Warm weather is here. Even though it is the rainy season, when the sun does come out and the temperature rises, knowing where to find a nice, clean outdoor swimming pool is essential.
A few days ago, we visited three of Kunming's larger pools. They are all open throughout the year and we found all of them to be peaceful and uncrowded. The three pools additionally have changing rooms, lockers, toilets and hot showers on site. Water temperature is currently hovering around 20 degrees Celcius.
At the entrance to each of the pools goggles and both men's and women's bathing suits for sale. Men's bathing suits start at around 30 yuan, women's bathing suits at around 55, and goggles are priced at 25 yuan and upwards.
Jinxing swimming pool (金星游泳池)
The largest of the three pools we visited is Olympic-sized, and at 50-meters long perfect for doing laps. The water is surrounded by a large tarmac. Deck chairs — both shaded and unshaded — are plentifully positioned all around the pool. The water itself is well-maintained and quite clean.
It can get fairly busy at times, but it is usually easy to find a quiet corner away from the pool where you can catch some sun and read a book. If lap swimming and lounging are not enough of a workout, pool facilities also contain a gym.
Pool-goers tend to be a mix of parents, children and the elderly. Older attendees tend to do stretches or play cards and majiang in the shaded area beside the pool while children splash and play in it.
Outside the pool gates on Baiyun Lu (白云路), you can find a handful of small mom and pop restaurants serving local food, which is a nice fix to relieve any post-swimming hunger.
The Jinxing pool is located at 124 Jinxing Lu, near the Beijing Lu Carrefour. It is open daily from 6:30am until 8:30pm. Admission is 25 yuan per person and a discounted rate of 10 visits for 180 yuan is available.
Jin Shi swimming pool (金实游泳池)
Located in the city's northeast and not as large as Jinxing, the 25-meter pool has an attached baby pool. We arrived in the middle of the day and the place was very calm, mostly empty and had a mellow vibe.
Only a few adults were doing laps and a few kids paddled about. As we entered the swimming area a friendly man resting at the end of the pool said to us warmly in English, "Ah...swimming!"
At this pool one is able to find quite a bit of shade running along one end of the water. There are plenty of tables and chairs for those who simply want to sit around and chill out.
Just outside the gate on Jin Shi Lu are quite a few restaurants. For those who fancy Japanese food, look for the teriyaki restaurant right next door to the pool.
Chunyuan natatorium (春苑小区游泳馆)
This is a nice quiet pool set inside a residential area in the city's west. Although it is not especially easy to find — due to it being tucked away inside a labyrinth of apartment blocks — the pool is well worth the trouble of finding it.
This pool itself is 25-meters long and also has a baby pool attached to it. Seating is ample and the water clean. One added benefit of swimming here are the unobstructed views of the Western Hills. On a clear and sunny day they provide a fantastic backdrop for a visit to the pool.
When we arrived on a sunlit afternoon there were just a couple of parents and their kids enjoying a few splashing laps. The pool has a very relaxed atmosphere and a massage parlor is also within the pool's facility that offers a variety of treatments and services.
Oddly, at this pool both men and women are required to wear bathing caps. These can be purchased at the entrance for 10 yuan.
The Chunyuan natatorium is located inside the Chunyuan apartment complex at 161 Erhuan Xi Lu. It is open daily from 6:30am until 8pm. Admission is 25 yuan per person and a discounted rate of 10 visits for 180 yuan is available.
Editor's note: This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. If you know of other outdoor pools in Kunming, feel free to mention them in the comments section below.
Images: Hugh Bohane© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.