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China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
Landing first in the beautiful capital of the Yunnan Province of China, Kunming is more than a surprise to me. “The City of Eternal Spring” was a BIG shocker! I was shocked and shaken because my checked-in luggage was damaged, as soon as it came out of the baggage conveyor belt. What a good start, I said sarcastically. With a half-angry, half-scared, half-sleepy character, I felt relieved and distracted right away, because my CN brother offered a grande-sized coffee treat as a welcome drink!

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

I forgot about everything and took notice of the fact that the Kunming airport is insane. The Kunming Changshui International Airport (昆明长水国际机场) looked so extraordinarily striking, with yellow curved lines serving as structural strengths of the airport interior perimeters. It’s an obvious beauty, and I can easily say that it’s one of the best airports in Asia, a true gateway to Southeast and South Asia. It’s clean, not-too-Chinese-noisy, and modern. There’s an airport terminal to the Kunming metro, and easily accessible by any type of transportation. Shuttle Bus services are available too! What a good comeback for Kunming, I said.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Here’s a quick and easy... ALMOST comprehensive travel blog guide for your next Kunming itinerary, no matter how many days you want to spend here. From history, ethnic diversity, and scenic beauty, it’ll be good to spend a few days on this side of China, located in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau.

Kunming - The City of Eternal Spring
春城, Chūnchéng, or Kūnmíng is a calmer and more laid-back version of your stereotypical Chinese city like Beijing or Shanghai. The city has no bitter cold in winter and heat in summer with blossoms opening all the year round. Fact is, because of this, it has long been viewed as one of China’s most livable cities. With a sheepish expression, the Zomya.co brother revealed that Yunnan is more of a retirement province for locals, a third tier, and Kunming is a soon-to-be power city. Well, for one, I wish I could just drop my damaged luggage and retire right there and then. Hahaha! I could not see any problem with this detail, seeing how the mix of Kunming’s modernity and relaxed culture makes it conducive for a well-balanced work, personal, and travel life.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Whether you are from this side of the world, or you are a westerner wanting to live in China, I have observed that Kūnmíng city gives that interesting, without being too overwhelming, assortment of Chinese history, culture, food, and experiential adventures to love. Likewise, Kunming boasts a long history, going back to as early as the 3rd century --- with branching stories about its manufacturing and industrial sectors. This modern capital city remains as one of the major cultural centers of China, because of its beautiful blend of ethnic minorities and communities. Not to mention, its easy-going climate is a pleasant surprise… to smell the air here is quite clean compared to the other China cities! Good, right?

Of course, living here is one thing, but traveling to Kunming for a holiday, is it worth it? Should we focus our DIY itinerary on Kunming more, instead of Dali or Shangri-la? Is this gateway to the well-known South Silk Road worth a few days to explore? What if I am a newbie at traveling? What if I am a retired senior citizen wanting to explore this side of China? These were the completely random questions that I had in mind, while I was drinking Yogurt early in the morning and staring at Kunming’s stunning skyline.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Kunming Itinerary – Best Experiences to Include
Being a serial DIY itinerary traveler and blogger that I am, I often opt for an experiential travel that is both unique and doable. Learning to appreciate different methods and hacks of traveling is key, but to be honest, it seems to be a bit tricky if the place you are talking about is China. So how do we maximize it? Consider these often free and rather easy recommendations below.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Walk Around Like a Local or With a Local
Let me say this: Kunming city has slight annoying traffic conditions, much like the rush hour of Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, it’s easy to get around and go somewhere. You can easily navigate your way around the city center by foot, by mobile-activated bicycles, by city buses, by public taxis, by subway, or by renting your own car. This is very helpful, especially if you are a non-Mandarin speaking backpacker who wants to explore Kunming on your own. It helps that there are Police stations in most neighboring corners, so it’s pretty safe too!

For someone who prefers to walk forever (yes, me), Kunming city is a pleasant walkable place to appreciate for sure. Not too hilly, not too overcrowded, not too confusing. You can just whip out your camera phones and take photos of the uniquely designed buildings, historical temples, colorful streets, lively parks, and delicious looking local food discoveries. You can opt to just stay still in one of the public parks that you see and just observe the life of the crowd. You can also try to walk around at night because the city transforms into this giant ball of imaginative night lights. Google maps, Baidu maps, and CN local travel apps (WeChat, yes?) are surely helpful when you try to navigate around this tourist-friendly city.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Kunming Food Favorites – Tasty Tofu Choices
Instead of shopping around the Heping Village, Tianyuan Road, and Guandu Ancient Town, you can go and try to enjoy some local restaurants that serve vegetable dim sum - xiao long bao. Kunming tofu dishes, particularly their version of stinky tofu, are one of the most mouthwatering you’ll ever taste. Or if you are feeling a tad bit adventurous, why not go for some duck dishes - how about a duck stomach dish? There are so many excellent restaurants in the downtown area of Kunming that are conveniently accessible, especially if you go to areas like Xishan District, East Wind Road of Wuhua District, and Guandu Town of Guandu District. If you are into a distinct Asian kind of spicy food fares, Kunming food trip is recommended. Go to local restaurants, instead of typical bars, because of course, we all know that Chinese food is pretty good, and Kunming has their own signature taste that you have to try!

