Kunming, the largest city in the Yunnan Province, is regarded as the spring city. The weather is pleasant, the ambience is serene and everything is in its right place equipped with long standing Chinese traditions despite the evolution of skyscrapers.
Unlike other cities in China, Kunming is neither crowded nor polluted though city’s population is closing on 10 million. This is the hub to Yunnan province and offers the best to all sorts of explorers, from history enthusiasts to shopaholics. Bargaining is quite a challenge yet the products are quite cheap with decent quality. And, the laid-back attitude of the locals would let your hair down.
The highlights of Kunming fall into three categories, attractions, food and people. So, I’m gonna describe the best things I enjoyed doing and things I believe you would too.
The first thing comes up in my mind when I think of Kunming would be the Shilin Stone Forest. It’s a 2 hour drive from Kunming city center and is a UNESCO listed heritage site due to its’ remarkable topography. With all astonishing existence of rocks, visitors are stunned with excitement and the attention-grabbing Ashima story is another thing that made me breathless.
Yunnan is the province with the most minorities and Yunnan Nationalities’ Village is the place where your trip itinerary would include. It is a wide compound of 133 hectares exhibiting the 25 minorities residing in Yunnan province. Just like any other nationalities’ villages, there are several restaurants, souvenir shops and costume shops. The park offers loads of activities for visitors in every exhibition site slash the minority house.
Dianchi Lake is the largest lake in Kunming and from the point of Western hills, it offers the most spectacular view of the lake and fishing boats sailing in the misty lake. Listening to the underlying stories of the lake, and appreciating the nature is just enjoyable. The Western hills is free entry but totally worthwhile to visit. There are a few street vendors selling fresh pears and apples and biting a juicy pear while admiring the scenic views is just marvelous.
Kunming Horticulture Expo Garden is so man-made; however, it still deserves applause. It transplants and cultivates more than 2551 different kinds of plants and total census of 2 million. An entry ticket costs 100 RMB and if you visit later in the afternoon, you only have to pay 70 RMB.
Food & Beverage
I used to think that Chinese have sweet tooth, but when I actually get to Yunnan, it totally blew out my prior judgment. Literally, every single dish here contains chilies. Over-the-bridge rice noodles is the signature dish; it’s simply a bowl of chicken and rice noodles garnished with a lot of vegetables. Yijiang roasted duck is another terrific eat. With mouthwatering aroma, tenderness, magnificent taste, it deserves well to be in your wish list.
Smoothie is another extraordinarily good thing Kunming has to offer as the fruits are very fresh and price is low, we had that most of our days in Kunming. And, BBQ is everywhere- that’s what I love about Kunming. Chicken or pork slices on bamboo sticks are grilled on charcoal fire and it is best accompanied with a bottle or two of Chinese beer unless you are teetotal. Besides, the food and drinks cost is relatively cheap. It didn’t cost me 80 RMB a day and I ate like a queen!
I always like the quote “destinations are just places; it is people who make your trip memorable”. My trip to Kunming would never have been so unforgettable without the amazing people I met. The locals are so friendly, kind and relaxed and there were of course language barriers but that was a part of the fun I believe, travelling has to offer.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Kunming and I am definitely visiting there again one day and you should too…..