Enclosed by mountains on three sides, it is easy to forget that Kunming has much to offer beyond the city proper. Over the hills but still relatively close to the city there are temples, villages, caves, mountain peaks and more waiting for anyone willing to make the journey.
This past weekend, GoKunming hopped on our mountain bikes with the goal of getting out of the city for some exercise, clean air, wholesome food and good rest. We took a familiar route to the Bamboo Temple (筇竹寺) just a few kilometers northwest of the city and well above the city skyline. After climbing past the temple we continued past the turnoff for Qipan Shan (棋盘山) and on toward Tuanjie Town (团结乡).
On the way to Tuanjie, we were reminded of the diversity of Kunming's outdoor activity options when we passed the caves at Da Moyu (大墨雨) and Xiao Moyu (小墨雨) – Xiao Moyu being one of the more interesting spots for rock climbing around Kunming.
After a couple of welcome downhills, we rolled into Heping Village (和平村), a small community located on a turnoff a few kilometers past Xiao Moyu. Most of Heping Village's residents are members of the Bai ethnic minority – the village even has a small reservoir with three Bai-style pagodas reminiscent of Dali's three pagodas.
Heping Village has a large number of vegetable farms and fruit orchards. Small markets along the main road through town offer sweet apples, crisp pears, fresh vegetables and even pine nuts. We picked up a bag of apples to munch on at the top of the next mountain we had to climb, which was a seemingly unending chain of steep switchbacks.
365Haobao Organic Farm#http://www.gokunming.com/en/blog/item/105/# (昆明好宝有机农场).
A 96-hectare farm and quasi-resort at the top end of a meandering valley, Haobao (contact info) is covered with a wide spectrum of vegetables, with Brussels sprouts a surprisingly well-represented crop. Walking through the farm, which is flanked by ridges of densely-forested hills, it's difficult to not think about where most of one's food comes from and how much things like pesticides, pollution and other toxic elements enter into the equation.
Upon our arrival at Haobao we checked into our rooms (standard two-bed rooms with bathroom and tv run 80 yuan/night) and headed straight for the showcase greenhouse, which houses a rather diverse collection of vegetables, melons, greens and herbs. It is also home to a restaurant working with some of the best ingredients in the city - even meats such as chicken, pork, duck, mutton and rabbit are organic. We devoured our late lunch and went for a hike in the hills around the farm before coming back for dinner.
In between sips of green tea and Haobao's homemade corn liquor (nobody's gone blind yet) we devoured a tableful of Yunnan-style dishes, which we washed down with bowls of mint and egg soup. Exhausted, we headed to bed early – our rooms were very cold but luckily the beds came equipped with electric blankets.
Returning to Kunming the next morning was literally a breeze as most of the trip was downhill and with the wind at our backs. What had taken two-and-a-half hours to cover going uphill the previous day took an hour to finish. Rolling into Kunming, it had felt like we had been gone for much more than the 24 hours we had been out of the city. Enjoying a celebratory lunch, it was hard not to talk about where to bike to next weekend.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.