Just to follow-up on your query as to why bike/e-bike travel is more dangerous than, say, car/bus.
Although there are lots of bike lanes here some narrower roads don't separate them.
Plus Chinese drivers are generally awful and often don't notice/care about bikes eg no indication, no looking around them, pulling our without checking.
And, bike/e-bike riders go up streets the wrong way, often have no lights on even at night, seldom indicate and also seem unaware of their surroundings esp pedestrians.
I speak as a car driver, e-bike rider and pedestrian!
I think you should worry less about toilets and so forth, adapt a bit and plan to spend more than a month here for what you want to do for your thesis.
Actually what Ocean says is usually very true, but right now Kunming traffic is behaving safer than usual, at least till 7pm.
marko21 is right, you'll need to carry around your own tissue paper, pretty much all the time.
Anyways, the east west subway line should be operational soon and Kunming has an excellent bus system, so getting around will be easy. Since you have access to a kitchen, you will easily be able to stay mostly vegan, as the local wet markets and supermarkets carry lots of vegetables, tofu, and grains. You'll just have to change to vegetarian when you eat outside, but it'll be worth it. This restaraunt has excellent vegetarian dishes.
there will be a lot to get used to for sure but Kunming is fairly relaxed and never hectic like most cities of its size. Regarding your thesis, take any 'offical facts and figures' with a pinch of salt. for exampe, some locals tell me that kunming has to stay within a certain temperature range to retain the 'Spring City' title. Just come here with an open mind and prepare to be flexible and you'll enjoy your stay much more. Finally, don't drink the tap water even after boiling regardless of what some might tell you.
Areas around (and in) the buddhist temples offer vegan fare. Also - you MAY want to consider eating buns with your meals - the solidity and fiber from the buns should help slow the progress of things through your system.
Saw a new restaurant advertising vegan lifestyle in the Backstreet blocks corridor. Also, I think Sals has a few vegan options on their menu.
Really thanks for all the useful information! This helps me a lot!
@AlexKMG, can you specify 'soon' more? Is it possible that
the west subway line would be operational in september?
@Debaser, really thanks for telling me about the tap water! Otherwise I definitely would have cooked with it! Are there any other things I should be careful of? Are the vegetables and fruit from the local markets safe? Or is it better to buy from supermarkets?
And regarding to my thesis, thanks for letting me know! Do you know where I can find more information on this topic?
And also thanks for the vegan propositions! I will keep them in mind :)
The less you know the better :)
As you only stay short time just enjoy. If you get into these food issues you will mess up your head, and for a short stay not worth to get too deep into it. You can get so deep in here you cross the River Styx, meet Hades who will show you the Dark Side of the Moon. So concern yourself on the good things, whatever that means.
If I were you I wouldn't worry about cooking with tap water. Buy your vegetables in any of the many markets - obviously, wash them off before you eat them, as I hope you would do with anything from a supermarket anywhere. The west subway will not be open in September.
You are worrying too much, we are not dying out here.
As the others have said, try to just relax regarding food safety and local water. personally I don't use the tap water for absorbant foods or for soups but I think it's OK for solid foods where the water is poured off after cooking anyway. Many locals here avoid using it for cooking as far as possible but washing fruit/vegetables in it is fine as long as you dry them afterwards. One of the biggest issues with the water is accumilation of heavy metals - not an issue for you as you won't be here for long enough.