Kunming Favorites

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Best Rated Favorites in Kunming

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    Tea tasting in Kunming

    by hooiluangoh Updated Jun 5, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The variety available is plentiful

    Favorite thing: Kunming has many teashops. And tea-tasting is an experience not to be missed.

    There are up to 30 different types of tea-leaves on display typically, in large jars.

    One can generally categorise the tea into 3 types: green, oo-long, and black. Green = not fermented; oo-long = half fermented; black = fully fermented.

    There is also "red", but I found different shops give different interpretations.

    You just point out which tea you are interested in, and the shop assistant will let you try it at their tea table, which is built from the root-truck of a huge tree.

    And try as many teas as you like, and only buy those you really like.

    The price of the tea ranges from RMB 10 per 100 g to RMB 300 per 100 g. And the famous Pu Er tea brick/pancake (which is tea compressed into that shape) costs between RMB 50 to RMB thousands. Bargaining is possible.

    Fondest memory: The tea brewing process is elaborate. You have to watch it, but in the end a nice little cup of tea is served to you. You can take your time and ask all the questions about it.

    The chinese believe the 3rd cup of tea is the best, so perhaps it's a good idea to drink at least 3 cups before you conclude if it is your cup of tea...

    It's also nice the tasting itself is free of charge,but I always feel obliged to buy something at least (even a teacup) after spending hours in a teashop if I don't find the tea I like.

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    Body massage by blind messeurs in Kunming

    by hooiluangoh Written Jan 13, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Enlarge to see services offerred

    Favorite thing: I personally feel Thai massage is better, but chinese massage in Kunming is quite an experience also. At RMB 20 for more than an hour's service, you really can't complain too much.

    The only peculiar thing is : the door is made of glass, making the activities inside plain for all to see.

    This is something very peculiar to me. Even at the dentist, you can watch a tooth extraction process just standing on the outside.. Even at the dentist, you can watch a tooth extraction process just standing on the outside.

    Fondest memory: You don't have to take off any clothes. The messeur may ask you if you want extra massage on a certain area. He/she then drape a few blankets over you, and the massage begins. This lasts for up to 90 minutes. After thta your hair style is definitely ruined because your head will be massaged as well.

    In addition, they also have medicinal foot spa, which is soothing and get rid of the odour, especially after a long walk as a traveller.

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    Get a haircut from RMB 8 (wash, cut & blow-dry)

    by hooiluangoh Written Oct 30, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I can't help but laugh at this

    Favorite thing: The kunming hairstylist does a good job, especially with men's hairstyle.

    I watch the men who emerge from the shops and they all look very good.

    The price goes as low as RMB8 (wash and cut), near Yunnan University.

    The one I mentioned is on the same street as Harbour Plaza. They boast to have imported the stylists from Quangchou.

    Fondest memory: They may ask if you want a face wash in addition. This is going to be a RMB50 treat though.

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    Yunnan's beer

    by hooiluangoh Updated Jun 26, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lanchangjiang/qingdao/fenghuashueyue/Lancangjiang

    Favorite thing: 1. Dali - the most common (and by the way, this company has recently been taken over by Carlsberg for USD26 mil)

    2. Lan Chang Jiang - this beer production technology has recently been improved to not use a certain chemical (sorry no idea what that chinese char is in English)

    3. Feng Hua Shue Yue - this is famed for its champagne colour.

    Fondest memory: Beer is inexpensive in Yunnan. If you visit a local eatery, a 600ml beer costs only RMB3. Of course, the price goes up in the more expensive restaurants.

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    Pity the Tour Guide

    by hooiluangoh Written Nov 1, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Think about this when you want to join a local tour, which is competitively priced:

    The tour guide who constantly puts on a smile and tries to please you in all ways does not draw a salary or wage from the tour company.

    So how does he/she make a living ? The answer lies in the commission she/he will earn when she/he takes you shopping at a particular shop.

    Fondest memory: If you decide to buy nothing, because usually stuff at such places are exorbitantly overpriced, then perhaps you want to think about giving her/him a tip, up front, before she/he loses her/his temper with you.

    Professionalism ? I don't think they know what it means when every penny has to be earned by luring tourists into shopping at designated places.

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    Price List of shoppable items

    by hooiluangoh Updated Jun 27, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    June - yummy chinese peaches

    Favorite thing: Tea, Tobacco, Flowers, Yunnannese ham are the 4 great things to shop (and bring home) in Kunming. But what about other things in life, so listed below are the prices of "normal" stuff:

    1) Tea mug with filter - RMB 15 in a teashop near Cui Hu

    2) Ning Xia hawthorn seeds (for chicken soup) - RMB 7 per 250g at a tea shop. RMB 5.50 per 200g at a local supermarket.

