Join us in the City of Eternal Spring. Kunming: the capital of Yunnan province, China. A place that people love for its climate. Kunming is called “The Spring City” or “City of Eternal Spring” and is a popular place to travel all year. Kunming is a starting point for travel to Lijiang and Dali and also Vietnam, so it’s a major transportation hub for a lot of travellers. The good weather is due to the city’s position: at 1800 meters above sea level, in a well protected plain surrounded by the mountains, which protects it from the raging heat of summer and deep cold of winter experienced in much of China.
Pet market China – Birds, fish & street food Join us on our walk through Kunming Old Street to try & find the old Bird & Flower market, see a pet market with birds, fish & other animals on sale, and watch the street stall making Jian Bing.
KUNMING FOOD China wet market – Bugs or Veg for Lunch? Join us looking at the food on sale in Zhuanxin Wet Market, the largest food market in Kunming, everything from insects and raw meat to fruit, vegetables and fresh cooked meals. A sensory experience for eyes, nose & ears! Very busy place (especially on a Saturday when we went). Well worth the visit for an hour or two to see local shopping in progress.
GREEN LAKE PARK KUNMING Chinese minorities dancing! Beautiful Green Lake Kunming with masses of spring flowers, dancing groups, scenery and people to watch. Pleasant area to walk/relax/people watch without having to dodge the ever present e-bikes. Beautiful flowers & blossoms while we were there (spring)
MILITARY MUSEUM KUNMING See the famous Qing dynasty Yunnan Military Academy A walk around Kunming plus a look at the old Yunnan Qing Dynasty Military Academy.
KUNMING ZOO – Beasts and Blossoms. Join us at cherry blossom festival time in the Kunming Zoo, full of flowers and blossoms, containing hundreds of Yunnan cherry trees, crabapple trees, Japanese sakura trees and winter cherry trees. It also houses rather bored animals. 40RMB entry fee (about $8AUD), so it is cheap. Much like the old zoos before animal welfare became an issue, so not good for them – small old enclosures, lots of concrete, bored animals etc. Guess it depends on your outlook, but rather a sad but popular place.
DYNAMIC YUNNAN SHOW Yang Liping peacock dance Dynamic Yunnan – watch this sample of a spectacular, well choreographed, very high energy, intense show that depicts the strong flavour of the life of ethnic minorities in Southwest China.
YUNNAN WILD ANIMAL PARK – Pat a Tiger – Get up close & personal. Join us catching a local bus to the largest wild animal park in Southwest China. Pat a tiger, walk through a herd of Zebra, come eye to eye with a Giraffe and more in our visit to the Yunnan Wild Animal Park.
Wanted to go here, mainly because of the tigers, of which they have a lot, including white tigers. Large park, with many animals roaming free in their areas that you can interact with (not the dangerous ones obviously), so you can walk amongst small herds of Zebra, deer etc. Definitely much better conditions than Kunming Zoo. We caught the electric bus both ways, with stops along the way as you wish, but you could catch it to the end (lions, tigers etc) and walk back, but it is a fair way – they say 6.5kms, but may be a bit less. Entry is 100RMB for adults, 70RMB for over 65 – show your passport, & free for over 70’s. 40RMB for electric bus. At the tiger area you can pat a tiger plus photo – 60RMB for one, 100RMB for couple. Easy to get to from Green Lake area, catch 235 bus for 1RMB each, about a 45 min trip, ends at the park. Circus type performance at the end is not the best
OUR NEW HOME – We Moved to an apartment on Jinbi Road Enjoy a tour of our apartment home for the next few weeks – Saga Hotel on Jinbi Road, and see a tiny bathroom.
KUNMING CITY MUSEUM – Flying Tigers Kunming & Dinosaurs Kunming. A brief pictorial of The Kunming City Museum (re opened after major renovation in 2014) contains collections of bronzes, pottery, fans, dinosaur fossils and items of historical import from around Yunnan, as well as the Flying Tigers exhibit.
KUNMING SHOPPING Look at this HUGE Shopping Centre. Luosiwan International Trade City – Enormous trade centre (something like 15,000 shops) selling just about everything. All the local shops buy from here, so you can get the same as in town at much lower prices. Be prepared to bargain and check different stores to get best price. Some stores will only do bulk orders, but most will sell singles. No need to speak mandarin, as with most shopping in China, point and ask or use calculator, they will quickly offer a price. Each level & part of is divided into types, so you get several (streets) of shoes, then handbags, then toys, then souvenirs, then baby clothes, then hardware, then bedding, then tea sets etc. etc. First building has most of the stuff over 5 floors, floor 1 is mainly fashion. Quite a place to see and spend a day at. Best way to get there is catch subway to South Coach Station, centre is opposite & unmissable – or just follow the crowd. Subway & ticket machines are in English & Mandarin – easy to use. Word of warning – the toilets as in many non-tourist type places are all pretty smelly & dirty & all squat type. Plenty of food traders outside.
