The capital city of Yunnan, the land of eternal spring offers wondrous nature attractions and the gateway to one of China’s foodie haven.
HOW TO GET THERE
The easiest way to get to Kunming from KL is by flight which takes 3 and a half hours. If you are from Shanghai, you can take the new Shanghai-Kunming High- Speed Train that takes an average of 11 hours to travel over 2000km. There are also many normal trains that travel from neighbouring places like Dali, Chengdu and Nanning.
WHAT TO DO
The Chinese love their tea and the ones grown around Yunnan are some of the best in the country. One of the popular tea markets is the Xiong Da Tea Market in northern Kunming. Rows and rows of shops sell local green tea, black tea and the specialty Pu’er tea that is pressed into a circular ‘cake’ where the quality is dictated by the number of years it’s being stored.
Dianchi Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan is a scenic spot for activities like boating, angling or just bird watching. The best spot is at Haigeng Park where colourful flowers bloom by the waters. Catch the western hills on a clear day, better yet, climb it to get a bird’s eye view of the entire lake. The Western Hills or the Sleeping Buddha Hills is home to holy places like the Huating Temple and Sanqing Pavilion.
WHERE TO STAY
Close to the mosque and located in the center of Kunming city is the Blossom Hotel. Minimalist yet rustic rooms make this one of the best value hotels in the city. Get well rested in rooms with twin bed or queen with free WiFi to boot.
Those looking for a taste of luxury can stay at the 4-star Hilton Yuxi Fuxian Lake. The architecture has a European feel with Greek columns and arched windows. Take the room with a balcony overlooking one of the deepest freshwater lakes in China.
WHERE TO EAT
If you like eating Malaysian laksa, then welcome to the land of rice noodles because in Kunming, it is very popular. Shaguo Mixian is when rice noodles are served in clay bowls topped with ground pork, pickled greens and broth. Another variety is Douhua Mixian where the rice noodles are served with fresh tofu pudding and topped with condiments like meat, spring onions and leeks.
Kunming is also known for their street snacks and a unique one, eaten by many of the minority groups in a variety of ways is grilled cheese. Rubing is a type of cheese native in Kunming made from sheep or goat’s milk. From afar, it looks like fried tofu but it is actually cheese. You can eat it as it is or see it stir-fried with vegetables side dishes.