Yunnan Tour – Dali to Kunming Day 10 ( 11 Days 10 Nights November 2015)

This would be the day we returned to Kunming from where we began our Yunnan tour. So we woke up early in anticipation of returning to the capital city of Yunnan and would be looking forward to some shopping. Yinfeng Hotel had already helped us bought our bus tickets back to Kunming so we needed not worry over transportation. Breakfast was bread and bakery items bought in town the night before and coffee and tea were available with the kettle provided by the hotel.

Slightly after 8 am, we went to the lobby to check out. We then waited for the arranged pick up from Yinfeng Hotel to the bus station in Dali. Not long after, a blue vehicle showed up and we loaded up our bags and boarded the car and left Yinfeng Hotel.

Yinfeng Hotel may not be luxurious accommodation but the location was strategic right inside the Ancient Town. The staff were friendly and helpful and could speak and write in English as well. They had helped with pick up from the new city as well as outside the Ancient Town and this made transfer a lot easier. They also helped to contact our hotels in Lijiang and Shangrila to arrange for pickups to their hotels as well. So customer service was great.

We arrived at Dali bus station before 9 am. It was a great day here in Dali where the sun was shinning brightly. It was busy outside the bus station. The distant mountains in the background looked inviting and pretty. We didn’t have the opportunity to explore the mountains around Dali during our stay. Surprisingly, the bus station wasn’t crowded inside. We already had our tickets so we simply waited for our bus to Kunming. There were many buses outside the station heading out to various destinations.

Soon we were called to board our bus and we headed out and stored our luggage in the storage compartment of this very nice and new big bus. We had a very bad experience taking a medium bus from Kunming to Dali a week ago where our bags were wet when we arrived. The medium bus took much longer travel time than expected picking up passengers at other locations along the way as well. So we made it a point to avoid those medium buses and our experience with the big buses travelling between different cities in Yunnan was great.

When all passengers had boarded and after the driver had checked our tickets, the bus moved off and we left Dali. So we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed this long ride back to Kunming. We recollected our great time touring Yunnan for the past week. It was memorable to say the least as this was our first free and easy trip to China. We found this part of China rather pleasant and the young people friendly and helpful.

It was a nice ride on the highway and shortly after noon, we arrived at a huge rest area. The facilities here were comprehensive with a big food court as well as a restaurant. The convenience store was actually more like a supermarket. The surrounding area was rather pleasant as well. With the sun up in the sky, it wasn’t cold at all during noon. We settled for some light meals at the food court and then returned to the bus.

The bus moved on again after this lunch break. The ride was smooth and by 3 pm we arrived at the Kunming West Bus Station. The ride on this big bus was very comfortable and enjoyable unlike the previous trip from Kunming to Dali on a medium bus. So we got off the bus, collected our bags and moved away from the bus. Kunming West Bus Station was a very busy place. Many taxis were already lined up waiting to pick up alighting passengers. We boarded a taxi and were soon on our way to our hotel, New Era Hotel right in the city centre.

Within half an hour, we arrived at New Era Hotel. But the taxi driver didn’t know how to drive into the main entrance of this hotel. So we alighted along the road and walked into New Era Hotel located right at this shopping area in the city centre. Check in was trouble free and we were given a room on the high floor on the 25th level.

From our room windows we could see the busy shopping street below. We were right smacked in a pedestrian street surrounded by malls and shops. This was indeed a busy place and we were glad we were staying here for our shopping mission. In fact, we were rather excited and couldn’t wait to head out for some shopping therapy.

Our room was pleasant like any standard 4-star hotel. Beds were clean and comfortable. A writing desk and chair were set up at a corner near the window. In front of the bed was a table with a flat screen TV. TV as expected with plenty of channels in Chinese and a few International channels. Wifi worked well in the room and we didn’t encounter any issues.

Bathroom came with a shallow bathtub but we didn’t use as it was not up to our desirable standard. Nevertheless full range of toiletries was provided. Two nice apples were provided in our room. We were also given two packets of milk during check in. We were pretty satisfied with our room, especially the location of this hotel.

Next we sprang into action heading out to the shopping street below. It was a lovely day as we walked into this shopping area. There were some clouds above but it was a sunny day. This was another lovely autumn day in the city so ideal for shopping. Street food vendors were around the perimeter of this shopping square mostly selling fruits.

The shopping square here was busy surrounded by tall buildings. Shoppers were out and loitering around enjoying this great day out in the open. Police presence was felt and it was good because everyone knew their security was taken care of so we could have a carefree day shopping in this very pleasant part of Kunming City.

