Kunming is the capital and largest city of Yunnan province in southwest China and is known as the ‘Spring City’ for its’ all year round mild climate. It has a population of around 6 million and is a busy bustling city.
We used my sisters’ apartment in Kunming as our base and from here we went on several trips to other areas. Beneath the apartment building was an indoor food market, tables laden with all kinds of beautiful fruit and vegetables, a bakery selling delicious steamed buns (these quickly became a favourite with all of us) and various other vendors selling all kinds of food. The kids were delighted to see bags of toads and baskets of live chickens! Although we wouldn’t necessarily want to eat toads or frogs, in China this is simply another food.
We would wake in the morning to the sounds of the local elderly people playing their instruments in the park beside the apartment and we would watch as they did their morning Tai Chi.
We spent our first few days acclimatizing to our new surroundings, taking in the sights, sounds and foods of this new culture. People would openly stare at us as it was fairly unusual for them to see Western children and they would ask to take photos of them. At first my kids found this disconcerting but soon embraced their new-found celebrity.
JINFANG FOREST HOT SPRINGS, ANNING
We travelled via bus and taxi around one and a half hours northwest of Kunming to these Japanese style hot springs, set amongst pine trees with stone paths winding to connect each different pool. Robes and slippers are provided and you can choose from a variety of packages to include body scrubs, different massages etc. There is also a restaurant and hotel so you can stay for as long as you like. It was such an incredible place that we went twice and we have never been able to find another spa that even comes close to Jinfang!
To get there: Longxi Road, Wenquan Town, Anning 650300, China
“Buses and small vans leave regularly for Anning from Kunming at the station on Renmin Xilu at Xiao Ximen. Both are six yuan and will drop you off on Baihua Lanlu on the eastside of small lake in Anning City. From here, there are taxis (20-30 yuan) or small vans (three yuan/person) to the hot springs 15-20 minutes north of Anning proper.”
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