Now in June, chinese peaches (shui jing tao) RMB 2 per KG are in available abundance.
Especially in April.
Mulberries(about RMB 10 per KG), Kunming cherries (RMB 12 per KG) and pineapples (skin peeled, eyes taken out, about RMB 0.50 to RMB 1 each) are in abundance.
And some pancakes they stick to the wall of a big urn. Much like the indian "naan", the urn that is. Very tasty. You can choose between savoury ones or sweet ones. 50C each.
You will also find locals eat all kinds of veges including: the pumpkin flowers, the young leaves of pumpkin, pumpkin flowers (yellow), and some white flowers which I can't figure out.
It's an experience, and offers plenty of insights to the local cuisines.
Built in the Yuan dynastry (1300's to 1400's), I was thrilled to see it. The horses trotted on the stone slabs all the way, over many hills and mountains before they get to Beijing. Apparently in the Qing Dynasty, the copper needed to make the coins came from Yunnan. So imagine it being transported on this road all the way to the capital.
This was in the compound of a resort. Kunmingnites love to spend their weekends here. The compound includes a small hill, plenty of fruit trees (yang mei especially), so people can do a little walking and fruit picking (when in season).
The facilities include a swimming pool, pingpong tables, basketball courts etc, two restaurants, and a cafe for the lovers of card games.
Kunmingnites love to play cards. A pot of tea, titbits and cards. That's all they need for the whole afternoon.
This place is about 45 min away from the city. You go through a tunnel and everything changes to the country scenery. This is amazing.
It's called Ming2 Xi1 Yuan1 holiday resort.
Kunming has undergone a major cosmetic surgery since just before the World Expo '99. High rise buildings keep appearing, and the older buildings are being demolished.
Old Kunming streets are lined with double-story shophouses. The groudfloors are built from bricks while the 1st floors are built from timber/wood, with tile roofs serving as the covers. The roofs allow grass to grow, and need to be cleared each winter, or so I understand from a local.
So catch a sight of them before they disappear completely.
Discover the zeal of learning the English language in China.
Thursday evening: Take a walk around Cui Hu along the east side of the lake. You will bump into a huge group of chinese speaking English to one another. It's quite a surprising experience.
Talk to them. And you will find yourself cornered soon, especially if you are a traveller.
There is no place called “old Kunming”, only scattered small streets to discover by yourself. If you walk around, East and South of Green Lake Park, try the narrow paths bordered by small houses used as workshops for craftsmen.
I do not know how long these houses will survive, it does not look like there is any will of preserving this memory of the past history of the city.
It has been destroyed but if there are still a few restaurants opened, taste the nice meals there. Maybe it will be too late, this old street is diing. Take the last chance to feel is atmosphere.
DaguanPark is famous for its 108 word couplet, and other interesting things which include:
1) watching the locals with their kites.
2) go for a boat-ride in Lake Dian (dianchi). For 45 minutes, costs about RMB 20 per boat. You can request so that you get to row the boat yourself. The scenery of Western Hills can be seen from here, as well as the locals' houses by the lake. The water is quite polluted though with some kind of algae, which makes the water undrinkable. As a result, water usage per person in Kunming is about the same as Israel.
This area is to the north of Kunming. Takes about 45 minutes. You probably need a car, otherwise take the minibus in Fu4 Min2's direction.
Once you pass the tunnel, the landscape suddenly changes to country Yunnan. The air is a lot fresher, and you see veg gardens, and hills one after another, on both sides of the road.
It's a pleasure to just drive along. Stop anywhere, and you can go hiking. There are people living up the hills I heard.
On our train from Kunming to the usual destined Big Stone Forest, some local tour guides on the train tried to sell some packaged tour with 2 options:
Both with a tour in the extremely touristy (not know until we got there) PLUS
a) Nai3 Gu3 Store Forest; or
b) a water fall area
Comparing the info given, we decided to take the package with Nai3 Gu3 Stone Forest. We were so glad that we picked this tour.