We took our time and soaked in the ambiance here and people watched. We also checked out shops here before plunging into some real shopping later. In the middle of the pedestrian street were food stalls selling food and snacks and attracting crowds queuing to order food. We also joined a queue and bought some fried chickens to munch while we continued our shopping business.

Seats were provided along the street for anyone who wished to rest and to enjoy this nice shopping street scene. In the middle of the street was also a circular siting area around a pond with swordtail fish. The seats were mostly occupied with visitors enjoying themselves looking at fish or eating finger food and chatting up with friends having a great time during this lovely sunny afternoon.

Not far away a granddad was seen putting a little girl into a huge decorative stone container. Apparently, the girl was enjoying her time inside this stone pot playing with her balloon. It was a lovely sight and we were glad this was our chosen venue for our last day’s stay here in Yunnan. There was no rush here and people seemed to be going about leisurely enjoying themselves spending time outdoor during autumn.

Finally it was time to do some real shopping. We headed into Carrefour Supermarket in one of the malls. This supermarket was huge and interesting as well. A lot of Chinese products and grocery items were available here. Prices were reasonable as well. So my wife and I did some grocery shopping buying only dried stuff to bring home such as mushrooms, spices, tea leaves and coffee. We also bought bakery items for supper later. Fruits were also not forgotten. The persimmons here were very big and they looked very good so we bought some.

Having done shopping at Carrefour, we headed out to the street again for more shopping. There were tents set up with promotional offers for bags, shoes and clothes as well. Prices were very good too. We did more shopping here before finally returning to our room to rest.

It was packing time after all those shopping to prepare for our departure back to Singapore the next day. It was also time to catch up with the children while watching TV as well. This break before dinner was needful. We would head back to the street after dinner for more shopping so it was good to consolidate to check how much space and weight we had before another round of shopping.

Slightly after 6 pm, we went up to the restaurant on the 28th floor. The restaurant had a commanding view of the surrounding below. Before we settled down for dinner, we walked around to admire the city view from the restaurant in New Era Hotel. Soon, the sun was about to set. We watched as the sun descended behind some distant mountains turning the skies into golden hues before finally blasting its last beams heading out for the night.

It was dark after sundown but the city was powered by its own lights and it looked really lovely from above. We then settled down for dinner. The restaurant up here wasn’t busy at all. Perhaps most hotel guests were dining at some well known restaurants in the city.

We ordered Chinese set dinners for convenience. The food turned out to be great and we really enjoyed our dinner. We were a little apprehensive earlier as we weren’t used to food here in Kunming when we first arrived more than a week ago. So this quiet dinner on the 28th floor overlooking this pretty city centre was really satisfying indeed. In addition, the set dinner prices were very reasonable considering the quality of the food. The waitresses were friendly too.

After dinner, we descended to ground floor and headed back to the shopping square for more shopping. Before we entered the square, we went up to a fruit vendor selling persimmons. He cut some slices for us to sample the persimmons and they were very sweet. So we bought more persimmons to bring home.

Next was to roam this lovely square at night. The whole place was nicely lit up and lights from the huge advertisement panels on some buildings were bright to the extent of blinding at times. Shoppers were out and about and police continued to stamp their reassuring presence here to ensure all was well around this shopping area.

It was more cooling at night but it was still very pleasant to spend time outdoor. So we took a relaxing stroll around and people watched and did some window shopping. People were gathering around certain lovely spots to sit and chat to enjoy the evening. We blended in quite well and relaxed on the street as well.

We continued roaming and came into one of those souvenir shops selling local products. Many shops were selling different types of coffee packed into nice looking little brown colour drums. So we bought some to bring home. We simply soaked in the atmosphere here in this big city and enjoyed our last evening here in Yunnan. Shopping here had a very different feel compared to shopping in those ancient cities in Dali and Lijiang. Kunming is a very modern lovely city and the air here was pretty fresh too.

Finally, we returned to our room and did more packing to prepare for next day’s departure. Supper time came and those bakery items bought from Carrefour were great with coffee as well. We ate some persimmons too as we didn’t want to carry too much weight home. Watching TV and chatting with the children kept us company through the night.

This was our last night here in Yunnan. It was a great holiday for us visiting Dali, Lijiang, Shangrila and back to Kunming. Although we didn’t have time to visit more attractions here in Kunming, especially the famous Stone Forest, we had no regrets. The first day when we set foot in Kunming, we stayed at Grand Park Hotel and had a fabulous time at the Green Lake area.

So as our Yunnan tour was coming to an end, we were thinking when we could come back for another visit in the near future. With much peace and satisfaction, we headed to bed. We still had the morning here to explore one last time before leaving for the airport after lunch. With that, we knocked off and plunged into the the final day of our Yunnan tour.

Continue to Day 11

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