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Thread: Anyone been to Yunnan before?

  1. #1
    verdammt
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    Default Anyone been to Yunnan before?

    Will be touring Kunming, Dali and Lijiang with my mum this coming June. As we've free air tickets, I'm thinking of doing it the usual free and easy style instead of following tour packages. However after asking people who have been to these cities, most of them are aunties, everyone warns us that it's impossible to travel in these cities free and easy and a tour package is extremely necessary.

    Therefore I would like to seek the opinions of forummers whether it is really necessary to travel with a package? For me, i don't really care. But since i'm travelling with my mum (who's 60 yr old), I just wanna ensure that it's a smooth and safe trip for her

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by verdammt
    For me, i don't really care. But since i'm travelling with my mum (who's 60 yr old), I just wanna ensure that it's a smooth and safe trip for her
    It is a no brainer.

    Go with a tour group.

  3. #3
    verdammt
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    Well going with a tour group would mean you don't get total control on how long you want to stay in a city and also the activites you'd like to do.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by verdammt
    Well going with a tour group would mean you don't get total control on how long you want to stay in a city and also the activites you'd like to do.
    That is absolutely true. But your mother........

    If you want total control, then you have to do it yourself.

    Maybe there is one other way. Arrange your own private tour. You get someone to do all the travel arrangements. Even so, if you want total flexibility, you cannot pre-booked hotels. You just have to look for one wherever you are. Willing to do this? Take risks that hotel rooms may not be available? And of course, the cost will be higher.

  5. #5
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    why take the risk? unless you are absolutely familiar with the place..it's a big country to get lost in.
    I lup SG, but SG don't love me...

  6. #6
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    Going free and easy with old folks is an absolutely no no.... too dangerous and likely to be conned... If you go alone, maybe still ok

  7. #7

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    I just went last dec.

    Right now, it the holiday, hotel booking is goona be tough, Basically, if u can book the hotels, it will be a lot easier to do a lot of things.


    Its possible to do a free and easy if u are chinese ( i presume ) and can talk chinese.
    Kunming itself is a city like K.L. Everywhere is walkable and quite safe. Just dun swagger to attract unwanted atttention. Dun depend on the bus as they are few and non-punctual. Cabs are avaliable easily, Get aboard those with meter.

    Outside the airport, u will usually find pple with small vans offering packages. I suggest you dun take those because of the danger,even if they look like a couple of kind ladies.
    Instead, at the hotel, ask them to arrange one for you. If possible, dun let them know you are not from china and they will offer you cheaper rates( they usually charge about 3 times more if they know you are not from china )

    Places to visit in kunming . Shilin ( stone forest), Jiu Xiang ( some caves ) and they will probably bring you to some huge complex that sells a lot of herbs, tibits etc and a temple that Chen Yuan Yuan ( if u know history or is a sword fighting novel fan, you'll know ..) stayed in before.

    I think they are boring places anyway. Be careful of most of the temples; they keep asking u to " tian xiang you qian..."
    haha...

    Dali.
    hmm, its a even smaller city than Kunming. Basically a smaller version of kunming. Same thing applies.
    I think its about 4 hours of bus from kunming to Dali. You can easily purchase a bus ticket from the bus station ( ask the hotel pple for the directions) or ask hotel staff pple to book a small van for u.
    ( if u book small van, ask the hotel staff to arrange for a safe driver. I am totally scared of the way they drive over there in china )

    And dun sleep on the journey. Country side Yunan is beautiful!


    Dali to lijaing.
    another 4 hours. Bus or van theory apply.
    Within Lijiang, its really a no brainer liao. It has two parts, New town and old town. I suggest u try to book at room in the hotel in the old town, because you get to live in those old style places with courtyard..Way Cool.
    Search for lijiang gu cheng hotel on the web.
    These hotels tend to be more expensive though but you get to stay in the lower region of the old town where the action ( shopping) is.

    The old town is VERY quaint and totally designed for tourism such that no cars are allowed inside, so no worries about how to move around. Just walk!!
    I suppose u can get day tours there, but is more fun exploring the place youself. You can find a lot of shopping on the lower levels. The higher u go, the lless shops...but u see a more authentic old town.
    Oh, the food higher up is better and cheaper. ( Qi guo chicken, rabbit meat steam boat )

    Yep...haha, i got so carried away.
    Yes it totally possible to do a free and easy there.

    1) must book the hotel first

    2) moving within the city and town is easy. Bus or cab or hired van will do.

