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Your tips as my guide to Yunnan

Shanghai, China
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Your tips as my guide to Yunnan

Hello fellow travellers!

On the 30th I'll be embarking on my trip around the Yunnan Province (and maybe more) with. We are taking the train from Shanghai to Kunming, 38 hour hard-sleeper :)

The reason I post this on the broad 'Yunnan' forum is because we will be traveling for nearly a month, leaving us plenty of time to discover more places, as well as the less renown ones only some of you will have been to. In general, we want to enjoy our time, staying for a few more days if we like a place, leaving overnight if we don't.

So, what are your thoughts, tips? How would you advise us on this 1-month trip?

Here some info on our position: We are willing to sleep anywhere with a roof, we are travelling lightly, but expecting all kinds of weathers. We haven't booked any hostels (mistake?) to keep our route flexible, how much planning do you advise we should do? We don't have a tent or sleeping bag and are both able to communicate in Mandarin (I'm a beginner and she lived in China for most of her life).

Thank you all in advance, I'm excited to read your replies, as they will be our reference!


Sherbrooke, Canada
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1. Re: Your tips as my guide to Yunnan

Get warm clothes. It is rather cold in most pats of Yunnan at this time of the year and most of hotels (other than high-end) have no heating.

Because you are there during Chinese new year, getting a room won't be a problem but getting transportation will be.

Kunming, China
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2. Re: Your tips as my guide to Yunnan

You have picked a very difficult time to travel because of CNY, but you surely already know that. It is good you and your travel companion speak Mandarin. That will help a lot, especially when and if you get off the main tourist trail in these parts.

First of all, you don't need a tent or sleeping bag unless you are planning a series of back-country treks. Small towns and villages all have some sort of lodging, as of course do the larger towns and cities. It the place is small enough, it may just be a room in someone's home, but you can always find someplace indoors to sleep.

In terms of broad divisions, the north of Yunnan is cold now, and the south of it is warm now. Check annual monthly weather averages to get a better idea of the actual numbers. Kunming has been unseasonably cold this year; the coldest winter in ten years.

Decide which region is your priority and go there first to allow plenty of time. Don't try to make tight travel connections at this time of year. Alternatively, you could go south first, since you don't need heavy clothes for that, and then go north towards the end, buying a cheap extra layer beforehand.

Also do some reading on the west and southwest of Yunnan. Those areas are under-traveled and contain some worthwhile places.

What have you already identified as places you would like to go and see in your preliminary trip research? That's the place to start further discussion.

Edited: 1:39 am, January 26, 2014
Kunming, China
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3. Re: Your tips as my guide to Yunnan

What did you wind up deciding to do, @Globalsombrereo?

4. Re: Your tips as my guide to Yunnan

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