Kunming

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Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province in the far southwest of China. It has a population of 3 million.

Overview

Shopping: You can buy: vellum, survey tapes (B+Q has 30m reels for 65Y, and50m for 105Y. The 30m is a bad design), topo maps, AA batteries, mechanical pencils, wellies, graph paper, oreos, coffee, english language books, contact lens solution, slide mounts, diskettes, cheap CDs. You can't buy (easily): a decent salad sandwich, Christmas pudding, spare parts/accessories for a Psion.

Speleotourism

Shilin (Stone Forest)

Limestone towers in odd shapes, plus a few caves.

Maps

Facilities

Available:
Accommodation
Currency Exchange
Film
Internet Cafe
PSB
Post Office
Not available:

Accommodation

Kunhu: A short walk north of the train station, this guesthouse isn't as cheap as it used to be. It's a bit grim.

Contact Details
Address: Kunming
 
 

Lianhua Zhaodaisuo: Friendly guesthouse near the Yunnan Institute of Geography. From the Institute go west to the first traffic light, then turn left and head south for 50m. Lianhua is on the left, and it doesn't have any signage in english. We've paid 40Y for an ensuite double room, 15Y for a tiny single without bath, and 20Y for a slightly bigger single with two people (one on the floor). The hot water is tempramental, but the owners are friendly and they usually let us do laundry for free.

2-bed room ensuite
Price: 40Y
Amenities:
electricity
western toilet
boiled water provided
24-hour hot shower
mixed-sex accommodation
washing machine (non-caving clothes)
bed (no roll mat needed)
bedding (sheets, blankets)
Not available:
air conditioning
2-bed room
Price: 20Y
Amenities:
electricity
flush toilet
boiled water provided
24-hour hot shower
mixed-sex accommodation
washing machine (non-caving clothes)
bed (no roll mat needed)
bedding (sheets, blankets)
Not available:
western toilet
air conditioning

Currency Exchange

The main Bank of China on Beijing Lu can cash travellers cheques. There are also 2 ATMs there that accept foreign cards. The machines are often broken.

Film

Film is overpriced, but there's a good selection at the Kodak shop on Bejing Lu near the Square. They can develop slides same-day (18Y) and scan them in 3 (0.5Y per slide plus 20Y for the CD). I've had varying results with this place. Usually they're very good, but most recently my negatives were returned terribly scratched. I'm not sure if this occured during developing or scanning. The shop also carries slide mounts (100 for 50 to 85Y).

Internet Cafe

Don't pay more than 3Y an hour. Most net bars stay open to the wee hours or all night. From mid-afternoon to midnight they're likely to be crowded with adolescents playing computer games. On Beijing Lu there's a net bar in the movie theater complex north of the Kunhu hotel (on the E side of the street).

PSB

It takes 3 days to get a visa extension and they cost 125Y. The office has recently relocated to Renmin Lu?? where there's a big government services building.

Post Office

The branch on Beijing Lu does EMS, which is China's version of FedEx or UPS. It's pricy. To send 1.5 kg to the states insured for 600 USD ran 400Y?

Transportation

Long Distance

Train
To: Kunming
There are direct train connections from Guangzhou, Nanning, and Chongqing to Kunming.
Flight
To: Kunming
There are regular flights to Kunming from most big cities in China.

Local

City maps have the bus routes marked.

Bus
To: Down Beijing Lu
Price: 1Y
Route 23
From: Airport
To: Kunming city centre
Price: 1Y
Slow but cheap.
From: Xuefu Lu
To: Expo Gardens
Price: 1Y
Route 70
From: 2 blocks N of Kunming south train station
To: French Cafe
Price: 1Y
Route 26
From: Lianhua Zhaodaisuo
To: French Cafe
Price: 1Y
Route 65
From: Kunming south train station
To: Motorway interchange
Price: 1Y
Route 59

Contacts

Cao: Secretary of the LEECH Explorer Club in kunming. She speaks good English.
Contact Details
  Mobile : 13888182723
 

Ji Xueping: Archeologist at the Yunnan Cultural Relics and Archaeology Institute. He's done work in caves near Lijiang and Baoshan. Wants us to map a cave in his hometown in the northeast of Yunnan.
Contact Details
  Mobile : 1388315655