A Little Bit Of Kunming

At the airport, I approached the guy holding a sign with my name on it. I spoke to him in English, he to me in Mandarin. “We have a problem,” I turned to my travel group. Our driver guide speaks zero English, and he does not understand my (elementary) Mandarin. He called his boss, and we made it to our hostel.

Wang

The problem is that the boss is leaving for her own holidays in a few days. In the end, Wang and I managed. In fact, he played a part in making Yunnan high up on my “best-loved” trips.

Across-the-Bridge-Noodles

He ordered for us and taught us how to eat Yunnan’s famous “Across the Bridge Noodles.” He also suggested that we take the cable car to Western Hills. And just for this view, it was worth it.

view-of-DianchiDianchi Lake from the cable car.  The road winds around it.

Also known as Kunming Lake, Dianchi is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province and the sixth largest in China. With a stunning landscape and an elevation of 1885 meters, it is often called the Pearl of the Plateau.

view-from-western-hillsview of the river from the hills

Though severely polluted, the lake is the primary water source of Kunming’s industry and agriculture today. At one point, Dianchi made up 40% of the drinking water for the city but had to shift to other sources due to the lake’s severe algae blooms. It is teeming with fish still, and the people who live on the east side still fish for a living.

On the western suburbs of Kunming lies Western Hills, also called Sleeping Buddha Hills because from a distance, it looks that. Another name given is Sleeping Beauty Hills because when viewed from a different angle the hills look like a lady laying beside and her hair trailing into the lake.

Western-Hills

The hill stretches from the wooden Huating Temple to the Dragon Gate along the steep cliffs. I didn’t reach the Dragon Gate but instead enjoyed the view from the lower cable car station.

cable-car

One can also go up the hill on a steep and narrow path, but many prefer to go up through cable car and then walk down. We opted for cable cars both ways.

Yunnan

Collage

With the most ethnic groups among all of China, this southern part of China started to fascinate me when I was researching on Guilin a decade ago. And Yunnan had been on my mind ever since.

Sharing external borders with Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. Internally, it has as neighbors Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Tibet. With its location, it is not surprising that Yunnan is diverse in its culture and people.

Across-the-Bridge-Noodle-SoupA specialty of the Yunnan Province, guoqiao mixian, which translate to “Across the Bridge Noodles”.  The name made popular by a lady who used to bring noodles to her husband across the bridge.  Full Story here.
snow-capped-mountainImpression Lijiang a Zhang Yimou show with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as its backdrop.

Its landscape ranges from snow-capped mountains to dense jungles to sensational terraces.

Amazing land it surely is and I have been charmed, captivated. Join me in the next few months as I reminisce about my journey into dramatic landscapes, breathtaking views, fascinating cultures and magnificent cuisine.

Kunming

kunming-at-night

The hub and the capital of Yunnan served as our jump off point. Surrounded by temples, lakes and limestone hills, the city has its own allure, but we didn’t spend a lot of time in the city. Unfortunately.

Green Lake

boating-in-the-lake

I chose to stay near the lake precisely because we didn’t have that much time for exploration. The lake is in the heart of the city’s business, food and culture.

Lao-Fang-ZhiA few steps from our hostel is Lao Fang Zhi, a house of over 100 years turned restaurant that serves awesome hot Yunnan dishes. 

A beautiful park designed and created way back in the 17th century. Surrounded by willow trees and dotted with vibrant lotuses, the park has become a favorite among nature lovers.

willow-lined

A stroll around the lake is a pleasant way to watch how the locals spend their time.

dancing-in-the-park

A lot was going on. In one part of the lake, music filled the air, and people were dancing.

embroidery

In another, aunties sit around chatting and doing some embroidery while some are contented just to admire the lake and soak up the atmosphere.

lily

At night, the lights come alive and radiate a different ambiance.

green-lake-at-night

And with this, we start our journey into an endearing province of China that seemed to have been left alone. Stay tuned.