Kunming hotels accommodation - China hotel travel guide  
Home >> China >> Kunming
Top Destinations
Travel Tools

Kunming hotels accommodation - China hotel travel guide

The region of Kunming has been inhabited for 20000 years. Tomb excavations around Lake Dian to the south of the city have unearthed thousands of artefacts from that period -- weapons, drums, paintings, and silver, jade and turquoise jewelry - that suggest a well-developed culture and provide clues to a very sketchy early history of the city. Unit the 8th century the town was a remote Chinese outpost, but the kingdom of Nanzhao, centred to the northwest of Kunming at Dahi, captured it and made it a secondary capital. In 1274 the Mongols came through sweeping all and sundry before them. Marco Polo, who put his big feet and top hat in everywhere, gives us a fascinating picture of Kunming's commerce in the late 13th century.

In the 14th century the Ming set up shop in Yunnanfu, as Kunming was then known, building a walked town on the present site. From the 17th century onwards the history of this city becomes rather grisly. The last Ming resistance to the invading Manchu took place in Yunnan in the 1650s and was crushed by General Wu Sangui. Wu in turn rebelled against the king and held out until his death in 1678. His successor was overthrown by the Manchu Emperor Kangxi and killed himself in Kunming in 1681. IN the 19th century, the city suffered several bloodbaths as teh rebel Muslim leader Du Wenxiu, the Sultan of Dali, attacked and besieged the city several times between 1858 and 1868. A large number of buildings were destroyed and it was not until 1873 that the rebellion was finally and bloodily crushed. Teh intrusion of the West into Kunming began in the middle of the 19th century when Britain took control of Burma and France took control of Indochina, providing access to the city from the south. By 1900 Kunming, Hekou, Simoa and Mengzi were opened to foreign trade. The French were keen on exploiting the region's copper, tin and lumber resources, and in 1910 their Indochina railroad, started in 1898, reached the city.

Kunming's expansion began with WW II, when factories were established here and refugees fleeing the Japanese poured in from eastern China. To keep the Japanese tied up in China, Anglo-American forces sent supplies to Nationalist troops entrenched in Sichuan and Yunnan. Supplies came overland on a dirt road carved out of the mountains in 1937-38 by 160,000 Chinese with virtually no equipment. This was the famous Burma Road, a 1000-km haul from Lashio to Kunming (today, the western extension of Kunming's Renming Lu, leading in the direction of Heilinpu, is the tail end of the Road). Then in early 1942 the Japanese captured Lashio, cutting the line. Kunming continued to handle most of the incoming aid during 1942-45 when American planes flew the dangerous mission of crossing the "Hump", the towering 5000-metres mountain ranges between India and Yunnan. A black market sprang up and a fari proportion of the medicines, canned food, petrol and other goods intended for the military were siphoned off into other hands.

The face of Kunming has been radically altered since then: streets wedened, office buildings and housing projects flung up. With the coming of the railways, industry has expanded rapidly, and a surprising range of goods and machinery available in China now bears the "made in Yunnan" stamp. Kunming also has its own steel plant. The city's production includes foodstuffs, trucks, machine tools, electrical equipment, textiles, chemicals, building materials and plastics. The population hovers around the two million mark; minority groups have drifted toward the big lights in search of work, and some have made their home there. At most the minorities account for 6% of Kunming's population, although the farming areas in the outlying counties have some Yi, Hui and Miao groups native to the area. Also calling Kunming home are some 150,000 Vietnamese refugees from the Chiness - Vietnamese wars and border clashes that started in 1977. There's very little to see in the way of temples and such in Kunming. The city is howevera great place to wander around on foot, once you get off the wide boulevards and away from the Kunming Hotel end of town. Opposite the Green Lake HOtel is the Green Lake Park. Pleasantly decked out with foliage and waterways, it offers several roller-skating rinks and the possibility of art exhibitions, floral displays or special shows. Sidewalk masseurs in front of the hotel offer Y5 massages. The walking distance so far is about two km. From the park you could head east to Yantong Temple or cross down to Daguan Jie (south east), which has an extensive free market (from the southern end of Daguan you can pick up a bus No. 4 direct to Yuantong Temple).

In both the north west sector of Kunming (in the Green Lake vicinity) and along Kaguan Jie are green-shuttered, double-storey shop fronts - a rare glimpse of that elusive traditional wooden architecture that glossy travel magazines would have us believe is all over the country. The stretch of Daguan Jie between Donggeng Xilu and Huancheng Xilu is lined with a large range of produce coming from out-of-town farms, along wiht cobblers and other merchants.

Another section to perambulate is the shopping bit south of Dongfeng (east of Zhengyi), around Jinbi Lu - plenty of back alleys there too.

Keep an eye out for street performers - we're still puzzling over an artiste who stuck knoves in his stomach and pulled skewers through his cheeks - he seemed quite well enough to pass around the hat as he plugged the wounds with a blood - soaked towel.

Kunming Guide

China Guide

Travel Guides
Home >> China >> Kunming  

Content & Design © Wide Discovery

Email: info@yourrooms.com

Interest Site: Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Loas, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UAE, Vietnam, Travel Link