China

Day 118: Kunming (昆明) – October 13th

Spent the morning killing mosquitoes. They all left a large splatter of blood, not sure how many of them french kissed my lower lip….

Then headed to the local Wal-Mart for some last minute supplies before leaving China.

Nothing much to see in Kunming, but still tried to visit a museum at 4pm, but apparently they were already closed. People in Yunnan really don’t work too hard. So we didn’t bother looking too hard either.

Tomorrow, we fly to Kathmandu at 9:30am! Excited!!!

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Day 117: Kunming (昆明) – October 12th

Time to pack up and head to Kunming. Our arbitrary streak of staying 2-days in any Yunnan city has gone very well, but we need to get to Kunming as our flight to Nepal departs from there.

Before leaving we wanted to grab lunch at the HK restaurant, but on our way we saw the owner walking her dog and telling us they don’t open for another hour….so we looked to the next best thing…. the dessert place. Haha, to our surprise the dessert place was open at 10:30am! And once again, this place reinforced our idea of serving possibly the best desserts we’ve had. Yummmmm. Then we had a bowl of noodles before hopping on the bus out, what a great breakfast =P

So for the rest of the day, we sat on a bus from noon til 730 and arrived in Kunming. Checking into our hostel, we headed to dinner with a family friend.

Back at the hostel, I was furiously pumping our posts for our blog so we can wrap it all up before leaving China. Problem was, like the night before in Shuanglang, I was dogged by some darned mosquitoes. Last night, I was bite on the nose. Today, I was bite on the lower lip! Seriously, these are some weird places for mosquito bites… w t f.

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Day 116: Shuanglang (双廊) – October 11th

Waking up, we decided to find some good eats online, but downtown Shuanglang is about the size of a Walmart (maybe even smaller) so we didn’t have much alternatives to begin with. That being said, the average quality of food is very high. For lunch, we had this supposed French restaurant, but upon arrival we found that it served pizzas and pastas, while the table next to us were drinking Jack Daniels…and when the food came we felt totally gypped. Continue reading

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Day 115: Shuanglang (双廊) – October 10th

Waking up, we figured we really haven’t had any of Dali’s local foods so we went out early morning at 10am (early for us, haha) and tried out all Dali had to offer! It was a hit and miss, but like everything you never knew unless you tried! Dali was great, but it was time to switch places once again.

Up next, we headed to the opposite end of the Erhai lake to Shuanglang. Originally it was a local fishing village, but someone decided this was a great place to welcome tourists, and it’s now in-construction to be the next Lijiang. With numerous restaurants, great looking boutique hotels with lake views and a boardwalk of bars, this place has all it takes to become the ‘next big thing’ for Chinese tourists. It had the feel of a Caribbean resort island, without the hefty price tag. Continue reading

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Day 114: Dali (大理) – October 9th

Dali old town is an interesting place. It is home to the Bai people, who have developed their own cultural and architectural styles compared to the Naxi people of Lijiang. The old town is smitten with bars (geared towards foreigners), cozy coffee shops and delicious little stores with local dishes. On the flip side, there’s several schools in the area and every so often you’d see a rush of students overwhelming the streets buying snacks! Dali is also home to one of the early churches built by Catholic missionaries, and despite it being a Catholic church, it was built in the local architectural style. Continue reading

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Day 113: Dali (大理) – October 8th

Two days was enough for us in one place, especially when the place sort of looks like the place you were last time, and the place before that as well….

The night before, we ventured further out of the old town and came across this beautifully designed hotel, and as we peeked around we discovered they served Western-style breakfast!! We ordered ourselves two breakfasts and thought we’d have a good meal before we left.

The hotel is Bivou (www.bivou.com), and the hotel owner was a young Singaporean, speaking eloquently and probably well-educated as she passionately discussed the area and its native Naxi people. The hotel was designed meticulously fusing the local architectural aspects with modern chic, and each suite has a slightly different flavour. Best part was their own courtyard which they grew fresh herbs and spices! The breakfast was great, too! Continue reading

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Day 112: Shuhe (束河) – October 7th

Another day in another ancient city, another day spent wandering the streets for a bit before sitting down for a cup of coffee and reading books for the afternoon. This type of routine is relaxing, but considering the lack of stress we’ve been receiving for the past 3 months, this isn’t quite what we need. Then again, we’re not complaining… =)

Today was a mirror image of yesterday, and we watched another great movie. This time it was a French movie, “Papillon”, about an old man and a young girl going out to find butterflies… cute story!

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Day 111: Shuhe (束河) – October 6th

Not too fond of Lijiang’s hustle and bustle style of tourism and overpriced beers, we decided to switch spots and move to another part of Lijiang’s ancient town, Shuhe (束河). It’s only a short ride, but the amount of tourists per square metre decreases by more than half! We’re starting to understand how to convert ancient towns into a tourist magnet, and here’s our checklist

  1. Take an existing area with flourishing native people
  2. Import a lot of artists/craftsmen to setup shops selling their wares
  3. Rich, possibly well-educated young people flock in to open cozy coffee shops, antique stores and boutique hotels

And pretty soon, once this place becomes ‘popular’ there’s no turning back, as there’s just too many people in China.

Shuhe is pretty neat, as it still offers all of Lijiang’s touristy things while retaining quite a bit of the original local flavour. For one, there are still plots of farmland smack dab in the middle of the tourist area, where you can see locals growing crops! Strange, but it’s neat. Continue reading

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