Kunming travel information guide  
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Kunming travel information guide

Yunnan is the most varied of all of China's provinces, with terrains as widely divergent as tropicall rainforest and icy Tibetan highlands. It is alos the sixth largest provinces in China and the home of a third of all China's ethnic minorities, and it harbours half of all China's plant and animal species.

The jurisdiction of Kunming covers 6,200 sq.km, including four city districts and four rural counties (which supply the city with fruit and vegetables). The centre of the city is the roundabout near that prominent landmark the Kunming Department Store. The main shopping-eating-theatre district is the sector immediately south-east of this. The older back-alley maze is north and north-west of Zhengyi Department Store. Most of the recreational features are beyond this old quarter (Cuihu Park, the zoo, Yuantong Temple). The main markets are on Daguan Jie, at the western side of the town - nad this is also the direction for the best out-of-town sights.

International Flight To Kunming
Being one of the six biggest air terminals in China, Kunming has international airlines, linked with Singapore, Bangkok, Chiangmai, Yangon, Vientiane, Kuala Lumpur and Hongkong, and has forty domestic airlines as well. It also has railways reaching Hai Noi, the capital of Vietnam and cities of China and the highways radiating to all over the country.

Weather in Kunming
If fine weather is what you're looking for in a vacation, you'd be hard pressed to find a better destination than Yunnan. Known throughout the country as the City of Eternal Spring, Yunnan's capital city of Kunming enjoys some of the most temperate weather in China. With the average summer temperature peaking out at 27 degrees Celsius (80°F) and the winter's coldest temperatures around 3 Celsius (35°F), Kunming's climate makes it a popular destination for foreigners and Chinese alike - especially during February's Spring Festival when schools take a month-long break and other parts of China are covered in snow.

Yunnan's Chinese name means "South of the Clouds," which is especially apt considering the dreary weather in Sichuan, the province immediately to the north. But every now and then, the clouds decide to migrate and settle over the Spring City. Summer is the monsoon season in Yunnan, with an average of 8.8 inches (223.5 mm) of rain falling on Kunming in July alone. In contrast, a mere .4 inches (10 mm) falls in January. The rain is heaviest from June through August, with September seeing a gradual tapering off. Twice as much rain falls in the four months from June to September as in the remaining eight months put together.

So for your visit to Kunming, don't forget to bring your short-sleeved shirts and sunglasses. But if you're visiting in the summer, throw a raincoat in the pack as well. It's likely the Spring City will decide to let some April showers fall on you during your visit.

Currency, Foreign Exchange
The Kunming, Green Lake, Camillia and Golden Dragon hotels each have foreign exchange counters. The highest concentration of moneychangers is in front of the Kunming Hotel. Rates are usually among the best in China.

Travelling Within Kunming
Most of the major sights are within a 15-km radius of Kunming. Local transport to these places is awkward, crowded and time-consuming; it tends to be an out-and -back job, with few crossovers for combined touring. If you wish to take in everything, you'd be looking at something like five return trips, which would consume about three days. You can simplify this by pusshing Black Dragon Pool, Anning Hot Springs and the Golden Temple to the Background, and concentrating on the trips of high interest - the Bamboo Temple and Western Hills, both of which have decent transport connections with special express buses in the morning. Lake Dian presents some engrossing circular-tour possibilities on its own. Better yet, buy a map, hire a good bicycle and tour the area by bike.

Medical Service
The Yanan Hospital (Yanan Yiyuan) is on Jiaosanqiao Lu, about one km north-east of the Kunming Hotel - there's a foreigners' clinic on the 1st floor of the outpatients' building. The Yunnan Comprehensive Quick Recovery Qigong Sanatorium is one of the four main qigong research bases in China. Their recent advertisement in the China Daily concluded; If you think you might qualify for treatment, their contact address is; Shenzhen Yunxing Kunming Touring Company, Chuanjin Lukou, Kunming.

Places To Eat
Kunming has some great food, especially in the snack line. Regional specialities are herbinfused chicken in an earthenware steampot (Qiguoji), Yunnan ham (xuanwei huotei), across-the-bridge noodles (guoqiao mixian), goat cheese (rubing) and various Muslim beef and mutton dishes. One of the best side dishes in the restaurnats is toasted goat cheese - very tasty. The chief breakfst in Kunming, as throughout most of Yunnan, is noodles (choice of rice or wheat), usually served in a meat broth and chilli sauce.

You have to do a fair bit of digging to come up with inspiring purchases in Kunming. Yunnan specialities are jade (related to Burmese), marble (from the Dali area), batik, minority embroidery (also musical instruments and dress accessories) and spotted brass utensils. Other crafts to considers are some of the basic utilitarian items that are part of everyday Yunnanese life, eg the large bamboo waterpipes for smoking angel-haired Yunnan tobacco, local herbal medicines (Yunnan-made baiyao is a blend of over 100 herbs and is highly prized by Chinese throughout the world) and the qiguo or ceramic steampot.

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