Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Suggestions on Kunming and Yunnan


eion_padraig
 Share

Recommended Posts

So I've decided to stay in China during my next holiday (2nd week of April) because I get sick of not being able to communicate with folks in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand). I've bought tickets to Kunming from Guangzhou, so I fly in Saturday night and head out the next Saturday at mid-day. I last was in Yunnan back in '04 for a week having spent 3 days in Kunming and 5 days in Dali (my traveling companion got sick so we stayed there).

 

Any particular things that I should check out in Kunming? I remember going through the old Muslim quarter, but even back then they were starting to tear it down. Old sites are okay, but I would just as excited or more excited to find a cool tea house or restaurant where I could engage locals in conversation. In part I'm traveling to use Chinese in situations I don't encounter here. Lately I've been eating at Yunnan restaurants where I've really enjoyed the suan/la combination.

 

I'm also looking to spend some of that time outsdie of Kunming. Obviously there is Dali and Lizhang, but Dali even back in '04 was a bit much. I'm wondering how much I should arrange in advance. The start of my trip would coincide with Qing Ming Jie, but I suspect that won't matter too much as holidays in China go.

 

Thanks.

 

Eion

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Just to be sure I understand the time frame correctly, this means you will have 6 full days in Yunnan, the first full day being Sunday 5 April and the last full day being Friday 10 April. Do I have that right?

 

The start of my trip would coincide with Qing Ming Jie, but I suspect that won't matter too much as holidays in China go.

 

Correct. 清明节 should not present an obstacle to travel.

 

In part I'm traveling to use Chinese in situations I don't encounter here.

 

Good plan, and it should not be difficult. Probably best to avoid the expat bars in the university area where all the foreigners hang out -- Wenlin Street 文林街。Stay far away from the famous Hump Hostel or you will wind up in a little "foreigner bubble" which might be comfortable but not serve your purposes at all.

 

As far as Kunming goes, it gets short shrift in international travel forums (such as Tripadvisor and ThornTree) -- people like to dismiss it as a place to change trains and maybe spend a night. Actually there's quite a bit to see and do if you are after small-scale, non-spectacular sights. Plenty of places to meet friendly locals and strike up a conversation. Later, I can make specific recommendations.

 

What you might consider if you want to get off the "main tourist trail" is to go south from Kunming after a few days instead of going north. Look into Honghe Prefecture 红河州 and Jianshui 建水 in particular. There are some even less discovered places near Jianshui if you use it as "mini-hub" for day trips. (Use Baidu to have a look at 团山村 Tuanshan Village.)

 

I can help with further suggestions as your plans develop. (Have traveled a lot in Yunnan and live in Kunming.) Will just put this out there for now to get things rolling and see what you think.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Add: I'm leaving early tomorrow morning for Luoping 罗平 to see the karst landscape and the yellow rapeseed flowers 油菜花。 May not have internet for a couple of days while there, so I won't be able to reply promptly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome, those were exactly the kind of suggestions I was hoping to get. I'll take a look at some of those places you mentioned online. Thanks.

 

Yes, I'm arriving the evening of April 4th and then heading out mid-day on April 11th.

 

I'm not in a rush to figure it all out, so I look forward to hearing more specific suggestions. Have a good trip in Luoping.

 

Eion

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After you have done some research, please let me know what further help you would like.

 

With only 6 full days, I would think it would be best to only go to one main place in addition to Kunming. Maybe spend a day in Kunming after arriving from Guangzhou, then head south to Jianshui and spend two or three days in that area  and then finish up in Kunming with your remaining time. Tuanshan/团山 could be an easy day trip from Jianshui, and Swallow Cave/Yanzidong/燕子洞 could be a half day trip in another direction.

 

Jianshui Old Town 古城 itself has lots to see. It hasn't yet found it's place in the main tourist circuit that has so over-run places like Lijiang and Dali. (It won't be long, though.) People there are warm and friendly for the most part. Jianshui is regionally famous for its roast tofu 考豆腐。Eating it is a social occasion because you gather with strangers at the same low table where a lady roasts it in bite-size chunks. Seems I always meet interesting people, sharing a casual meal like that.

 

Jianshui is also famous in China (not overseas) as a place where excellent teapots are made. The clay there is special (紫陶。) I always explore the teapot stores and small mom-and-pop "factories" on the outskirts, although I realize that would not be to everyone's liking. The Yunnan/Pu'er tea culture is strong there (普洱茶/功夫茶。)

 

One possibility would be to take the train from Kunming to Jianshui. It's easy to strike up conversations on the train because of the seating arrangement. These are older trains and you sit two or three abreast on a bench-type seat facing two or three other passengers across a narrow table. People generally share snacks and chat with their neighbors. There's also a bus which is a little bit faster.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hey,

 

thanks for the recommendations. I think Jianshui sounds interesting. It looks pretty easy to get to from Kunming. I'm excited for my trip.

 

So do you have any specific recommendations for Kunming?

 

How was Luoping?

 

Eion

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Luoping is always pretty. The yellow rapeseed flowers were past their peak, but still nice to see. I've been several times before.

 

post-20301-0-24729400-1427380312_thumb.jpg post-20301-0-29364000-1427380326_thumb.jpg

 

As to Kunming, you need to give me some guidance. What sorts of things are you interested in doing or seeing while here?

