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Things to do for Valentine's Day

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Kunming's recent run of warm sunny days has awoken the city from several weeks of staying inside. Gone are the puffy and drab accoutrements of winter, which have been shed in favor of more form-fitting and revealing attire. Strangers are smiling at one another in passing and everyone seems to be looking better than they were a couple of weeks ago.

This year Valentine's Day comes but a few days before the weeklong Chinese New Year holiday, Whether you have a date and haven't figured out what to do for Valentine's Day, you're still weighing your options or you're planning on going out solo, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path options for a romantic Valentine's Day in the Spring City. Here are just a few recommendations.

Rooftop tea: If the skies are clear, Yi Hu Chun's rooftop tea garden is one of the better places in Kunming to soak in some sun. Located on the southeastern corner of Cuihu Park, Yi Hu Chun has a wide selection of reasonably priced Chinese teas that complement the super-chill rooftop. A good place to while away an afternoon together.

Fine dining in the Expo Gardens: Moonlight Corner is currently one of Kunming's better-kept secrets. Tucked away in the Expo Gardens in northeast Kunming, this is as authentic as Thai dining gets in China. Ingredients are flown in from Thailand every week for preparation by the restaurant's four Thai chefs. Moonlight Corner's elegant seating, attentive staff and one of the best views of the city make the dining experience complete.

A stroll in the park: An afterdinner walk through Cuihu Park is always a good way to walk off a meal and find a hidden spot for some quiet time, or to take in some traditional music and dancing. Cuihu closes relatively early, guards will ask you to leave at 11:00.

Hot springs!: Kunming has several good options for hot springs, all of which offer a healthful and sensual experience perfectly suited to Lovers' Day.

Located near the western end of Dianchi Lu, Dianchi Spring Spa is an increasingly popular hot springs destination, with hot springs and a small meal running a reasonable 86 yuan.

Jinfang Forest Hot Springs, another popular hot springs venue is located about 90 minutes outside of Kunming in the city of Anning.

Perhaps the most decadent hot springs destination around Kunming is Yangzonghai Brilliant Spa (see image above), nestled on Yangzonghai Lake about one hour south of Kunming. Even with a discount, soaking in hot springs is 280 yuan. The lakeside hot springs area is decorated with volcanic rock and a fusion of Yunnan, Southeast Asian and Japanese elements. For those with cash to spend, there are VIP rooms - featuring in-room hot springs - available for as much as 2,500 per night.

Shake that thing: Shelter Bar should be one of the better destinations for singles tomorrow night, the underground bar on Yuantong Dong Lu will be hosting a Latin dance party featuring Chengdu-based DJ Joe. Music starts at 10 and there is no cover charge.

Get help from a Buddha: Unable to find a date? Feeling unwanted? The Yuantong apparition of Guanyin, the Buddha of compassion, accepts you just the way you are. Guanyin can be found at Yuantong Temple on 30 Yuantong Lu, a short walk east of Cuihu Park.

Regardless of where you go and what you do, GoKunming wishes you a happy Valentine's Day.

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