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Kunming

Kunming Travel Blog

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Market

We got up and had breakfast - cereal for Fab and banana pancake for me. After breakfast we left and headed towards the bookshop so Fab could get himself something to read on our long train journeys. Using our Chinese only map we managed to find our way quite easily (although the map wasn’t very accurate and we had to guess where it was). We had been told that the Mandarin Bookshop was one of the best in China, although a little pricey, but we were very surprised when we arrived.

The store was very small, with the upstairs section having a small area for foreign language books. We spotted a few books of interest and looked at the prices; they were charging more than the equivalent price you’d buy it for, RRP, in the UK. Despite the great titles we decided we couldn’t justify paying more than the recommended retail price and headed off in search of the bird and flower market, which was supposed to be a great sight.

Our room

We passed the park we had visited the previous day and saw a man flying a kite; but it was so high in the sky it was barely visible. We continued onwards for a few minutes and kept our eyes peeled for the market. We spotted a few cages of birds and thought we must be near and walked around the corner to be greeted with a much different market than we had expected. The street was lined on both sides with boxes upon boxes of puppies! Tiny, cute, playful, soft puppies! We walked up one side of the street and down the other, petting some of them and just ooohing and ahhhing at them. There were also some kittens but they were sleepy and in a cage so we didn’t really notice them.

After our fill of cute creatures, we continued in our search for the bird and flower market.

Our room
As we turned the corner we saw many tanks of goldfish and tropical fish, but no flowers and no birds. By this stage we had reached the old, run down street we had walked down the previous day and remembered that there was a market there, so we wandered in that direction and entered the market place. There was a huge variety of gift items, from mini tanks made our of bullet shells, to imitation shotguns, silk ties, boxes of tea, clothes, and more, but still no birds or flowers. We left the market and checked our map. We were definitely in the right place, so guessed that the market must only run on certain days so gave up and headed home. I later discovered that the market is there everyday, so our Chinese only map must have let us down again. Needless to say, we have decided to stick with tourist maps in future! On the way home we walked past some of the major construction areas of Kunming and took some photographs as the sheer size of the buildings is immense.
Our room

That evening we had dinner at our hostel and had a nice evening watching movies, playing pool and generally relaxing before leaving to catch our train to Chengdu. We asked the hostel if they could call a taxi for us, but they said you have to just wait outside and hail one. They failed to mention, however, that the taxis don’t necessarily stop for you, and at that time of the evening, they usually have passengers.

We left the hostel with one hour before our train was to depart, knowing that we needed to be at the station at least 30 minutes before departure, but could we find a taxi to take us? No, of course not. We stood in the middle of the road (more or less) and waved left and right and no-one stopped. We decided the other side of the road looked like it had more taxis going down it so we crossed over.

Dining area
We hailed a cab but he didn’t want to take us to the station so we had to wait until the next one came along. By this time, we were getting short of time and starting to wonder what we’d do if we missed our train.

Just after that thought popped into our minds another taxi driver pulled up and he agreed to take us. We hopped in and off we went to the station. We arrived there in good time and found our platform. The train was already borded by the time we arrived so we rushed to the platform to make it. As we found our bunk we spotted the same guy we had seen on the previous train a few nights earlier. We were all sleeping in exactly the same ‘compartment’ area of the carriage, and in exactly the same beds! We said our hellos, put our luggage on the rack and settled in for the night.

Dining/lounge area

It was an 18 hour journey but it went by quite fast and comfortably despite the seemingly increased number of smokers congregating between the carriages.

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Market
Market
Our room
Our room
Our room
Our room
Our room
Our room
Dining area
Dining area
Dining/lounge area
Dining/lounge area
Kunming
photo by: eefab