 

Green Lake 翠湖 is always a safe bet. Bamboo Temple 筇竹寺 is often overlooked. It's small and not very popular with tour groups. Slightly difficult to reach but quite worthwhile.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qiongzhu_Temple

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Eion_Padraig -- Am repeating my request from 5 days ago in post #8, above.

 

When you needed information for your holiday, I helped as best I could. Now you cannot even be bothered to give feedback. I'm disappointed. What gives with that? Why such inconsiderate behavior?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

When you needed information for your holiday, I helped as best I could. Now you cannot even be bothered to give feedback. I'm disappointed. What gives with that? Why such inconsiderate behavior?

 

Sadly, it is normal on the internet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've bought tickets to Kunming from Guangzhou, so I fly in Saturday night and head out the next Saturday at mid-day.

 

Have some patience. Maybe OP does not have any access to the Internet. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hey abcdefg,

 

Thanks so much for the recommendations. They were spot on. I had a great time being back in Kunming and Jianshui was interesting. I had a lot of interesting conversations with Chinese folks (both locals and people on vacation) and a few foreigners traveling through. Coming back to work has been hectic after the break, and I wanted to upload some photos too. Kunming remains my favorite city in China.

I enjoyed it so much, I may head back to Kunming for a couple weeks after my school lets out in mid-June before heading back to North American for some of my summer vacation. But I'm also thinking about Qingdao or Dalian as options. Even if I don't go back in June, I'll be returning to Yunnan and visiting other places.

Thanks again.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should be able to attach them here - hit 'more reply options' at the bottom of the reply box, then there'll be an attachment bit under the form. If you're having trouble let me know. I also notice we have a 5MB maximum, which is probably a bit small nowadays, will increase that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice photos! I recognize several of those places.

 

Glad you had a chance to visit that part of China; it's one of my favorites. Fortunately, it still isn't squarely on the "mass market tourism" radar, but it won't be long now that there's a good train connection. You beat the rush. Congratulations! In a few years there will be a Holiday Inn, Pizza Hut and a small airport. A year or two after that, maybe a Disneyland.

 

Kunming will be rainy in Mid-June. Detracts some from the outdoor activities, but doesn't totally derail them. I've sure enjoyed living here. (Off and on since 2007.)

 

Thanks for coming back to post your experience. Happy that it worked out well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

abcdefg,

 

I'm looking at going to Yunnan soon and I like the look of the suggestions you've made here, particularly south of Kunming (Jianshui/Tuanshan).  Are there are any places in the region southwest of Kunming that would be worth visiting?  I enjoy old towns and don't mind making an effort to get there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

#18 -- @Somethingfunny --

 

Are there are any places in the region southwest of Kunming that would be worth visiting?

 

Jianshui 建水 is my number one recommendation in the south part of Yunnan, in Honghe Prefecture 红河州。It can easily serve as a hub for 2 or 3 days of local exploring. A couple of nice half-day side trips can be made from there, specifically to the old village of Tuanshan 团山 and to Swallow Caves 燕子洞。One could spend a night in Tuanshan for an authentic small-town experience.

 

The town of Jianshui itself has lots of things to see related to Chinese history. The top two are probably its Confucius Temple 孔子庙 and the Zhu Family Compound 朱家花园。 A dozen or so other local sights.

 

Plenty of inexpensive lodging, a charming old town with cobblestone streets, an interesting and delicious regional cuisine, friendly people. Plus it isn't over-run with tourists (domestic or foreign.) It will be soon, as transportation continues to improve.

 

Jianshui is also on the way to Yuanyang Rice Terraces 元阳梯田, which is a fine destination in its own right. It is most photogenic in the winter months (November through February.)

 

Farther south in Honghe Prefecture is the beautiful scenery of Luchun 绿春。The town of Luchun itself is nothing special, but the lush rolling hills, among which it is set, are spectacular. 

 

Jianshui is accessible by train or bus from Kunming. Yuanyang and Luchun are reachable by bus. It is rugged country and travel can be slow. Strong ethnic minority presence, mainly Hani 哈尼族 and Yi 彝族。You will see plenty of people in colorful tribal clothing, especially on market weekends.

 

(Footnote: I have toyed with the idea of living in Jianshui.)

 

Alternatively, in West Yunnan, near the Burma border, you could visit Baoshan 宝山 and Tengchong 腾冲 , with a side trip to the ancient town of Heshun 和顺。This is a region of volcanic mountains, some of which still have geothermal activity. Lots of hot springs; stunning scenery.

 

The south route (Jianshui, Yuanyang, and Luchun) does not combine easily with the west route (Baoshan, Tengchong, Heshun.)

 

Most tourists, from other parts of China as well as foreign tourists, tend to concentrate on the NW of Yunnan, descending by the millions on Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La.

 

Kunming also has quite a bit to see and do, although most travel forums and guide books treat it mainly as a transit stop-over point.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think 西双版纳 is popular among Chinese tourists now too, haven't been there myself.

I found the mountains after Shangri-La not crowded at all (雨崩村). 丽江 is the most 商业 of all. Also stayed at a place called 双廊, near Dali. The lake is beautiful there. Mostly Chinese people, girls taking photos.

Wanna see 腾冲

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...