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Offer a Prayer at the Yuantong Temple
Unlike other Buddhist temples, which are built on a "climbing up" style (you have to climb / hike up to reach it), when you enter this most famous, oldest, and the largest Buddhist temple in Kunming, the Yuantong Temple (圆通寺) is reachable by descending along a gently sloping garden path. Located on the south side of Yuantong Hill, the architectural style is spectacular, especially its palace, octagonal pavilion and at present the only one Theravada Buddhism of the China mainland — copper Buddhist hall. Best to spend an hour or so exploring this place. Although it can be a bit touristy, especially during peak hours and seasons, it’ll be nice to swing by this time when there are not many tourists, preferably around late afternoons to early evenings.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Check in at the heart of the City – Spring City Star Hotel
Formerly known as the Spring City Inn, this quaint and quiet Jifeng Branch hotel (昆明春城之星酒店(集丰店)) is right in the heart of the busy Baita Road. Whether you are here for a short or long stay, business or travel, this mid-range hotel accommodation is very close to everything – convenience stores, local restaurants, parks, banks. You can effortlessly walk to reach notable places like the Kunming ZouLang, Kingkong Tower, Miaozhan Temple, and the Parkson Mall. I like how the hotel is not too over the top, but still excessive in being fantastic. Great Kunming hotel experience – from fanciful city views, clean rooms with complete amenities, and most importantly, polite staff.


bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Stone Forest National Park – Free Scenic Drive
While we are all fan of visiting historical landmarks and religious temples, it is now and again pleasant to visit parks too. Depending on the season: Spring (March to May), Summer (June to August), Autumn (September to October), or Winter (November to February), the best places, especially the off the beaten and not too touristy travel trails are nice to experience more than once. For instance, you can swing by the UNESCO World Heritage Site karst landscape, Stone Forest National Park (石林 Shílín), and get hooked by the unlimited limestone formation. Technically, this is NOT inside Kunming city; but it is a 90 KM~ drive away, and it’s reachable around 20 minutes via train.

Did you know that there is a less touristy top secret driving trail, where you can see the rock formations for free? Yes. Less crowd, more authenticity, which is what you’ll probably enjoy more. How to go there? Ask me.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Coffee at a Local Café Near Yunnan University
Did you know that café hopping can be done in Kunming, particularly if you are near the Yunnan University (云南大学, Yúnnán dàxué), which is one of the most prestigious universities in China? Imagine Harvard University (US), but China version. It’s a certified Double First-Class University. You can quickly go in and out of the university for, good for exploring the campus and seeing their thriving international student community. Seeing the students and the campus will make you want to enroll for a short course. Hahaha! I liked visiting here, because it gives an interesting light to the future of Kunming, from the eyes of their bright students. Well educated, driven, and supportive.

After doing so, it’ll be nice to grab some brunch or go a quick coffee fix in one of the nearby coffee houses around the area. Coffee shops like Salvador's Coffee House (萨尔瓦多咖啡馆) and The Elephant Books (大象書店) are the hipster finds you’ll most likely want to tick off your café bucket list, when in Kunming.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Experiential Adventure Highlight in Kunming
There are signature special places in Kunming that are worth discovering, experiencing, and understanding more, especially if you happen to know a local. Luckily, Zomya.Co gives glimpses of the hidden travel gems and itinerary-worthy necessities that I am surprised are not readily available if you do a quick google search or even if you read travel blogs and forums. There are a lot of secreted must-do travel gems in Kunming that are not known to the outside-China worldview. One distinguishing experiential travel adventure I had a chance to visit was the Kunming Jiameng Flower Market (佳盟花市).

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Kunming Jiameng Flort Market - One of the Largest Flower Markets in Asia
Move over Holland Tulips and Sakura Cherry Blossoms, there’s one amazing flower market in Kunming that you need to be friends with! Anything flower-related and beyond, the Jiameng Flower Market is unbelievable. Located a few minutes’ drive near the airport, this flower market bargains fresh-cut and dried flowers of varying degrees of pretty.

Along with different kinds of local products, you’ll find all your flower needs here. Although the smell of the flowers is neutralized because of the wide array available, if you try to smell a specific kind of flower, you’ll sense how it stands out. I am neither a flower expert, nor do I buy it on a daily basis, but so many unique ones can be found there. So much cut flowers, cut leaves, and cut branches. So much flower baskets, flower bouquets, flower arrangements. So much, so much, so much. 

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province

Fun fact: Did you know that Yunnan Province is China’s LARGEST flower production base? They are responsible for over 50% of the country’s total shares… so the flowers that you can see here are often times shipped to different provinces across China. Moreover, the flowers here are ever-changing, depending on the season, but it does not run out at all. Pretty flowerful, right?

