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This is a small book shop in a trendy university area. It has a fair number of Chinese books and language books (learning englsih or chinese). Most importantly it has a decent selection English language books (also some in Spanish, French, and German). Not just the classics that every Xihua government book store has, but modern novels, non-fiction about Yunnan, Tibet, and Southeast Asia, imported magizines, and a good selection of up to date Travel Guides.
This is the best book shop I've seen in Mainland China. Surely there are better ones in Shanghai and Beijing, but I couldn't find them. If you are traveling around China and want a decent novel to read, this place can provide.
What to pay: Prices are only 10-30% more than the printed price for the western country it came from, which is fair for an import.
Written Apr 25, 2005
Address: Wen Hua Xiang #52
One often wonders where the rich shop. Well THIS is the place.
Internationally well-known brands: Swatch, Cerrutti, Cartier, Hermes, Lancome, Mont Blanc, Longines, Omega, Chanel are all to be found here.
Price - EXpensive.
What to buy: Typical departmental Store.
What to pay: hundreds of RMB to start with.
Written Aug 8, 2004
Address: Bai Ta Lu
Along the road to the top of Westhill you will find a lot of stalls.
Alternatively on the north side of Green Lake.
China has 52 races living in the country. In Yunnan you can find 26 of them.
What to buy: The set of figurines is a good momento of Yunnan as this is a province with lots of minorities. The set comes with an introduction of each figurine in English.
What to pay: The minorities figures ( a set of 56 ) cost about RMB 40.
Updated Jul 5, 2004
Address: Up the Western Hills or By the Green Lake (North)
Kunming is famous for its mushrooms.
You can stirfry them with garlic and peppercorn, stirfry them with other veges, make an omelette, throw them in your favourite soups and improvise a recipe of your own.
In the months of June to Oct (rainy season), one can also find many wild mushrooms. Locals love them, and die from eating them.
Some are poisonous until thoroughly cooked. Restaurants and canteens are not allowed (by the authorities) to prepare them for fear of group poisoning.
What to buy: 1. Dried Black Niu(2) Gan(1) Jun(4)
2. Dried Yellow Niu(2) Gan(1) Jun(4)
3. Dried Ji(1) Zhong(1) Jun(4) - tastes like chicken
4. Dried Song(1) Rong(2) - this is the ultra expensive mushroom, especially in Japan (matsutake?). They grown close to the pine trees.
What to pay: At supermarket, the first 3 are quite reasonable, about RMB 150 per KG. The last one is more expensive about RMB 1000 per KG.
At the wet market, the fresh mushrooms start from RMB 6 per KG.
Updated Jun 29, 2004
This is a shop invested by some businessmen from hong kong. Anyway that aside, there are also some others like "yi xing tang", which is the oldest herbal medicine shop in Kunming.
What to buy: There are two herbal medicine that is local to Kunming:
1) san(1) qi(1) or tian(2) qi(1). This is good for those with high blood pressure.
2) tian(1) ma(2). This is good for those with migraines.
You double-boil chicken/meat with them in it.
What to pay: Depends on the grade. San qi starts from RMB 60 per 100g, whereas tian ma starts from RMB 200 per 100g (the wild ones)
As the stuff are dry, they are quite light, so even 50g is plenty.
Written Jun 28, 2004
Depends on the item.
This is a list of items which are produced in Yunnan, so it is inexpensive to buy and makes a good souvenir.
What to buy: 1. Herb - Tian Ma. Cures migranes and headaches.
2. Herb - San Qi. Excellent for people with high blood pressure.
3. Flower tea - Yunnannese makes tea with all kinds of flowers.
4. Pu Er tea - This is only produced in Yunnan and nowhere else in the world.
5. Dolls dressed in ethnic costumes/Bai fabric (great table cloth)/minorities arts and crafts.
6. Processed ham (yunnan ham)
7. Various mushrooms (dried so you can take home). Be adventurous here. Apparently the most expensive is "song rong".
What to pay: Depends on the item.
Written Jun 27, 2004
This is a little shop in the giant wholesale market called "Luosiwan Everyday Use Goods Teminal market" or "Luosiwan Riyong Pifa Shichang".
The shop sells various bags and pouches and letter boxes made by the minorities at both wholesale (> 5 pc) and retail price.
There are 26 ethnic minorities living in Yunnan, the most prominent ones being Bai (Dali), Yi (largest minorities population), Naxi (because of Lijiang), Tibetians (up in the mountains), and Dai (Xishuang Banna prefecture).
What to buy: The pouches which cost as little as RMB 1.5 (wholesale).
There are also dolls, hand-crafted wooden dolls dressed in ethnic costumes.
What to pay: Less than RMB 5 per item.
Updated Jun 26, 2004
Address: Huan Cheng Nan Lu
Tea is Yunnan's specialty.
And the teashop is one of the best places to experience local culture.
The host will take you through a tea ceremony. Just watch him/her brew the tea, pour it from his pot to a storage pot, then to your little teacup.
Enjoy a cuppa !
What to buy: Pu Er Green Tea
Pu Er Black Tea
You can buy it from the large jar, or take the whole compressed brick/biscuit/lump home with you.
What to pay: Tea is like wine. The price ranges from less than 10 RMB per 100g to hundreds RMB per 100g.
You can bargain a bit if you buy more than RMB 10.
Written Jun 26, 2004
Fruit stalls are good to visit in Kunming, especially for an "orang kampung" from Malaysia.
What to buy: I never thought green plums could taste so good, until I accidentally bought some while waiting for my bus.
They are wonderfully sweet.
What to pay: RMB 2.50 to RMB 5 per KG. (about 15 fruit - good buy eh ?) Do make sure the vendors' weighing scale is accurate. Watch that, because if you don't, chances are you will be cheated.
Updated Jun 17, 2004
Walmart and Carrefour have made their way to Kunming. Personal items are aplenty, and the price is cheap. Also available are grocery items.
However, the CD's are slightly more expensive than the ones on the street.
What to buy: You can also find special things like Yunnan sweets, beef jerkey, and Yunnan tea in these supermarkets.
What to pay: Cheap, as long as it is not imported.
Updated Jun 16, 2004
Address: Corner of Ren Min Xi Lu and Dongfond Xi Lu
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