    3) moving to kunming, dali and lijiang is a bit long but doable.

  8. #8
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    Hi,

    Well what most of them say it's true.

    It's a new place to you. Plue you have your mom with you. When I went to Yunnan and other parts of the province, I had a friend with me to guide me around.

    It's really troublesome if you do not have any access to local tours. Yes you will get conned by their prices if you do not bargain. It's quite a long journey from Kunming to other parts of Yunnan province.

    Places like Lijiang, Dali and Shangri-la are one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen but unless your mom is prepared to travel by bus (7 hours journey to Dali and another 3 hours to reach Lijiang). Plane is better but you need to pay a lot more for internal flights. (Flight from Kunming to Lijiang is about RMB450 per person one way)

    KUNMING
    This is my best suggestion. When you are in Kunming go look for local tour agencies and ask them to find a local guide. You can travel by yourself but the outskirt is quite far apart. So you will need a local guide. If you can hire one to go all the way with you is the best. Pay them after you finish the tour, not before.

    One day tour is about RMB60-80 with lunch. You can go places like Stone Forrest. Another place you can go is the Nationality Village = entrance fee is RMB120. The West Hills is a good place to see Kunming from the top of the hill but i am not sure whether your mom will be able to take the 8,000 plus steps.

    LIJIANG
    Travel to Lijiang by plane and stay in a place call Gu Chen. Room rates is about RMB100-150 for a night for really good ones with private toilets and water heater. You must bargain with them as room rates are for those Ah Mohs. Again look for local tour guides. Some will approach you on the street but do not go for them unless you have a local person with you to communicate.

    It will take about 2 days to clear Lijiang city. Unless you want to explore further, then you must stay longer in Lijiang. There is a place call Lugu Lake, one of the most beautiful places in China. The landscape is breathtaking. You can still visit part of Hu Tiao Xia (Tiger's Gorge), some parts are closed, so you must ask the locals.

    DALI
    Later take a bus to Dali (about RMB60-80 per person) Dali is more like a small city. So you can again look for local tour guides. You can stay in Dali for about 2 days as well and travel on the outskirts.

    Most of this one day tour will cost about RMB60-80 per person with lunch.

    Please ask for all the info you can get from them.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosycatus
    I just went last dec.

    Right now, it the holiday, hotel booking is goona be tough, Basically, if u can book the hotels, it will be a lot easier to do a lot of things.


    Its possible to do a free and easy if u are chinese ( i presume ) and can talk chinese.
    Kunming itself is a city like K.L. Everywhere is walkable and quite safe. Just dun swagger to attract unwanted atttention. Dun depend on the bus as they are few and non-punctual. Cabs are avaliable easily, Get aboard those with meter.

    Outside the airport, u will usually find pple with small vans offering packages. I suggest you dun take those because of the danger,even if they look like a couple of kind ladies.
    Instead, at the hotel, ask them to arrange one for you. If possible, dun let them know you are not from china and they will offer you cheaper rates( they usually charge about 3 times more if they know you are not from china )

    Places to visit in kunming . Shilin ( stone forest), Jiu Xiang ( some caves ) and they will probably bring you to some huge complex that sells a lot of herbs, tibits etc and a temple that Chen Yuan Yuan ( if u know history or is a sword fighting novel fan, you'll know ..) stayed in before.

    I think they are boring places anyway. Be careful of most of the temples; they keep asking u to " tian xiang you qian..."
    haha...

    Dali.
    hmm, its a even smaller city than Kunming. Basically a smaller version of kunming. Same thing applies.
    I think its about 4 hours of bus from kunming to Dali. You can easily purchase a bus ticket from the bus station ( ask the hotel pple for the directions) or ask hotel staff pple to book a small van for u.
    ( if u book small van, ask the hotel staff to arrange for a safe driver. I am totally scared of the way they drive over there in china )

    And dun sleep on the journey. Country side Yunan is beautiful!


    Dali to lijaing.
    another 4 hours. Bus or van theory apply.
    Within Lijiang, its really a no brainer liao. It has two parts, New town and old town. I suggest u try to book at room in the hotel in the old town, because you get to live in those old style places with courtyard..Way Cool.
    Search for lijiang gu cheng hotel on the web.
    These hotels tend to be more expensive though but you get to stay in the lower region of the old town where the action ( shopping) is.

