms. Did I miss it? Do all the stations not have bathrooms? I find it kind of odd.

The restrooms are at the end of the platform.

Oh. I have to look out for that.

When this article was originally published, the North Railway Station was not open. It officially went in to operation September 1, 2014. Details have been added above.

I'll try a third time. The time for the last train from Longtou Street to North Station should say PM instead of AM.

Great article, thanks so much. Can I just confirm that the metro is functioning between South Bus Station and Kunming Railway Station? Also, what is the stn called at South Bus Station?
Thanks!

Has anyone figured out the best bus connection between subway line 2 and the Wenlin Jie area? Looking at the map, it seems the Chuanxin Gulou station is closest. But so far I haven't been able to figure out a convenient bus route between them.

@Geogramatt, Chuanxin Gulou is closest and you can take the 85 bus; but unfortunately that bus doesn't come very often. You can also take the 1 bus to Tangzixiang.

85 bus, as well as others, is particularly infrequent now from about 5-6:30, you might have to wait as much as 20 minutes. Thank widespread private automobile ownership here for that. 8 years ago you could get any bus anytime anywhere (before about 10:15PM) in about 5 minutes, and no journey within the city limits took more than 1/2 hour. Progress is wonderful - now, for several zillion dollars, the metro will make this possible again - just stay out of the automobile sewers, which spill over onto the sidewalks.

You can also take the 26 bus from Jianshe lu near the intersection with Wenlin jie to the Huancheng Xi Lu station if the other buses aren't fast or convenient enough

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