Fresh air and a blue swimmable lake encircled by lush green hills are not as far away as you may think. GoKunming revisited Fuxian Lake this past weekend and found it to be particularly gorgeous at this time of year.
Located in greater Yuxi about 65 kilometers southeast of Kunming, Fuxian Lake (抚仙湖) makes for a refreshing couple of days out of the city. The long narrow lake runs north-south, with the sleepy county seat of Chengjiang (澄江) sitting at the lake's north end.
We went to cycle the 90-kilometer road around the lake's perimeter, but there are other options including swimming, hiking or simply lazing around and taking in the scenery. There are even bowling and indoor archery facilities.
There is very little human activity on Fuxian, at least by China standards. But there are a few heavily developed tourist areas on the fully-paved road around the lake. Among them are resort-style developments in Chengjiang and along the lake's west side at Luchong (禄充) and Sunshine Coast (阳光海岸).
Plenty of sand has been brought in to make artificial beaches in these areas and elsewhere around the lake. Although swimming and lounging on the beach may be nice, it is hard not to wonder what impact the imported sand may be having on the lake.
Sunshine Coast is probably the best-known and most established of these areas and we were interested in visiting Solitude Hill so we booked a minivan and driver to take us there and made it our base for the weekend.
The only hotel in the area – at least in the traditional sense - is the Sunshine Coast Hotel, which is a standard Chinese three-star, if you overlook its private beach. The hotel also has the requisite KTV, plus a bowling alley, indoor archery and table tennis.
For the more budget-minded there is a short strip of lakeside road crowded with establishments offering restaurants and basic lodging for around 100 yuan per day on a weekend. We decided to stay at Shuixiang Yuan - our lodging was basic but acceptable, though we had better luck with the food at other restaurants on the strip.
Sunshine Coast's restaurants offer some local specialties including fish and ham dishes, but our favorite after a long day of riding was copper pot rice (铜锅饭): rice, Yunnan ham, and chunks of potato served mixed together in a copper pot.
There is plenty of fish to be eaten at Sunshine Coast and around Fuxian Lake, some of it farmed outside of the lake and some fish of varying legality coming from the lake. One variety of fish from which visitors should refrain is the endangered kanglang fish (抗浪鱼), which is facing extinction but is a sought-after delicacy nonetheless.
Other parts of the lake, especially the east side, are less developed for tourism, but every hamlet seems to have a least one restaurant and rooms to rent for the night. Hikers might have better luck on the east side, where small footpaths run in all directions through the hillside cropland. Locals are often quite receptive to requests to camp on their property, but will be eager to check in and chat frequently.
Cycling the road around the lake can become stressful sometimes from the weekend tourist traffic and involves a bit of highway riding, but the surfaces are in good condition and the scenery is spectacular. There is one fairly large hill on the west side of the lake between Luchong and Chengjiang where the highway detours inland.
The water in the lake seems quite clean and it is a popular swimming destination. Pedalboats and inner tubes can be rented out at some of the resort areas, but one can jump in for a refreshing dip almost anywhere.
Considering its proximity to Kunming, Fuxian Lake is somewhat difficult to get to, especially without a private car. We decided to throw money at the problem and hire a minivan and driver. The trip should cost around 300 yuan each way including tolls and take one and a half to two hours.
Since Kunming closed most downtown bus stations and built new ones on the edge of the city all bus routes that go to Fuxian Lake now run out of the new South Bus Station, which can be reached from the Green Lake area by taking bus 85 from Wenlin Jie to the end of the line at Juhua Cun (菊花村), switching to line 12 and riding it to Zhaoxi Cun (照西村).
From the south station there are frequent departures to Chengjiang for 16 yuan. We have also heard it is possible to go from the south station to Jiangchuan (江川) and then switch to another public bus that goes directly to Sunshine Coast.
After reaching Fuxian Lake, it is relatively easy to hire a van to take you wherever you want to go.© Copyright 2005-2018 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.