AsiaChinaKunming

18:24 to Kunming

Kunming Travel Blog

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View from the train ride in.

After leaving Shanghai, I popped over to Kunming in Southwest China on a 38 hour train.  Straight.  Luckily I found a savior and companion in Fanny, a college Chinese girl who spoke English.  Through her I was able to answer lots of questions from the older men on board such as 1) Where was my boyfriend/husband?, 2) Why am I here?, and 3) How could my parents let me travel around and not study/work?  Fun times.  But actually despite the long trip it wasn't so bad.  I don't want to fly anywhere so I can travel like the locals and also see some scenery since I can't stop everywhere.  China is a big country afterall.  I enjoyed watching the older men drinking Bijou (reference Beijing) at 10:30am saying "it's almost lunch" haha.

Yun nan Buddhist Temple.
  I like their style.

In Kunming I finally hit some warm weather, yay!  There isn't a whole lot to do there, but there was a nice little Buddhist temple and a great park that I spent a lot of time in.  One night I met a New Zealand girl traveling alone, Julie, and the next day we went to Stone Forest which is an amazing park filled with these huge rocks coming out of the ground.  We had a heck of a time getting there, including two taxi's which told us 'no' when we asked them to take us somewhere, and 3 buses for a grand total of 4 hours.  But that's part of traveling I suppose and it was definitely worth it.  We even met a few other Westerners on the way, two of which I saw again in Lijiang.

Yum, corn flavored soft candy.

I took an overnight bus to  Lijiang and while it was really cool to see the stars and outlines of the mountains while lying down and moving, it ws not very comfortable. We apparently got there 3 hours early but the driver didn't tell anyone and so I woke up in a parking lot with half the bus gone and the driver in the bed next to me.  Thank goodness for the Dutch guy on board for letting me know we were there!  I then had a ton of trouble getting someone to tell the hostel person where I was so they could pick me up.  I actually started tearing up as person after person ignored me asking for help.  Trip low point.  I was much better once I got to Mama Naxi's hostel.  I immediately got chatted up by John, the English guy working there, for about an hour but after awhile was able to get a room and walk around the cool Old Town filled with shops and restaurants.

An empty bus in China?! Yes, it is true. I was there.
  They have this huge family meal at the hostel and I met a ton of people heading up to Tiger Leaping Gorge (this famous trail up a mountain along, obvioiusly, a gorge where supposedly a tiger leaped across, thus the name) the next day that I could go with.  Too bad the dinner made me sick.. first illness of the trip!  Not sure why I put an exclamation point there.

Kristen (Australian), Marion (Chilean), and Jen and Paul (British) and I hiked up Tiger Leaping Gorge for an absolutely horrible 4 hours uphill.  There was a guy on a donkey following us to see if we would get tired and pay to take us, but after about 2 hours he realized we would rather torture ourselves and left.

Stone Forest.
   I got sick for a little while which doubled my fun, but once we got past the uphill part it was just incredible and I even had enough energy to chase some chickens.  The view was outstanding and the guesthouse we stayed at, the Halfway House, had the craziest awesome view from their bathrooms!  They didn't even have windows on the stalls, it just opened up into the view.  Outstanding.  Unfortunately we got stuck behind a Chinese tour group and so it took us over an hour to get our food (which after a 6 hour hike our patience was decreasing) but all in all it was a good stay and we had a lot of fun talking and meeting other travelers.  Including an American couple carrying a BABY in a backpack the whole way.  They would be American.

After Lijiang I headed down to Dali to visit Fanny.

Julie about to enter a little tunnel.
  The 3 and a half hour bus ride there included me sitting next to a man who felt the need to light a cigarette every 20 minutes.  9 cigarettes in 3 hours, on a bus with no windows.  I could have killed him. Anyways, I met up with Fanny and she showed me around the Old City, had some rose tea, and took a long boat ride on the famous Er Hai Lake.  The boat had a show and a tea ceremony and stopped at a few islands along the way for us to get out and walk.  At the end we visited a Butterfly Pavilion, apparently their claim to fame, and headed back to Dali for a traditional Bai meal.  All in all a great day!  And sunny too!  Got myself a little bit of a tan started, which is kinda funny considering the Chinese want to be as white as possible and carry umbrellas to avoid getting darker.
Yay, rocks!
  They even put on whitening face cream.  I then stayed in Fanny's hometown of Yang Bi for one night with her family and got to try a real Chinese dinner prepared by her dad.  It was such a great experience and I'm really appreciative of being able to stay with a local person.

Now I'm back in Kunming for a day.  Today I'm going to try and get an overnight bus to Vietnam, thus ending my time in China!

Keegs47 says:
I'm loving all the pictures, especially the mountains! I probably would have passed out about a half an hour into that hike. I'm so sorry about your black pants.. i lost my fav jeans in europe and it took me weeks to get over it lol. I can't believe you've been traveling like a month already - impressive!
Posted on: May 02, 2010
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View from the train ride in.
View from the train ride in.
Yun nan Buddhist Temple.
Yun nan Buddhist Temple.
Yum, corn flavored soft candy.
Yum, corn flavored soft candy.
An empty bus in China?! Yes, it is…
An empty bus in China?! Yes, it i…
Stone Forest.
Stone Forest.
Julie about to enter a little tunn…
Julie about to enter a little tun…
Yay, rocks!
Yay, rocks!
It actually DOES look like an elep…
It actually DOES look like an ele…
Keep off the grass would have wo…
'Keep off the grass' would have w…
Some local girls in their traditio…
Some local girls in their traditi…
Kunming
photo by: eefab