The Golden Temple (aka Jindian,金殿) is located in the North-East of Kunming atop a small mountain. We reached it by bus (well three buses) and as it was a national holiday the ticket prices were reduced from 30RMB to 25RMB each. We arrived at the the lower entrance where the bus stop is and hiked up the many steps to the top where we were greeted by a camel, lots of food and the odd curious tourist who wanted to say hello.
Unlike the other hikes we’ve done recently this was a much easier climb and there were even some brave Chinese women wearing heels as they climbed.
The Golden Temple is actually made out of bronze but got its name due to the glow that emanates when the sun touches it. The Taoist temple was originally built during the Ming Dynasty in 1602 but has undergone extensive repairs and rebuilding work over the centuries.
Aside from the temple itself there are extensive gardens amongst the wooded pathways and we got lost wandering around the expansive grounds and as we moved away from the crowds the only sounds were from the distant bell tower within the complex (which sounded more like a gong) so it was easy to forget we were on a small mountain with hundreds of other tourists as we took in the sights and the peace and quiet of the hills.
When we were on our way back down we came across a less arduous route and decided to take that instead. It was a cross between a slide and a roller-coaster and lots of fun. For 30RMB the both of us shared one of these toboggans down to the lower part of the mountain. I wasn’t able to capture it on film as I was busy holding on but I took some photos of others going back up to the top.
The Golden Temple is a much smaller area than the other temples we’ve been to recently and the trek much less arduous but getting there by bus took the best part of two hours and three changes so next time we’d go by taxi as we did on return. The temple area itself is very similar to the Buddhist temples we’ve been to but what was enjoyable was just being able to walk around the gardens and pathways by ourselves and get away from the hustle and bustle a bit. Also the ride back down was really fun and saved our legs a couple hundred steps down. For a cheap half-day it was well worth it and kid friendly too.