This is a different kind of unique adventure because you’ll be seeing unforgettable flowers. The way the locals haggle and pick their flowers, the art of designing, coloring, and keeping it fresh and ready makes you appreciate the finished products. Also, the good thing about visiting this place is that its close-to-zero tourists and travelers, so the immersion and experience is extraordinary. The locals are very friendly, they’ll smile at you and offer their flower arrangements, even if all they say in Mandarin. Hahaha! They won’t get irritated if you cannot speak their language though. Overall, truly remarkable. It’s one of those exceptional experiences that will make you forget about all your problems in the world, because of the simple and happy atmosphere of the place.

ZOMYA.CO: Experiential Adventures in China
Providing one of a kind travel experiences, through the off the beaten path adventures in China’s Yunnan and Eastern Tibet. Building bridges between local people and authentic cultures, like traditional villages, ethnic markets, and local cuisines. Tailor-made itineraries to give you a different perspective on traveling in China.
Website: http://www.zomya.co/

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province
bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Provincebowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Provincebowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Provincebowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Provincebowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Provincebowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: China :: China Travel Itinerary: 7 Highlights of Kunming City in Yunnan Province


Walking Experiences of a Lifetime

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: UK::  Walking Experiences of a Lifetime

Walking Experiences of a Lifetime

Seeing the world is one of the great pleasures that we each have in our lifetime, but is there a better way to do it than you may have thought? So many of us jet from hotel to hotel, taking in shopping centers and bustling tourist sites as our norm. What I want to convince you of is that a walking holiday offers you a unique insight into the area you’re visiting, much more than a city tour does. By putting you in touch with the locals and their environment in a unique and intimate way, it allows you to see something you can’t during any other type of holiday. To give you plenty of food for thought on the subject, let’s take a look at a handful of the very best walking experiences to be had:

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: UK::  Walking Experiences of a Lifetime

The Camino de Santiago

The beauty of the Camino is that it crisscrosses rural Spain in such an authentic and free-flowing way that it is hard to even remember the stresses you’ve left behind at work and at home. The gently sloping ground is the perfect medium on which to stretch your legs as you soak up the energy from the beating sun. Ideal for recharging your batteries whilst at the same time getting out there and seeing a bit more of the world.
The satisfaction and feeling of achievement that you gain from making it to your new accommodation for the night are so much more fulfilling and satisfying than a lazy day spent lying by the pool. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit some of the local village markets and get some fresh produce and the catch of the day ready for a beautiful lunch. Now if that doesn’t tempt you to get walking on your next vacation then I don’t know what will!

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: UK::  Walking Experiences of a Lifetime

The Peak District       

For those of you looking to take the edge off the beating sun of Southern France and Northern Spain, there are always the cooler climes of the Peak District. The landscape is far hillier with short and sharp climbs and breathtaking submits abounding. This offers you a great choice between tackling the peaks back to back, or weaving your way in between them if you fancy a gentler and most restful holiday.
By making your way from inn to inn over the course of a week, you’ll get a feel for the unique togetherness of each tight-knit community that you make your home for the night in. The people are welcoming and the food is always hearty and filling. Perfect if you want to recharge your batteries ahead of tomorrow’s adventures. There’s also a strong likelihood that you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy a pint of local ale at each stop off, as you sit back and listen to some live music late into the night.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: UK::  Walking Experiences of a Lifetime

The Galway Tour       

The beauty of Ireland lies in the way huge swathes of stunning landscape have remained untouched for centuries. Roads are in far lesser demand in this part of the world than they are on the continent, which makes for some stunning landscapes that are yet to be touched by man. If you want to make the most of the mild weather by really upping your mileage and fitting lots into every single day, then this is one destination that surely must be on your shortlist. The food is delicious, the people love to know your story, and by making your way from village to village, you’ll be able to take in the unique charm and atmosphere of the traditional Irish culture. A stop on your journey that you can’t afford to miss, and one that will certainly leave a lasting impression on you for years to come!

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: UK::  Walking Experiences of a Lifetime

Walking in Tuscany

The last entry on this list is something a little different: a corner of rural Italy that has preserved so much of its traditional way of life. Whilst the sun may beat down all year round and the ground may give the impression that it will be hard and unforgiving underfoot, the beauty of the landscapes will erase these thoughts from your mind the moment you arrive. The foothills roll gently and allow you to set your own pace so that you never feel like you’re on a march. With vineyards to stop off at and explore along the way, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the traditional practices and techniques of this beautiful little corner of the world. As with all things Italian, the beauty lies in simplicity rather than unnecessary complexity. This is something that you’ll take with you as you savor fresh bread and olive oil when you decide to put your feet up for the evening. Sometimes in life, it isn’t about what you do, it’s about how you do it and what you experience along the way.


GUEST POST AUTHOR
Rebecca is a translator by day and a traveler mostly at night. She is an expert on living with jet lag – and packing in tiny suitcases. You can read more of her exploits at RoughDraft

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Work with me! Want to guest post? Please send an email to: bowdywanders@gmail.com, send me a tweet at @bowdywandersor leave a comment at http://www.bowdywanders.com/ 





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