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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A chinese medicine shop which sells herbal foot-spa powder !! I have been to many massage parlours in Kunming, and of course they use this powder for the foot-spa. I like the herbal aroma of it.
So when I saw this shop selling it (1 pack for RMB 5, you only need to pour half a pack in the hot water each time), i just had to buy it.
What to buy: Herbal foot-spa powder
What to pay: RMB 5 per pack
This shop is located right outside Carrefour. But there are a lot of other shops who get their supply from Yunnan.
What to buy: HONEY. Many different types of it. From different flowers. With different medicinal property, from skincare to holistic health.
You have to ask the staff what is for what, they also have a brochure but usually they won't let you take it away.
But you may want to make sure that the shop is proper because a lot of shops fill their honey into unwashed plastic bottles which smell of chemical.
Over here it is common to just add honey to warm water, stir and drink. You don't have to use it as spread. It can also replace sugar in your soyabean milk !
What to pay: About RMB 10 to RMB 25, depending on which type, and the size.
Like 500g of pipa honey = RMB 10.
A net over a coalfire to BBQ the Er Quai, which is one of the 18 strange things about Yunnan.
Er Quai is made from cooked rice. This is different from other chinese pancakes (papa) which are usually made from rice flour or wheat flour.
Pots of sauces, both savoury and sweet, and spicy.
Just tell them what you like.
About RMB 1 per piece.
What to buy: BBQ Er Quai.
You may add You Tiao to it. (RMB 0.50 extra)
What to pay: Er Quai = RM 1 per piece.
You can recognise it by its deep-frying wok, and the pieces of potato sitting on a steel net above the wok.
Note: it is deep-fried, not BBQ.
What to buy: The potato is smeared with some sauce, a mixture of furu (fermented beancurd) and doubianjiang(fermented bean sauce).
Then a handful of mint leaves + er gen (nobody likes it, but luckily its amount is relatively few, but do try it just to experience the taste, it has a "cooling" property to counter the "heat" from the deep-fried potatoes) + coriander + rosemary is tossed into the bag.
Chilli powder is an option you can do without if you prefer non-spicy snack.
What to pay: Get a RMB0.50 bag. It will do as an excellent afternoon snack. And it is vegetarian !
If you are not that ladylike, you can eat and walk at the same time.
Kunming is best known for Pu'er tea. As each region in China specialises in production of different types of tea, it is best to find out the specialties of each region.
Shops around town will sell all kinds of tea from all over China, but look out for the local flavour - Pu'er, BanTianYao and QiYeDan.
What to buy: Look for the tea "discus" and "bricks". These are Pu'er tea compressed into shapes of discus or bricks. Good souvenirs.
What to pay: About RMB350 or so for 500g of tea, depending on type and grade.
Flowers are plentiful in Kunming. For low prices, you can buy dried and fresh flowers. According to our guide, roses in winter cost most at 10RMB for a dozen. That is still very very cheap!!
There are also potpourri bags, floral teas and much more.
What to pay: Very reasonable prices
This is a supermarket specialising in Yunnanese products.
What to buy: Seaweed. My mom says the seaweed in Kunming is fantastic, although I am puzzled because Kumnnig is far from the sea.
This is the seaweed you use to make soup.
Throw some sliced pork, or minced pork, and fishballs. Garnish with coriander and chopped spring onion. Yum yum.
What to pay: Cheaper than what you pay in Malaysia
Traditional chinese medicines/herbs.
What to buy: 1. Dang(1) Gui(1) - from RMB 50 per KG.
2. San(1) Qi(1) - the fewer the "heads" the better, good for blood flow - from RMB 380 per KG.
3. Dried red dates - from RMB 20 per KG.
All kinds of stuff.
What to buy: Gingko nuts is a bargain here. They are ultra-fresh (unlike the mouldy look you may get in many malaysian store) and of good quality.
What to pay: About 18 RMB to 25 RMB per KG, depending on the size, and the poshness of the shop/stall.
Lots of flowers for sale in the market. About 100 stalls. Roses, Carnations, Lilies, and Gerberras are the most common.
Also available are dried flowers, essential oils and burner.
Don't need to pay more than RMB 5 for each bouquet, unless you are sure of the superior quality.
The whole street has many flower shops. You have to walk a bit down the street to find the market.
What to buy: Roses at RMB 5 for 20 stalks are irresistable.
There are many colours to choose from. Carnations are even cheaper.
Expect to pay more for those flower arrangement though, although the colour combination is quite "country-style". Imagine yellow and red roses put together.
What to pay: RMB 5 per bouquet.