Kunming for me was an adventurous start to a year filled with numerous surprises, good and bad....
Top Places To Visit 4 Spots
The Jiuxiang Scenic region is located 90 kilometres away from central Kunming and it comprises five scenic areas: Diehong Bridge, Sanjiao Caves, Dasha Dam, Alu Long and Mingyue Lake, covering 175 square kilometers. However, this beautiful natural wonder is most popular for its karst caves that have formations in a plethora of shapes and are brilliantly lit in order to amplify their beauty. There is a lot to explore and for those who do not love walking, cable cars can take visitors from one area to another. Getting there: Visiting Shilin and Jiuxiang on the same day is a very good idea, therefore renting a car or taking a taxi up to the Stone Forest is the best thing to do and you could ask your hotel staff to arrange one for you. A return journey should cost you 250 to 300 Yuan. If you are looking for a cheaper option, bus connections, albeit complicated, are available. The tickets for Jiuxiang come for about 120 Yuan and a lot of walking is involved. Since you will be spending up to six hours travelling, try and leave early in the morning in order to wrap up your tour by evening.
120 kilometres from the centre of Kunming, the Stone Forest or Shilin is an extremely impressive example of Karst formations for some and an indication of an unknown supreme power for the others. A cluster of giant grey limestone pillars that have weird names given to them, the forest is supposedly a result of erosions caused by wind and rainwater if one ignores the many Chinese legends attached to it. Shilin is a major tourist attraction, so do not let the crowds intimidate you. Simultaneously, do not be surprised by the exorbitant prices either, it is perfectly normal for one to pay 150 Yuan in order to enter this natural wonder. Getting there: You could rent a car from the centre of Kunming or take a taxi to get to Shilin and the best idea is to ask your hotel staff to arrange one for you. Expect to pay anything between 250 to 300 Yuan. Carry a lot of water and some food because a lot of walking and climbing steps is involved.
The capital of Yunnan province and the starting point for travelers headed to Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, Kunming will be our stop for a day to rest and stock up on anything we might need for the long train journey (20 hours) to Yangshuo.