Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Start of the Epic Adventure: S. China, Kunming

China (Country Guide)

Accommodation: The Hump Hostel, 35yuan for Dorm

Flights: South China Airlines, 640yuan, 3 hours

Train: BeijingXiZhan/ Beijing West Station, £50, 38 hours

Places to Visit: 
  • Yuantong Temple/ Yuantong Si
  • Bamboo Temple
  • Jinmabi Market
  • Day Trip to Stone Forest

In Kunming, well what can I say? I landed thinking it would be landscape heaven, as from the plane, mauvish mountains outlined the horizon with turquoise lakes. Stunning. So when I landed in a metropolis, seeing every designer brand on earth, eyeing every woman dolled up to the core, I was a bit horrified.

Thankfully, in 4 bed female dorm consisting of a slightly mature Chinese woman (about in her late 50s) who was a young traveler at heart with plenty of spirit, touring China for the last 6 months. She only spoke Mandarin, but I guess it was great practice. Also a young Polish girl, who was also studying Chinese ( but was a little bit ill though poor thing) a Japanese Sitar player who spent about 6 years living in India learning from a very renowned Sitar player in Calcutta ( she even knows where I live there- crazy!) and a lovely Chinese 23 year old woman, on business but liked the hostel so much that she was staying there! We had a mini breakfast and set off to the temples, catching various English and Chinese chats along the way. Then we headed to the art district which was not like Beijing aka, it was actual studios where people were painting so they were less amused that 2 girls turned up to look at their work!

This beautiful temple called Yuantong Temple was not like the Beijing ones- people were actually there praying rather than being touristy. It was so tranquil, it was set in amongst a small hill and there was a moat of water all around. There were cute baby turtles swimming in the water! And absolutely stunning Golden giant Buddhas in the temple, decorated with dragons all around it. The air felt different, more genuine.

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