Archive for the ‘Kunming Travel’ Category

How to Get to Dongchuan Red Earth

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
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Plan  your Kunming Tour? Located 140km north of Kinming city center,  dubbed as “God’ Palette”, Dongchuan Red Earth (红土地) is a rising star, attracting more and more photography enthusiasts and casual travelers home and abroad. The colorful red earth is formed by the iron oxide in the soil. Its bumpy roads and primitive accommodations don’t deter travelers at all. It is still an untouched place, for clean fresh air, fabulous views and superb color landscapes, a true photographers haven.

Dongchuan Red Earth

Dongchuan Red Earth

Dongchuan Red Earth has an altitude of 1800-2600, stretching an area of 50 kilometers. It is situated in Xintian Village (新田乡), 40km southwest of Dongchuan District (东川区) and 250km northeast of Kunming city center. Experts say the Red Earth in Dongchuan is the most beautiful and spectacular in the world. The mountains and the quiltwork of the farmed land give out pieces of colors – deep red, purplish red and brick red, with hilltops and hill slopes dotted with rapeseed flowers, and potato flowers with backdrops of waves of golden grain, blue sky and white clouds. What a surreal scene!

When to Visit Dongchuan Red Earth
Dongchuan Red Earth is situated in Wumeng Mountains with plateau features, crisscrossed with peaks and gullies against the boundless red hills.

September – December: It is the best time for photo taking. It is the harvest time for rapeseed plants, potatoes and buckwheat; budding winter wheat, and the golden autumn leaves along roads and in the villages, a charming palette.

January – February: also a good photogenic time with rapid growth of wheat and farmed lands filled with water.

May -June: a colorful season with rapeseed blossoms and the golden wheat.

How to Get to Dongchuan Red Earth from Kunming
1) Bus Route: Kunming – Fazhe (Red Earth)
Take one of the daily two shuttle buses from Kunming to Fazhe (法者) . The bus passes by Dongchuan Red Earth. One bus starts from Kunming North Bus Station at 7:50am and 8:50am, a 3-hour bus ride.

2) Bus Route: Kunming – Dongchuan – Red Earth
First take the bus from Kunming North Passenger Bus Station ( 昆明市区的北部客运站 ) to Dongchuan District. The buses between the two places run between 7:00am and 7:00pm. You don’t have to wait long, just full and go and bus fare 55 yuan.

Arriving at Dongchuan District, you change for the local bus going to the Red Earth Scenic Area. But there are only to two daily buses going from Dongchuan to Fazhe (法者) – one starting at 8:00am and the other at 2:50am. The two buses pass by the major accommodation areas in the Red Earth. Alternatively, you may take or share a taxi from Dongchuan to the Red Earth, approx. 150 yuan per taxi. For a return trip, you may take the bus or taxi back to Dongchuan, then continue your bus ride to Kunming.

3) Self-Drive: Drive along Kunqu Expressway (昆曲高速) from Kunming – Kunsong Expressway (昆嵩高速) – Songming Expressway (嵩明高速)- Songdai Expressway (嵩待高速)- exit from Longtan Exit (龙潭出口) and drive to Dingchuan District and head to the Red Earth Scenic Area.

Get Around in Dongchuan Red Earth
The attractions and photogenic spots are widely scattered around Dongchuan Red Earth. Basically you need to hire or share a local vehicle to visit the major sites for your day trip. A car rental with a driver costs between 150 yuan and 200 yuan per day. If you prefer to walk, it is impossible to travel all the major areas in Dongchuan Red Earth on your day trip.

Basically, your guesthouse host will arrange your transport to visit the major sites in Dongchuan Red Earth.

Two travel routes:
1) Moon Terraced Field (月亮梯田) – Luoxia Gully (落霞沟景点) – Thousand Year Tree (千年龙树景点) – Red Earth Grand View – T Fork “T”字路口分叉点.

2) “T”Fork (“T”字路口分叉点) – Qicai Po (Seven-Color Slope -七彩坡) – Qinxiu Garden(锦绣园) – Damakan (打马坎) – Yupuao (Sunken Musical Scores – 乐普凹).

Where to Stay in Dongchuan Red Earth
It is recommended that you would stay there overnight to view sunset or sunrise. At the time of my writing, the Red Earth is not yet a touristy destination. Though there are a few guesthouses, in peak season people have to stay overnight at farm guesthouses, village farmhouse-turned guesthouses.

1) Red Earth Impression Hotel 红土映象宾馆: 200 – 200 yuan per night
2) Hong Tu Ren Jia Hotel ( Red Earth Family Guesthouse) 红土人家: around 260 yuan per night
3) Hong Yu Qing Yuan Guesthouse 红土情缘: Madam Zhao and her husband have good service.
4) Red Earth Shanju Hotel 红土地山居酒店: a nice courtyard hotel

For village guesthouses, you pay approx. 50-70 yuan per room per night.

Where to Dine
Basically, the local guesthouses and villager farmhouses cook your meals. The local favorite food include Dongchuan noodle, Dongchuan potatoes, Dongchuan mutton and yak hotpot.

If you visit Lijiang Yunnan, you may stop at Kunming for 1 or 3 days for an excursion to Dongchuan Red Earth.

