Is the only way to get from Hekou to Kunming by bus?
Are there other options, like hiring a car with driver?
We are planning trip from Sapa, Vietnam to Kunming.
Thank you for your help
Is the only way to get from Hekou to Kunming by bus?
When I was there last March, there weren't any drivers looking/waiting around to be hired to make the drive but I bet you can ask at the bus station if you can speak any Chinese. Plus its a common trip probably so I'd also bet that hitching would be do-able but theres definitely no train.
Bus times if you're interested:
8:45am, 1050am, 1230pm, 100pm, 550pm, 555pm, 600pm, 605pm
Ticket price was around 135rmb
I think your best bet is to take the buses, the ride is about 8-10 hrs. I don't think it is safe for you to hire any driver unless he/she is highly recommend. The only problem with taking the bus is you never know which bus stations you might end up in Kunming (like all cities in China, Kunming have several long distance bus stations. unlike western countries only have one or two bus stations in a city or town), unless you are able to speak Chinese to the driver and ask which bus station he is going to and hopefully you end up going to the main bus station near the main train station, where it is easy to find local transportations to go any where in the city. Also, I think best if you can make reservation where you plan to stay in the city and ask them for the Chinese name and Chinese address. Most of the local people, especially the local drivers, do not speak English. They can only speak Chinese. It is best you have it in writing and show it to the driver where you want to go.
One more suggestion, when you are leaving Sapa. There are many mini-van leave Sapa to Lao Cai. You need to tell the driver before getting in that you want to go to the China border, otherwise the driver think you just want to go to the center of Lao Cai or the train station (it is a long walk to the border, about a mile and you might have to find another transportations from Lao Cai to the border). The cost from Sape to Lao Cai or to the Chinese border is the same, if the driver tell you different, he/she is trying to cheat you. It is best while you are visiting Sapa, ask the local people about the mini-van price to Lao Cai. And do not get into empty mini-van, the driver will not leave Sapa until the van is full, so you might be going around Sapa several times or waiting for ages (once I waited almost an hour before leaving Sapa).
Well, good luck!
Excellent information posted here (well done LuJingLin and NYC1983).
I will be going in the opposite direction. Any idea which bus station the bus to Hekou now leaves from?
i'd say this one is your best bet: www.gokunming.com/en/listings/item/sou_32368/
there's a number there you can call to confirm whether Hekou's on the destination list or not. Hekou is part of Honghe Prefecture, which is on the list.
Hi Kiwi3 and Medad
Recent updated about bus stations
I just spoke to my girlfriend (Chinese) and she mentioned to me that recently all the long distance bus stations been relocated to the outskirts of Kunming (It is unfortunate, to get any update information or news about Kunming, we need to depend on the local people). There are 5 long distance bus stations in Kunming now (Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern, and North West bus station. All are located at the 5 highways that go in and out of Kunming). In regard to going to or coming from Vietnam, it will be the Southern bus station in Cheng Gong district of Kunming. There are local buses that go to the Southern bus station but most likely you will end up taking 2 local buses to get there, depending where you are staying in Kunming. If you decide to take a taxi, it will be around 50-70 rmb to/from the center of the city.
Just want to mention about Visa, do not try to apply for your Visa (Vietnam or Chinese) at the border because both countries will not let you do it at the border. You have to apply in Hanoi (for Chinese Visa)(there is Visa service at guesthouses or hotels in Sapa but basically they just sent your passport to Hanoi and it will take several days to week to get your passport back with a Chinese Visa. It is best you do it yourself in Hanoi, you will save your money and time, also the possibility of loosening your passport while in transit) or in Kunming (for Vietnam).
Good luck to all!!!
thanks again hedgepig and NYC. That's the same bus station as from where I went to Xishuangbanna then. It's a long way from the centre of the city and when I used it in mid December taxi drivers didn't know it!
i happened to be in the area today, and i checked out the timetable at the south bus station. the routes seem to be biased a little more west than you need. check out the east bus station, as that's maybe where you need for Hekou.
while i'm at it, the south bus station is pretty lo-fi right now. the bus station for local buses is huge, and the long distance station is next to it - a temporary corrugate structure.
The Bus to Hekou is from the East bus station .It costs 136 Y .To get to East bus station you can take 60 from The train station or 2 from bai shi Qu .
I will be going to Hekou from Kunming this coming early March 2010. Can anyone link the Google Map place or the public bus from Railway Station to the Bus Terminal. Thanks!