Part Three – Kunming

July 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm (China, Travel) (, )

Day Thirteen

We were completely on our own in Kunming… No guide, no plans, no suggestions. Thank God for the internet and Apple maps! This is the way both mum and I prefer to travel and I think that was reflected in the fun and varied day we had.

Green Lake Park was our first destination. We caught the bus directly from our hotel and then wandered around the park. It truly was beautiful and it was lovely to see people out and about even though it was raining. (Surprise surprise!) The lotus ponds were of particular interest, as was the original pump room for the city. The locals here had access to running water from the park in 1917.

IMG_2088After an amazing tea break (best black tea I’ve had in China) we caught a baby bus to Chuàng Kù. Lonely Planet claimed that we would find a small collection of art galleries showcasing modern Chinese artists and photographers. We did not. We did find the cafe they spoke about and enjoyed a drink and a croissant while watching some ladies attempt hip hop dancing. Not exactly the most coordinated bunch, but man they were having fun.

We negotiated the buses again and this time caught a double decker to the Yúnnán Nationalities Museum. Not only was this museum free, but it was also highly interesting. Twenty-five different ethnic minorities live in Yúnnán and many aspects of their culture including art, musical instruments and clothing are displayed in the museum. The exhibits had English translations and the colorful costumes in particular were well displayed. Over my time as a traveler, I’ve visited many such museums and this one really struck me as being informative, we’ll set out and worthwhile.

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Fascinating shadow puppetry

On our way back to the hotel we passed a Wal-Mart and I remembered that I still had Wal-Mart vouchers that needed spending. Wal-Mart in Suzhou closed down before I managed to spend the welcome vouchers my school gave me when I arrived a year ago. So mum and I went on a mission to Wal-Mart to eradicate the vouchers once and for all. We soon found out that I had 320RMB to spend. (Much more than I expected)

It was quite an amusing experience going to Wal-Mart and trying to find enough sensible things to use up the vouchers, especially as we’re in the middle of a trip! Mum chose some chopsticks and moisturiser, I found some baby chopsticks for my niece Mya and I finally managed to pick up some new electric toothbrush heads. The left over money was spent on snacks and water for the rest of the trip.

Day Fourteen

After some varied internet research, we decided to go on an unguided adventure to the Stone Forest. This seemed to be the place to visit as a day trip from Kunming and the information we found on the internet suggested it was doable even if all the websites had conflicting information.

We managed the public bus to the Eastern Bus Station easily and only had a little trouble navigating buying a ticket and finding the correct bus. We also sat on the bus for thirty minutes waiting for it to fill up.

Our research had told us that we should be on the bus for about two hours and there was not much else we could do except wait. Of course waiting also then included a traffic jam! By this time we were both getting bit nervous. We had a train to catch at 21:05 and at the rate we were moving we were worried we might have to arrive, buy a ticket and go straight back again. This was particularly because we weren’t sure if our bus was going to take us directly to the Stone Forest or to Shilin, where we would have to get a separate tourist bus to the scenic area.

Luckily we arrived at the Stone Forest and had just enough time to go visit. We were well glad that we did. This karst landscape is not only spectacular but also aptly named. We felt like the only two people exploring as we trampled along narrow pathways, through cramped arch ways and beside mysterious rocky formations.

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The park is a geologists dream and amazingly well signposted with interesting information in English. We enjoyed the loop to Lions Pavilion in the Bushao section as well as the walk to the Ancient Cliffy Painting. (Love the name) There was much to explore and we would have spent much more time and walked not so fast if we could have. Unfortunately the traffic jam and piffpaphing around yesterday morning denied us the chance.

In case you too are thinking of going to the Stone Forest from Kunming, I hope you find the below run down of use:

IMG_4871Public bus to the Eastern Bus Station 2RMB
Bus to Stone Forest 34RMB (Go to ticket booth, ask for Stone Forest, no signs in English for buying ticket)
Bus left Kunming at 10:30
Bus arrived 13:13 (including traffic jam – we think this cost us an hour)
Price for entry 175RMB
Price for electric car (3km from entrance) 25RMB
Public bus back to Kunming 34RMB
Bus left Stone Forest 16:02
Bus arrived Kunming at 17:29
Public bus to the hotel 2RMB

Cost of trip for one person: 270RMB

Experience: Priceless

P.s More photos?

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