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High Quality of Life Kunming?

robinhood (3 posts) • 0

Hello Everyone,

My family and I have a great opportunity to move to Kunming or the surrounding area. And we could really do with some of your expert advice.

We've been in Beijing for the last 5 years, cough cough, and really looking forward to moving away. I'm British and work from home but need access to the airport now and then. My wife is Chinese and planning to work if an OK job comes her way. Our bilingual kids need a good local (not international) kindergarten and primary school.

We've identified the area around the Expo Park as a possible area to be based. We've also identified the area by the lake, south west of the city centre, as another possible area.

Do you have any suggestions about these two areas or other areas? Is there anywhere outside Kunming (but close enough to the airport) we ought to perhaps consider too?

Thank you very much in advance for any help you may offer.

tommann (423 posts) • 0

I lived in Beijing before Kunming, and in my opinion, the overall quality of life in Kunming is much better than in Beijing.

Ocean (1163 posts) • 0

If you need to be close to the airport, then DianChi Lake in the SouthWest is about as far away as you can get from the airport in the NorthEast. There are ringroads, but few taxis or buses out there.

HFCAMPO (3062 posts) • 0

If you plan on living here for a while I suggest you look into the subway that is still under construction. One line is already open and another should open next year. As the subway to the airport is already working, I suggest you look into this first as you express a need for the airport. You should definitely take a trip out here by yourself and visit the 5 long distance bus stations as well as the subway line. You could probably do all in 1 or 2 days and it will give you a feel for the city.

laotou (1714 posts) • 0

The two areas you cite are quite nice - except you will need a car (with parking) to live pseudo comfortably in either area. Both areas (depending on WHERE you live in those areas) are considered "up-scale" or wealthy areas. For airport access, the expo garden area is preferable IF you have a vehicle or (as @HFCAMPO notes) can live close to one of the subway stations (but do you REALLY want to drag luggage around the subways?).

In the NE of Kunming is an area called Beichen (correct me if I'm wrong) - which is full of longer-term expats with kids - plethora of language schools, good (for km) pre-schools, primary, middle, and high schools, not to mention a Metro (like BJ) which is convenient IF you have a membership card AND a car (with a DESIGNATED parking space).

Beichen also has a den of expat style restaurants - nothing like BJ (except maybe for Silver Spoon), but good enough to escape home dining occasionally. There's also a bevy of christian churches of various flavors - just ask around at any expat restaurant (with the possible exception of O'Reilly's Bar & Grill), and you'll be inundated with invitations (I'd try to use that to get invited to home dinners - get to know various families). Wicker Basket is a pretty good place to start - both for family restaurant, basic expat groceries & bakery (they have DONUTS...mmmm...), and the owners are christian-ish (they close on Sundays).

Beichen also comes with a fairly warm and friendly community - if you're into communing. For local travel suggestions, talk to @HFCAMPO - that guy is seriously well travelled in Yunnan, and a very interesting character to boot. He can give you the low-down (basic facts) on low-key, low cost, and seriously interesting places to go visit - learn of the rich and diverse culture of this province - and it'll get the family out of the house on weekends - assuming the kids aren't buried in homework and after-school classes like their peers.

And...don't buy a TV...computers work well enough and if the kids have time to watch tv - take them outside in the somewhat FRESH Kunming air (we have our PM2.5 issues also - but NOTHING like BJ...unless you happen to camp next to one of the prolific indoor/outdoor BBQ joints).

INTERNET
If you work from home - a "newer" place is advisable - as the "older" places can have asthmatic network speeds unless you choose a REALLY old place full of old people who fear computers, in which case the internet speed is blazing fast (no neighbors on the highway).

As I write - I can see 6 neighbors WIFI routers - so with computers n smart phones - the desktops work better with direct ethernet connections (or reboot your router daily, to force your router to select a "less busy" frequency spectrum/band.

Good luck - welcome to the city! Trust you will have a pleasant experience - and beware - Kunming is significantly less sophisticated than BJ - so the frequency of locals trying to take economic advantage of the allegedly wealthy foreigners (aka fraud, lying, cheating, stealing) is significantly higher. Beware your personal possessions and valuables when moving. I lost a scanner/printer/fax machine and a variety of other nominal goods to an <plethora of expletives> kunming moving company AND they broke over 80% of my wine glasses (more vicious expletives) and they even managed to bust any furniture which had wheels (like they dropped it off the moving truck...more expletives).

Things may disappear - be prepared.

robinhood (3 posts) • 0

Thank you VERY, very, very much indeed for all of your extremely useful comments and suggestions. What you have written is really helpful. Lots to think about and certainly some new thoughts too. :-)

Alien (3819 posts) • 0

Laotou do you have to tell people they need to buy cars? The city is half as nice as it was 5 years ago because of them.

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