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Kunming’s Dianchi Lake Offers Tranquility and Calm

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
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China’s spectacular destinations are one of the main reasons why so many students and travelers flock to the country every year. Be it for Chinatour or studying abroad, the country has one of the highest number of international students and tourists who visit it. The diversity of culture, rich history and stunning landscapes combined together offer a travel experience that is unlike any other.

Dianchi Lake: Location and History

Kunming, the provincial capital of YunnanProvinceis the eternal ‘SpringCity’ of Chinaand is a favorite mostly owing of its excellent year-round weather. Added to it are the local travel delights that make the city an all-around place to visit. The city is a popular hub for Chinese language programs and gives students the opportunity to travel to several destinations within the city.

Among the many interesting landmarks, one that stands out is the pristineDianchiLake. It has earned the beautiful nickname of ‘Sparkling Pearl Embedded in aHighland’. It isChina’s sixth largest fresh water lake and has been consistently known for its popularity as an amazing place for sightseeing, entertainment and leisure.

It’s proximity to various other important places nearby gives it the perfect vantage point. Just around the lake are located the Grand View Park, National Sports Training Base, Yunnan Ethnic Village, Western Mountains Forest Park and several more. Acting as the central focal point of the Kunming Scenic Region, the lake was also regarded as Kunming Dianchi Lake National Resort Region, one of the twelve National Resort Regions.

The lake is located at the foot of theWeishanMountainswhich are also otherwise known as the ‘Plateau Pearl’, around 3 miles away from downtownKunming. The lake is fenced on all four sides; the Jinma Hill lies in the east, the Biji Hill in the west, the Heshan Hill in the south and Snake Hill in the north.

The area adjoining the lake shore is rich due to the favorable climatic conditions as well as several rivers required for irrigation. According to legend, the lake was named after one of the most prominent ethnic groups during the First Century known as ‘Dian’. They were responsible for the establishment of the ancientDianKingdomback during the Han Dynasty.

Due to its calmness and serenity, people prefer to come here throughout the day, mostly for recreation and unwinding. The crystal clear water and the rippling waves look like a picture out of a postcard. Every year, from November till March, huge fleets of sea gulls migrate to this lake fromSiberiain order to escape the harsh winter. The area’s warm weather attracts the birds and the view is often a sight to behold.

A circular railway has been built around Dianchi Lake


The railway around Dianchi Lake


A panoramic view of Dianchi Lake.


A panoramic view of Dianchi Lake


The lake is fenced on all four sides

From November till March, huge fleets of sea gulls migrate to this lake from Siberia in order to escape the harsh winter.

huge fleets of sea gulls

The Western Hills in Kunming

Friday, July 20th, 2012
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The Famous Western Hills in Kunming is Steeped in History

Not far from Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province is the Western Hills formed by three hills. These are often referred to as the Lying Budhha. These hills overlook the Dianchi Lake and are a source of natural beauty. They are one of the most popular getaways for tourists and locals alike who want to take time out of their busy schedules and relax in the lap of nature. These hills are also the site for spring celebrations for locals. They were considered to be the most beautiful place in Yunnan Province in the past.

A Natural Gateway: Western Hills 

Yunnan Province is home to 26 out of the 52 ethnic minorities in China. Also, the province lies in the temperate climatic zone which makes it most suitable for study abroad programs and gap year jobs all year round. Most of the other big cities of China like Beijing and Shanghai experience considerably warm weather during summer months. Therefore despite being important cities economically, they are not ideal destinations for Chinese language programs and gap year programs. 

Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan is a great destination for students who want to go on China tour or for learning Chinese. Kunming, without a doubt, has terrific climate which adds to its popularity.  Apart from this it has a lot of sites that the students can visit during weekends and familiarize themselves with the culture and lifestyle of the Chinese. One of such places is the Western Hills. These hills are comprised of three hills; the Huating Hill, the Taihua Hill and the Louhan Hill, respectively. Their altitude ranges from 1900 meters to 2350 meters above sea level.

This is a place to visit when one wishes to get away from the hustle bustle of the city and relax in tranquil natural surroundings. These hills are known for their lush vegetation and pristine natural beauty. There are two ways to go up the hill; one is a steep and narrow path which is generally avoided as it is quite an uphill task to scale the mountain via that route. There is a cable car facility available which is usually preferred for going up to the top. Those who like trekking can walk down if they want to complete the tour in a single day. During ancient times, these hills were considered to be the most beautiful in the whole of Yunnan Province. From afar, it often looks as if these three hills together form a silhouette of a girl lying down. The hills overlook the Dianchi Lake.

According to a Chinese mythical story, a princess, in search of love, met a prince and got married to him. However, the marriage was opposed by the king who had the prince executed. The princess wept so much that the Dianchi Lake was formed by her tears and her body formed the hills. Alternatively, these hills are referred to as the Lying Buddha because of their resemblance to it. During the spring season, locals gather here to celebrate. Folk songs are sung and the traditional dragon and lion shows are exhibited. The Dragon Gate is present among these hills–a structure that took seventy-two years to build. This is a site from where one can view the Dianchi Lake in its entirety.

The Western Hills overlook Dianchi Lake

The Western hills in Kunming overlook the Dianchi Lake

The Western Hills and Dianchi Lake

The West Hills and Dianchi Lake

Dragon Gate is present among these hills–a structure that took seventy-two years to build.

Kunming Dianchi Lake

Kunming Dianchi Lake