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Oasis on Renmin Lu: Wenmiao Tea Garden

By in Travel on

Even though Kunming is one of China's most chilled-out cities, sometimes the urban life here can get to be a bit grating and a little escape from the hustle and bustle is needed. When we're in the area around Renmin Zhong Lu with a few minutes to spare, we pop into the Wenmiao Tea Garden (文庙茶园) for some relaxing downtime with a cup of tea.

The garden isn't that big, but it is filled with big trees and a good variety of plants and flowers plus the obligatory pavilion and bridge. There's even a small collection of yingkesong (迎客松) aka bonsai trees. The green environment and Chinese architecture are nice, but it's the dozens of tables of typically older locals playing mah-jong or cards and drinking tea that gives the garden its atmosphere.

The 1.5 yuan entry fee gets you a cup of green tea and a big hot water bottle. Sometimes when we haven't shaved for a while, we're asked to pay a two yuan deposit on the cup. The amount of tea leaves in the cup is way more than any one person needs. It seems to be aimed at the retiree crowd - many of them spend an entire afternoon chatting and sipping cup after cup of tea.

At most, we've been able to drink three or four cups before experiencing mild heart palpitations and minor hallucinations. If that's not your, um, cup of tea, then you might want to tell the lady at the teahouse to go light on the leaves.

Wenmiao Tea Garden is located at 96 Renmin Zhong Lu and is open daily from 8:30 to 5:00.

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