    The old town is VERY quaint and totally designed for tourism such that no cars are allowed inside, so no worries about how to move around. Just walk!!
    I suppose u can get day tours there, but is more fun exploring the place youself. You can find a lot of shopping on the lower levels. The higher u go, the lless shops...but u see a more authentic old town.
    Oh, the food higher up is better and cheaper. ( Qi guo chicken, rabbit meat steam boat )

    Yep...haha, i got so carried away.
    Yes it totally possible to do a free and easy there.

    1) must book the hotel first

    2) moving within the city and town is easy. Bus or cab or hired van will do.

    3) moving to kunming, dali and lijiang is a bit long but doable.
    Wah good one!!!!!

  10. #10

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    Erm... have you asked what your mum wants?....

    Seriously, your mum may be one of those prefers a follow tour group type... or at least make sure your mum knows what entails a free&easy trip (and not be so grossly mis-informed like the aunties you mentioned...)

    Alot of info have been mentioned here. I'm a free&easy type person, and I always chuckle at the hordes of people surrounding a flag bearing tour guide in Dali/Lijiang. If you can, explore further out of the GuChen both in Dali & Lijiang. You can see more "local" stuff. Of course, YMMV, and you may like the touristy stuff, so really, do your own analysis...

    You can check out my Yunnan gallery at my website. Yunnan is really beautiful.

    Most importantly, enjoy your trip

  11. #11

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    Go on a travel package for no other reason than not to make your mother anxious .... which in turn will make you less worried about her emotional comfort. But do take lots of photos! Beautiful place.

    Have a good trip.

    Cheers

  12. #12
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    check around. some tour agents might be able to sell you just the land tour and maybe extend one or two days f&e in the final city.

  13. #13
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    I've been to Zhong Dian before, also known as shangri-la

    just a 45mins domestic flight to zhong dian from kunming.. it also has the longest airport in china, according to the guide..

    very very photogenic..

  14. #14

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    my GF and i went Yunnan/ShangriLa 5 times (toghther or separately). All free and easy with no prior bookings.

    but with your mum around, the aunties might be right about the tour packages.
    i have did my first trip from Kunming-Dali-Yunnan as well.... the journey is no joke.
    its long and tiring. the stupid bus is NON aircon and NON-NON smoking and it has NO max capacity load... meaning squeeze till you drop!

    with a tour package, I believe your mum will appreciate all the comfort and ease during the trip.

    well either way you choose, bring lots of film or mem cards. Enjoy your trip!
    tips: when in the Gu Chen, try the Huang Dou Mian(hope its still there). Its cheap and tasty. chk out my travel gallery for the pic.... yummy!!

  15. #15
    verdammt
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    Thanks for all the suggestions! I think I will take the free and easy way. Like what's mentioned, I should start calling the hotels and make the necessary bookings, hopefully the hotels keep up to their reservation promises

    Well I guess i belong to those who snigger at hordes of tourist obediently following the flag of the tour guide and hence the hesitation to do it the tour package way. Personally, I am not worried about myself but guess everyone's right, gotta take good care of mum. Luckily she's the adventurous sort and have always looked forward to how travelling free and easy is like. So I told her, if she doesnt enjoy it this time, then it'll be package tour in future

    Last question, has anyone taken the Kunming - Dali or Dali-Lijiang night trains? I read from guide books that there's a night train with "deluxe" sleeping cabin. Would rather take the night train, can save on accomodation and not waste precious day time taking long bus journeys. Personally i love sleeping on night trains, the constant rumbling makes one sleep like baby. And best of all, wake up in the morning, lift up the train window shutters and enjoy the sunrise and scenic countryside!

  16. #16

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    i've taken it from kunming to lijiang before.

    there are 3 types - hard seater which goes for RM$16 ( for kunming to lijiang), and soft seater. Soft seater got 2 type, normal and deluxe.

    Normal type, 4 person share a room, door is not lockable. .

    Deluxe wise, room is the same size, but with beds for 3---a double size bed below a single bed. there's even a LCD tv, with selectable movies..I think it cost about RM$200 a person ( $189 if i remember correctly). If possible, buy 3 tickets and share betw u and your mum, cos the idea of having a total stranger might not sit well with older folks? ( maybe)

    With deluxe tickets, you dun have to qeuee up with the rest of the pple as there is an express lane for those with this ticket. You really DO NOT want to qeuee up in the normal lane....

    Anway, it is a few hours from Dali to Lijiang, you might not be able to spend an entire night on the train. Take the bus and enjoy country side yunan...its VERY beautiful.

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