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Sunday, April 22, 2007
If you ever go to Kun Ming -vvv

I went to 云南 with a tour group and this is what I have learnt about the place. 云南 is all about jade factories, TCM plants, silk suppliers, cheap electronics, more jade, more Chinese medicine and a bunch of cunning salesmen. That pretty much sums up my trip.

It's very sad because I really believe the place has a lot more to offer. I have had enough of that crap so on the last day, I broke off from the main group and went to explore some mountain (西山) instead. What a wise move. I will post the photos soon. But first, I feel that it is my duty to make some recommendations of what to do in 昆明 if you ever get stuck there for a day or two with a tour group like I did. So here's an itinerary of my design based on an hour's research at a Kun Ming bookstore.

First, visit 西山. If you happen to be in town on the third day of the third month in the Lunar calendar, it should be quite happening. As the saying goes, "三月三,耍西山", the locals visit the mountain on this festival to have picnics, eat noodles or whatever. I happened to be in town that day but the tour guide conveniently forgot to mention it, so I ended up visiting the mountain on the fifth.

I recommend going there in the morning via the cable car in the vicinity of the 云南民族村. Get a two-way ticket if you want to return to this attraction in the afternoon. 云南民族村 showcases the cultures of 26 minority races so it should be quite interesting. The reason I recommend this route is because the cliffs of 西山 faces east, so you should get good sunlight for photos in the morning.

If you like to watch artistic or cultural performances, you can check if 杨丽萍 is putting up any shows in town. I would have loved to catch her 云南映象 show but my timing was way off. She's a very accomplished dancer but being an ignorant Singaporean, I've never heard of her name until I saw her as Mei Chaofeng on TV.

Damn, I sure missed a lot. I shall return to 云南 someday and complete the tour. On my own this time.

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
6:27 PM


Welcome back. Yes, I'm sure tour groups can be a rip-off, cos local guides aren't paid squat they make it up through store commissions. But I'm pretty sure you all ended up on such a package cos everyone in your family was too lazy to plan the itinary for the trip.

The last tour package I went for was in Korea. The last. It pays to plan on your own.

By Blogger Soqcrates, at 11:56 PM  

Oh! Forgot to tell you. Was at the MIT Co-op two weeks back. I bought you the latest book by Paul Davies (this famous Nobel Laureate in astronomy who gave a lecture during Ipho Star-gazing night)
By Blogger Soqcrates, at 12:00 AM  

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