I will, at some point in the future, be coming to Kunming to work. I've visited before but that was just passing through to be honest. I don't know a great deal about where I'll be living exactly, however I do know that my school will be in Guandu District. A brief look on the map suggests that this is a little far from the Downtown area. I was hoping to get an idea of what it's like to live there and would love to hear from / meet any locals in and around that area too.
Thank you for the advice!
Guandu is one of the four or five urban districts of Kunming, while Wuhua and Panlong are the city center proper, Guandu is to the east and south of it. But since it is so large, it is difficult to say anything specific about it without knowing your location.
You can see the districts on this map: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kunming_mcp.png (3 is Guandu, 1 is Panlong and 2 is Wuhua).
Guandu seems pretty desolate to me.
Required to get around, shop, etc:
1. Bus - beware pickpockets. Gotta get an e-card OR carry change (¥1-5)
2. Car - Beware buses, taxis, and e-bikes
3. E-Bike - Beware buses, taxis, and cars (and running out of juice).
4. Taxis - beware the "2nd or 3rd ring road is faster" ploy. Sometimes it's true - but it ALWAYS incurs an additional ¥10+ fee. Some drivers can double the fee by taking you the extremely boring and droll "scenic" route. ALWAYS get receipts - you can have a Chinese speaking friend help you complain to the taxi company and USUALLY get a full refund. Also - taxis tend to take their breaks and change shifts during peak rush hours.
yes, as Ludwig says, Guandu is very large and it even includes downtown area like the south of beijing lu: goo.gl/maps/6ghIW
- the old and new airports, the train station
- Guandu Old Town www.gokunming.com/[...]
- Luosiwan International Trade City www.gokunming.com/en/listings/item/luo_32397/
- Fubao Culture Town & Spa www.gokunming.com/en/listings/item/fub_33107/
and the subway line 1 is opening there soon : www.gokunming.com/[...]
desolate? not really!
This is a big area and the roads here have perhaps the most trucks on them, compared to other areas of Kunming. There is a good road down past Luosiwan, but most of the other roads are too small for the volume of heavy traffic.
Parts of the area have lots of small factories, and the air quality can be the very bad. Lots of dust and diesel fumes.
It really depends on the exact neighbourhood.
If anyone is thinking of moving to Kunming, it is worth checking out the subway/metro links and living close by. Traffic will not get better and this will affect all other means of transport, except the metro.