    3) Can of coke (375ml) - RMB 1.50 at hypermarket, RMB 2 at a tuckshop.

    4) Bottle of coke - RMB 1. This is standard. You have to drink it on the spot and return the bottle.

    5) Bananas - RMB 3 per KG at the wet market

    6) Redbull drink - RMB 4.90 at Walmart; RMB 5.40 at a tuckshop

    7) Pamelo (big ones) - RMB 3 each at wet market

    8) Quei Ling Gao - RMB 2.50 ea at hypermarket

    9) Carton of milk (1 L) - RMB 4 - 5 at hypermarket

    10) Oranges - RMB 3.50 per KG in winter time.

    11) Pine nuts (this is a must in Yunnan, stir fry the nuts with vege, or eat as a snack, you should use a nutcracker or very strong teeth) - RMB 20 per KG at wet market; RMB 13 per KG at hypermarket.

    12) A slice of cake - RMB 3.00 - RMB 8 at a bakery in Kundu.

    13) To rent a badminton court - RMB 5 per hour at Yunnan Normal University.

    14) Longan fruit - RMB 12 per KG.

    15) Wooden doll - RMB 8

    16) Minorities figurines - RMB 38

    17) Bowl of noodles (mi xian or er si) - from RMB 2

    18) Kunming cherries - RMB 1 per 100g. They are the size of fresh sultanas, reddish orange in colour. Very attractive. Sourish. Available in March - April.

    19) soya bean milk - fresh (unsweetened) from supermarket soyabean section, about 60c for a big bag of probably 500ml.

    20) paracetamol - about RM 3 for a whole bottle of generic brand.

    21) peanut butter - 500g for RMB 14.

    22) yogurt - the local ones are usually sweetened at RMB 1 - 1.50 each. Danone at RMB 2.50 to RMB 4 (depending on whether there are fruit pieces of just fruit flavour).

    Fondest memory: The weather, especially when the sun is hidden by the mist. It is very condusive to physical activities. You can walk for miles without feeling tired. Which means you can shop for days without feeling tired.

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    Temperatures in Kunming

    by hooiluangoh Updated Aug 8, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Perfect weather allows this at 12pm

    Favorite thing: You are advised to dress in layers, so you can peel off or put on depending on the swinging temperature.

    September - 17C - 25C. Can be hot at noon time when there is direct sunlight. Blue sky dotted with clouds. Can use some sunscreen.

    October - 14C - 23C. Starting to cool down. Today (27 Oct) 12C - 19C. Expect some rain. Mist is common in the morning. Less direct sunlight.

    November - 9C - 19C. You want to keep warm most of the days. Misty. Noontime sometimes the sun pops up.

    December - 3 - 13C. You want to be warm enough at night especially. The cold will just wake you up otherwise in the middle of the night. Rains a bit.

    January - 3 - 13C. Some ice may fall from the sky. Can be sunny and warm in the day.

    February 0 - 12C. This has to be the coldest month. If there is enough moisture, you get snow for a day.

    March 6-18C. Can be nice and warm, but at times it's just no-sun-warm, stuffy kind of, makes breathing difficult; and the rainy season starts to set in. So prepare a brollie.

    April 7-25C. Warm and sunny. Cold and rainy. You can get both on the same day.

    May 10 - 30C. Very much the same as April, except now wild mushrooms begin to appear.

    June 15 -30C. Still in the rainy season. It's rain in the morning, rain in the afternoon, rain at night. Rain all day. Rain all week. More rainy days than sunny days in this month.

    July 18-30C. Hot Hot Hot. If it rains, it is usually in the late evening. This "Spring City" nickname does not really fit Kunming in July.

    Aug 16-25C. Rains almost everyday for a few hours, can be in the day, in the morning, or at night. Then you get sunshine, and it can be a bit hot.

    Fondest memory: Fondest memory - the cold weather.

    Below is for comparison when Kunming's temperature is 11 - 20C:

    Shangri-la : 2 - 14C
    Li Jiang : 9 - 19C
    Dali : 8 - 20C
    Bao Shan: 12 - 23C

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    Don't forget to drink the "papaya water"

    by hooiluangoh Updated Aug 1, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the

    Favorite thing: This is a cool refreshment very common in Kunming.

    The papaya water or Mu Gua Shui does not taste like papaya at all. It is more like jelly in some water, with brown sugar syrup added, which sinks to the bottom.

    A cup/glass/bowl of that costs RMB1.

    Remember to try that when you bump into one. It's called "Mu Gua Shui" in mandarin.