Our suggestion, if you do not want to waste your time, take the train to Stone Forest stop, then find someway (mini bus or whatever) go straight to Nai Gu Stone Forest, you will NOT miss anything by not bothering with the usual touristy Big Stone Forest.
Tourist train from Kunming to Shilin/Stone Forest: #K440, dept 9:46 then return from Stone Forest at 16:26, RMB 40/round trip ticket. Clean with A/C, very comfortable. The scenery along the way is very beautiful.
Facing the SOUTH/Main Kunming train station, turn to left, a small alley with a big green door is designated for this particular tourist train. You can either buy ticket here or from your hotel (with a RMB 10/ticket service charge as they deliver the ticke to your hotel).
LIJIANG: An ancient town that lies NW of Yunnan Province & about 40 mins by flight from Kunming (580 km / 360 miles). It's very close to Tibet & Zhongdian (Shangrila).
Lijiang survives on tourism & is a mountain town of stones & tiles laced with many canals. A very pleasant town to walk in (though the temperature can be freezing before 10 am & after 6 pm) with a population of around 400,000. There are 22 minorities in Lijiang; the majority of which are Naxi, Yi, Lisu, Bai, Pumi, Dai, Miao, Tibetan, Hui & Zhuang.
Why was Lijiang built with no walls while most cultural cities in China were built with walls to protect outside invasions?
During the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang gave the name 'Mu' (meaning wood) to the family who was ruling Lijiang then. In Chinese Character, if one place a wall around the word 'mu', the word becomes 'kun' which means entrapment & difficulty. That sounds unlucky! Hence, since the very beginning, there had been a rule 'no walls around Lijiang'.
DONGBA CULTURAL MUSEUM.
What is the Dongba culture & characters?
Dongba shamans use the Dongba characters which basically are a living pictographic language still in use today. There are about 1400 Dongba characters. These characters are somewhat like those ancient Egyptian characters.
BAISHUI HE (WHITE WATER RIVER): This is probably the site where you get the most beautiful view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It's about 20 mins from the mountain & is at the base of Spruce Meadow. Upon arrival, you'll be met with lots of tourists. But, if you have the time, do wait for them to leave & then you'll have the entire spectacular landscape to yourself. The yak, the crystal clear water flowing over a series of white terraces coupled with a bright & sunny day will give you a most beautiful setting that no amount of words can describe.
There are basically 2 ways to experience the JADE DRAGON SNOW MOUNTAIN:
1) From Snow Flower Village, take the cable-car ride up to the glacier that sits almost at the top of the mountain. (That's 4406 m / 14 500 ft!). It costs about RMB 110. Here you can stand next to the ice-glacier & enjoy the ultimate (lack of oxygen, lol...)! Yes, you can rent the mini-oxygen tanks as well if you are afraid of altitude sickness.
2) For those who just want a more relaxing journey, take the ski-lift (10 mins. ride) up to Spruce Plank Walkway & enjoy the 30-min walk through the forest where it'll eventually open up into a vast meadow, the Spruce Meadown. I enjoyed the walk through the forest very much. The air is clean, the forest is tranquil & the sunlight feels great! Just a different experience... nice :)
YUNSHAN PING (SPRUCE MEADOW): Driving further north from White Water River, we reached the ski-lift area which took us up to Spruce Meadow. The ride up the mountain is about 10 mins. Before reaching Spruce Meadow, we walked through the forest for about 30 minutes. I love that walk; it was a very relaxing & peaceful trail. Tranquility at the summit!
Right next to the waterwheel is this red stone mural which is called the 'GuCheng ShengShi Tu' - 'Prosperous World of Old Town'. The daily life of the people in their most prosperous era in history is depicted here. The DongBa culture & Naxi music are also depicted.
Sifang Jie (Square Market): This is where most people gathered during the olden days for doing business & trading. Today, it's the place for tourists & locals to gather & enjoy a cup of coffee or beer & shop for local arts & crafts or souvenirs. A place to experience the clean air, clear running water & daily lifestyle of the people of Lijiang.