Bird and Flower City

Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Monday, October 29, 2012

It was a relief getting into the hostel for a proper bed, shower and to re-organise myself after my trip down, I’m tired from my journey and head to bed for a couple of hours once I arrive.  It takes more out of me than I realise, but I suppose camping on top of the cycling all day really does take it out you (not mentioning the mountains).  I forget I’m a new start at all this and haven’t cycled in years, so I am actually really proud of every mile I manage to cycle, I never thought in a million years I’d be cycling my way through China, I mean, I must be crazy!

After my first night in the hostel I’m eaten alive, although I thought I had the mosquito repellant switched on, it turns out there was no disc in it and I was left a right mess.  I start (probably a bit late) my malaria tablets which I’ve carried since I left home although I’ve used periodically, this area has some risk and I’m heading south so I’d better start.  They knock me for six though for a few days and I just hole up in my room, fevered and sleeping a lot, but I bounce back once they’re in my system.  

The hostel has a nice relaxed atmosphere and during my stay I meet loads of nice folk, a Brummie guy in particular who is also cycling gives me loads of good tips which are appreciated.  I manage to get my visa for Vietnam sorted out which is where i plan on heading to next, and get my bike serviced so it's all ship shape for heading on once again.  I'm finding my bike really comfortable and it looks like I've managed to break the saddle in already with not to much pain being involved (well fingers crossed none to come), it's a Brooks which are meant to be the best so fingers crossed. 

I do my tourist bit visiting the flower and bird markets, the old streets and buildings are fascinating and I love the many lanes, I head out to Green Lake which is full of people dancing in their groups which every city seems to have.  It’s a pretty place with loads of flowers everywhere and I love the old mixed with the new buildings which I see on a few of the days I cycled round town, it’s a joy cycling with no luggage (I think I’ll need to lose some of the weight I’m carrying).  

Some of the markets have snakes, spiders, creepy crawlies for sale as well as birds, rats, mice etc. dragon cats (which I had never seen or heard of before and look like gremlins) and puppies, hundreds of them all held in glass tanks which just isn’t right to me.  They also sell lots of traditional touristy items and for once I buy a few bits and pieces which I enjoy, normally I just don’t shop as I won’t carry anything but it was good fun doing a bit of bargaining with the stall holders.

I visit the Stone Forrest which is outside Kunming one of the days, it’s natural rock formations are incredible and the place truly is massive, a real forest.  I wander around for hours and hours, although I got lost at one point I could hear voices which I followed getting me back on track, there are SOS phones in places for just such occasions but I’m glad I didn’t need to use them.  There’s lots of tourists in traditional dress, I think you can hire it for photos, but there are others wearing it too, once again they all travel in big groups following a flag usually and I notice that here many of the groups all buy the same hats e.g. cowboy hats, or traditional ones.  I also notice that on the bus back to Kunming they all take them off when going their separate ways, they’re a funny lot.   

I enjoy Kunming, the weather has been lovely and I just try and relax not doing too much other than relaxing, having a wander and chilling with some of the other guests, it a nice place with a far more chilled out feel to it than other cities I’ve been in, maybe that’s why I ended up staying for a while.
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paul murphy on

Love hearing about your travels through the east Clare. Very impressed with the cycling. It's a great way to travel. The pictures look amazing. Sorry I've been a bit lax in checking your blogs. It's great to hear from you again. You're an inspiration. All the best with cycling through Vietnam etc.

new_lands on

Thanks Paul, it's always great to see your name popping up in emails etc. I'm loving the places and people you get to meet because you're cycling, it just wouldn't happen otherwise - you would be straight past on the bus or train etc. no chance to stop, talk, take photos etc, I am going to try and improve the photos though, they're a bit slapdash...

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