Yunnan Nationalities Village tour this ethnic minorities village on Dianchi Lake. We take a walk round Yunnan Nationalities Village which showcases the architectural styles, religious beliefs, and folk customs of 26 ethnic groups in Yunnan. A huge theme like park displaying the type of village & life of the many minorities in Yunnan. Like many “historical” things in China this is actually very modern built to look old. Interesting to see the building types and some of the history of the minorities, but a rather antiseptic experience. Most of the “villagers” appeared bored checking their phones etc, and usual spruikers trying to get you to spend your money on trinkets. Besides this it was a good day, and the park is beautifully laid out. Caught A1 bus from city centre (ends at the village) for 2RMB, entry is 90RMB full price, 45 for children, 60 for over 60’s (show your passport), free for over 70’s
Dragon Gate in the Western Hills on Dianchi Lake One of Kunming’s most popular scenic spots. The path to and from Dragon Gate is carved out of rock and passes by several small grottos. It commands spectacular views over Dianchi Lake and Kunming. Took the subway to western hills station (end of line) 4RMB, then short walk to ticket area. Many options but we took the 88RMB package which gives bus ride up to next area then electric car to Dragons Gate entrance and walk up through Dragons gate then chairlift down & bus to bottom, or chairlift up and walk down then electric car. We chose to walk up & get some good exercise, they say 1,000 steps cut into the cliff, certainly steep & narrow but very interesting with views over the lake, would probably be slippery when wet though, and care not to bump your head if you are tall. Food street at bottom has large selection of places to eat, snacks etc
OLD OR “NEW OLD”? Guandu Old Town Guandu Old Town is an old town in the Yunnan sense of the word. That is, it does have some old architecture, but developers and their beloved “new old” Architectural style is impossible to escape. Guandu’s appeal is not its oldness, but how different it is from the rest of Kunming, as well as Yunnan’s other tourist towns.
THESE FISH WON’T PASS UNDER THE BRIDGE – WHY? Black Dragon Pool Park Black Dragon Pool Park is around 17 kms North of the city of Kunming, with the main feature being the Black Dragon Pool (not to be confused with the one of the same name at Lijiang). There are many other attractions in the park, including two Taoist Temples, Plum Garden, Azalea Valley, Red Maple forest, etc.. There is a very cool stream running throughout the park and you can follow it up through bonsai gardens, different plantations and different types of trees. An ancient legend lends the Black Dragon Pool in Kunming its name; it is said that a long time ago there were ten wicked dragons that caused much destruction and did great harm to people. One day, one of the Eight Immortals of the Chinese legend subdued nine of the dragons and jailed them in a tower. Only the youngest black dragon was left, charged with protecting and benefiting the people as the price of its freedom. This dragon is believed to be still living in the pool. The pool is divided into two parts by a bridge, and although the water is connected, the two sides are different colours and the fish in either side never swim to the opposite part of the pool. Moreover, for hundreds of years the pool has never dried up, even in drought years.
Spent half a day here in this beautiful, typical Chinese park. Lovely stream running through, lovely flowers, plum blossom in season, azaleas, bonsai etc. Entry fee 20RMB, get there by bus 9 from North Railway Station, or subway to Luongtou Rd (last stop but one) & bus 9 or walk from there. Well worth a visit. Do not confuse with park of same name in Lijiang.
WALK INSIDE THIS WATERFALL – Kunming Waterfall Park – An impressive man made park in the North of Kunming (which has produced what is supposedly the longest/tallest waterfall in Asia as well as several smaller falls between 2 large man made lakes) as part of the Dian Zhong Water Diversion Project. The water in question is funneled southeast from the upper reaches of the Yangtze through naturally occurring rivers and lakes, first passing near the cities of Dali and Chuxiong before reaching Kunming and into the Panlong river and Dianchi lake. All are impressive, and you can walk behind the larger falls (could be a bit cold & wet on a cold/windy day), but great when we were there. Not marked on most maps & no signage in English, it is worth a few hours to look at. From the city you can take Metro Line 2 to the Longtou Street Station, turn right & walk up to Beijing Lu & catch the Z65 bus heading West, which terminates at the park. Or you can walk by turning right out of the station then walk up to Beijing Lu & turn right then a good kilometre walk to Nongke Bei Lu (Nongke North Road), turn left, and just before you get to the Panlong river it appears on your right. Entry is free.
Guangzhou and home. Today we fly to spend a day and night in Guangzhou before flying home. We visit Shamian Island, the cultural park and a bustling trading area. Guangzhou (previously Canton) is a sprawling port city northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River.
CHINA TRAVEL – WHAT YOU MUST KNOW – Top 8 tips from SCAMS TO AVOID to food and travel hints to help you travel in China. Plus cute Pandas at the end J!
Top 8 tips for travel to China. Discover the most important things we have learned that will help you on your travels to China. How to travel independently, travel without speaking or reading Chinese, what scams to avoid, how safe it is etc.
Sherrie also enjoys producing some amazing digital photographic images that she uses both as artworks and as designs for a large variety of products.
This has earned her quite a large following, and are well worth a look.