Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Yunnan Province Part 1: Kunming

 Typically, when you think of honeymoons, you imagine a tropical atmosphere, a fancy resort by the beach, and maybe some champagne in a luxurious hotel room. The last thing you would probably imagine would be trekking through the foothills of the Himalayas, spending $6.00 USD per night to stay in rustic guest houses, and gorging on oily Chinese food.

...However, as I'm sure you can guess if you've been reading my blog for a while, we're more of the trekking, cheap lodging and new and unusual food types, and that is probably how we found ourselves spending two weeks in Yunnan province of China for our honeymoon.

But all good trips need to start somewhere, and for a trip to Yunnan, the most logical starting point is Kunming, the capital and largest city of the province.

We flew in to Kunming late at night on September 13th. As the airport railway was already closed for the night when we arrived, we hopped in the first cab we found (avoiding the numerous obnoxious people in the airport trying to get us into their cabs) and got into town for just 100¥ (about $16.00 USD). As it was late at night, we went straight to our room and passed out.

In the morning, we started wondering around. First thing first, I wanted to get a cell phone as I was to  stay in China for the next month. We found me a smartphone for about 900¥ and then we started to roam about the city. 

The first place we found was a large park with many small ponds. All around the park were various performances and just plain things happening. The photo below was a group of people playing music. We couldn't quite figure out if this was a band having their practice, or a performance, or just a bunch of random people who accidentally met and started playing spontaneously. 

Next we stumbled upon Yuentong Temple 圆通寺. This temple is no less than 1,200 years old and is considered the most important temple in Yunnan Province. As we walked around, we found not just the average temple-goers lighting candles, but also a group of adult students who seemed to be there for some Buddhist education.

The temple itself was decivingly large. While the street entrance seemed fairly modest, the temple expands quite far behind reveilding more and more interesting buildings, pools and statues.

While I don't have any photos, one of the most exciting places we visited in Kunming was the Flower and Bird Market. Lots of good shopping and interesting sights. Probably the best place to pick up bird flu, too.

The next morning we were up at 4:00 am to catch an early flight to Shangrila. Yes, there really is a place called Shangrila. I'll save the next adventure for the next post...

Not so far from Shangrila

No comments:

Post a Comment