    Fondest memory: Kunming people seem to like to use papaya for everything.

    Papaya water
    Papaya salad (shuan mu gua)
    Sliced papaya stir-fried with beef (shuan mu gua)
    Papaya soup (shuan mu gua)

    Note: - this is a grossly incorrect translation. I just discovered that although they called it "mu4 gua1". It should be "shuan mu gua", which means sour "mu gua". I hastily thought that was papaya (ie pawpaw), but when I saw the actual fruit, it resembled nothing of the papaya that I am familiar with. It looks more like an unripe round mango.
    I have yet to find out exactly which papaya (maybe there is a third one) that goes to make this papaya water. The real papaya (pawpaw) is rarely seen in Kunming.

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    Kunming Newspapers

    by hooiluangoh Updated Jun 8, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You can still read newspapers FOC thanks to this

    Favorite thing: Ever wonder how the locals read their newspapers ? There are newspaper boards enacted by the authorities on the road side. Huge panels about 30 feet long for some of them. And the papers are pasted on the panels. Locals just stand before the board and enjoy reading the daily news.

    There is not a local English newspaper.

    There are plenty local chinese newspapers they make your head spin about which is the proper one to buy. They cost 0.50 yuan each, but some vendors package 3 papers into one and sell them for 1 yuan per set.

    Fondest memory: If you read chinese, then I recommend "Spring City Evening" - Chun Cheng Wan Bao, which seems like a popular local paper. The other equally popular one is "City News" - Du Shi Shi Bao.

    Recommendation for "good paper" are all not local : Huan Qiou Shi Bao, Can Kao Xiao Xi, amd Nan Fang Zhou Muo.

    There are a lot of advertisements on hospital treatments for all kinds of ailments. It makes you feel like you have found a saviour for whatever you are/are not suffering from. All of a sudden you find your health is lacking one or another.

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    Shoe shine service for 1 yuan

    by hooiluangoh Updated Jun 8, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Shoe shine anyone ?

    Favorite thing: There are many shoe shine kids (well some are pretty old actually) around the city. They form a scene lining up the sidewalk. No they will not hawk, so it's when you feel like it, you ask for their service.

    Fondest memory: If you happen to wear a pair of leather boots, then procure the service for an inexpensive 1 yuan. It takes about 5 -10 minutes for your shoes to look new again. And if you are happy with the service, pay them more. They are honest hardworking people who cannot find employment, so they have to venture out and be their own boss.

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    Internet access

    by hooiluangoh Updated Jun 8, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    humongous - you won't miss it

    Favorite thing: The provincial library offers an inexpensive means to access the Net, at RMB 2 per hour.
    You buy the "computer logon" tickets from the ground floor reception, and proceed to the 3rd floor and register yourself with the person in charge. There are about 80 PCs (LCD screen!!!) available. Non-smoking, quiet environment.

    Currently there is a promotion. If you buy more than 50hours worth internet access, the ticket costs RMB 1 each.

    Location: On "Qian Ju Jie", close to Cui Hu South. It's a huge building you won't miss it.

    Fondest memory: It's closed on Friday morning !!

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    Dian Chi (LAKE)

    by vigi Written Sep 7, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: Overviewing DianChi from Shi Mountain. Dian Chi is only good for viewing from far, the water is badly polluted when see closely, plus, nothing to do there, you cannot really walk by the lake as people there blosked all places requesting entrance fees from tourists, absolutely a tourists trap.

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    Honey Bees

    by vigi Updated Oct 12, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: Yes, believe your eyes, they are actually selling honey bees besides selling their honey. They soak these bees inside rice wine, not for eating, but to put the wine on skin, this is said to be good for bone problem. “Not too scary” I thought, before I discovered some tiny white worms soaked in a bottle of wine, and that, is supposed for drinking! Yack! I lost my appetise for dinner...

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    Train

    by vigi Written Sep 5, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: This is the first time I took long distance train to China, I used to fly. I was taking the air-con hard-sleepers. Unexpectedly, the train is much better than the one I took in Thailand and Italy! An "A" for them. This photo show where I slept in the 30-hour train from Hong Kong to Kunming.

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    Shi Shan (West Mountain)

    by vigi Updated Oct 12, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    me @ ShiShan. Dragon Gate at back.

    Favorite thing: One hour trekking up Shi Shan (West Mountain). The mountain is nice, not as tourist-trap as DianChi. Say lotsa nice flowersm trees, spinders (home of them) and evern a small green snake!

    A bit disappointed that they blocked up the Dragon Gate, charging 20Yuan entrance fee to the area which is supposed to be a natural cultural reserved!

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