A visit to Kunming the City of Eternal Spring

On the little trail drops colorful rain among thousands of trees

On our way to Xishuangbanna our first stop was the million city and capital of the Yunnan Province: Kunming. It is known as the City of Eternal Spring due to its pleasant climate all year around and it is told that no matter when you visit Kunming will be covered in flowers.

Our main purpose of visiting the city was to catch up with Leon's old friend from high school who now lives here with his wife. Another purpose was to climb - or hike Xishan mountain (literally: West Mountain) located 15km from Kunming at the lake Dian.

After arrival in Kunming we spend a cozy evening with Nick and Sascha in one of the modern parts of Kunming: Dream City, here the malls look like castles and the main square is a mix of colorful balloons, Starbucks, Ray Ban and Hello Kitty.

The following day our mountain hike began. Xishan mountain is more a mountain park consisting of several mountains, green forest, Buddhist temples and renowned sights. The highest peak is 2507.5 meters above sea level and this was also our desired destination.

During the ascent we came across many famous tourist sites such as Huating Temple, Taihua Temple and the Dragon Gate. These sights originated in the 14th century and offer interesting stories and mythologies linked to Buddhism, Taoism and China's old dynasties. We didn't spend a lot of time dwelling at these landmarks - we were mostly focused on our hike and as with all tourist sights in China the Chinese "by-bus" crowds were all gathered here (and at the food-stops of course) so we quickly moved on to the less crowded hiking paths.

Our hike to the top took us around 3-4 hours without stops. The descent only about 1 hour with a food-stop were we had authentic and delicious rice noodles with tofu & chili. After a quick break in the sun we headed towards the centre of Kunming. Pretty tired but no time to waste as we had planned to continue our trip the following morning. 

After a stroll in the early evening sun, we had a coffee & a snack at a cafe overviewing the famous square Jin Ma (literally: golden horse) in Kunming centre. We finished our day with an amazing and well-earned 1,5h massage and planned the following days travel over Chinese food. Though we live in China it is always so interesting to eat Chinese food when in new provinces. Yunnan food is super exotic, spicy & yummy!

Next stop: Jinghong in the Xishuangbanna region - an 8h bus ride from Kunming with lots of snacks and lots of Chinese practice

 

 

A "map" over Xishan mountain and the sacred sights you can visit during the hike  

A "map" over Xishan mountain and the sacred sights you can visit during the hike  

The entrance to the Dragon Gate about 1/3 of the way to the top

The entrance to the Dragon Gate about 1/3 of the way to the top

The top of Huating temple which is known as the Buddhist shrine in Kunming and which attracts many pilgrims every year (and Chinese tourists..)  

The top of Huating temple which is known as the Buddhist shrine in Kunming and which attracts many pilgrims every year (and Chinese tourists..)

 
Close to the top

Close to the top

At the top!  

At the top!  

Breathtaking views of Kunming, the Dian lake and the surrounding areas

Breathtaking views of Kunming, the Dian lake and the surrounding areas

The Jin Ma square in the center of Kunming

The Jin Ma square in the center of Kunming

How good is a latte & a yoghurt snack in the sun after a half-day hike - soooo yummy!

How good is a latte & a yoghurt snack in the sun after a half-day hike - soooo yummy!