Tenwest Mandarin School

User profile: Yuanyangren

User info
  • RegisteredMay 26, 2011
  • RegionChina
  • VerifiedNo
  • RegisteredMay 26, 2011

Forum posts

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Forums > Living in Kunming > China Is a Top Choice for Expats

I think an expat is any person who lives in another country as a foreigner for an extended period of time without gaining permanent residency or citizenship and is most appropriately applied to foreigners living in non-multicultural countries like China where it is difficult and uncommon to gain residency and especially citizenship. An expat also implies a sense of not being in the country forever, although there are many long-term expats these days, many of whom will never go home.

Even though the term expat can be used for say a Brit living in the USA, it sounds a bit strange because that Brit will probably eventually become an American anyway and since the USA is multicultural, everyone, irrespective of background is eligible to become a US citizen provided they have met the requirements in terms of residency etc.

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Thailand life ?

@thebeargirl, interesting you mentioned tipping in Thailand. In China no one tips so I didn't think you would understand the concept being Chinese yourself. Basically it works like this:

In China: no tipping, ever.

In Thailand: leave some spare change if it's an expensive meal or tip about 20-30 Baht. Never tip street vendors or for cheap meals. Tipping hotel staff is at your discretion but generally only in more expensive hotels (4 or 5 star) and even then it's not absolutely required.

In America: Always tip about 10-15% in restaurants and hotel bellboys etc.

As you can see, tipping in Thailand is somewhere in between the extremes of China (no tipping) and America (tipping everywhere).

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Thailand life ?

@chris8080, many ATMs do, but not all. It's still better to come equipped with a VISA or Mastercard debit or credit card, which are accepted everywhere.

BTW many Chinese ATM cards such as the Great Wall Card issued by the Bank of China, which I possess state clearly in English that the card can only be used inside China. Therefore, I recommend asking your bank in China to see if they can issue a VISA or Mastercard card (a credit card would probably not be available to a 20 or 21 year old non-working student though, so it would have to be a debit card), although Unionpay should work in many tourist areas but probably not in more remote places, whereas VISA and Mastercard will be accepted everywhere.

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Can pickups enter Kunming?

@Dazzer, good point but right now what it comes down to is cost. The Jeep Cherokee that I am interested in starts at a whooping RMB 575,000 in China and that's just for the cheapest model. It's quite possible that the price in Laos is lower and the reason for considering purchase in Laos is that the vehicle will travel there anyway as my company is considering setting up some operations there. It seems that Chinese vehicles can easily enter Laos and stay for up to 30 days at a time, so that isn't a problem, but when it comes to Thailand and Vietnam, 2 other countries I would have to enter with the car, Lao registration would be better. Indeed Vietnam is now cracking down on Lao vehicles entering its territory, so I would imagine that Chinese vehicles would face an even harder time as in all my years spent in Vietnam I've only ever seen 5 Chinese registered vehicles there and all of them were near the Chinese border.

On the other hand, as mentioned if the Lao and Chinese price aren't that different, my company will purchase locally as that way we can avoid all the paperwork that we would inevitably face trying to register a Lao car here.

Thanks for the link tigertiger; although the crossover vehicle you have shown me doesn't look like it has that much more space than a large SUV would have though.

I was wondering if a pickup with a canopy could avoid the restrictions driving into Kunming city cause it would then look like the crossover you have shown me? Although my company is now set on purchasing a largish SUV so I think we can now avoid the potential problems that could arise from purchasing a pickup.

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Can pickups enter Kunming?

@mike4g_air, the car will be brand new. I would register it within a month of purchase, if necessary. When it comes to the steering wheel on the right side, this is not an issue as Hong Kong cars have right hand steering and are allowed to drive on the mainland. However, my car will have left hand steering anyway (since the car would be purchased in Laos). If however, the Lao price isn't much cheaper than the Chinese price my company will purchase locally.

@Yuantongsi, any reason why this rule applies? Thanks for confirming this info though, means that my company will have to consider purchasing an SUV instead.

I have to find out, but I believe I will be based in Kunming most of the time, so I need to be able to drive my car around freely. I will often need to go down to Xishuangbanna and into Laos, Thailand and possibly Vietnam. For trips to Myanmar and India I would fly as driving into those countries is currently restricted.

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Comments

Some airlines, particularly international ones like THAI have not updated their systems to reflect the new airport. At the beginning, starting tomorrow, I'm sure there will be some passengers that won't know about the change and will thus go to the wrong airport and miss their flights.

Yeah the Lijiang line is currently under construction, while the Ruili line is supposed to form part of a proposed Kunming-Myanmar rail link - it will probably also be constructed at some stage (as reported by GoKM last year) but I suspect it will take a little while.

All of this is quite amazing, but even in China not everything goes to plan. Originally the proposed high speed railway from Kunming to Vientiane, Laos via Jinghong and Boten was supposed to be completed by 2015, but a number of issues will likely push back that project for another 10 or more years, though I do believe that it will eventually be built. Also, since the idea is to link south-western China with the south-east Asian coast, Thai and eventually Malaysian and Singaporean co-operation is vital to building this link in the first place; building a line only as far as Vientiane would likely turn out to be a white elephant project since the objective is to make most income from moving goods between SE Asia and SW China quickly via train rather than passengers and that requires linking SW China to a coastline - something which Laos doesn't have.

Regarding the Hekou line, they've been proposing that one for years now since trains stopped running between Kunming and Hekou in 2002. Finally this article mentions a new high-speed line is under construction, but this will be of little use unless the Vietnamese also build a complementary high-speed line on their side (sure, they already have an existing railway line running from Lao Cai via Hanoi down to Saigon, but it's rather slow). Also, the Vietnamese government recently turned down a proposal for converting their existing line into a high-speed line, citing the high cost and the low passenger volumes that would utilize the line.

Wow, it's finally upon us. The new airport will finally open at the end of this month! Only thing is, I'd avoid non-essential travel in and out of this airport for the first couple of weeks since it will probably be more chaotic than usual and things may not go as planned (for example baggage claim may be unusually slow).

I like the statement "For travelers without cars, taxis are always an option." well of course they are. For starters, most people in Kunming still don't own a car despite all the cars on the roads these days. Secondly, even if you do have a car, who would drive to the airport in order to catch a flight and then park their car for the duration of their overseas or interprovincial stay there? I don't think long-term parking is well known in China so even a week's worth of parking could become very expensive and possibly more expensive than even in some western countries.

I am looking forward to the proposed direct Europe flights. Anyone have any idea about when these flights might begin and who which carriers will offer service (presumably Chinese carriers I would imagine)?

Reviews

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Horrible tasteless, thick-crusted "cardboard" like pizzas that are a far cry from what they should be like. Way overpriced too. Wine may be good, but why bother when the nearby Prague Cafe makes much better pizza at a more reasonable price?

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Good food and atmosphere. Sometimes takes a while to order, but all you need to do is shout Nihao! Fuyuan! And a waitress will come. Or you could just order at the bar or on the stairs, which is what I sometimes do.

Hate the stale cigarette smoke upstairs though, which is where i always sit because of the comfy sofas; that stuff makes my clothes smell almost as bad as a night out at Kundu, but anyway, this being China and especially Yunnan, means it might take a while before non-smoking restaurants become the norm.

Otherwise, the food is quite good though.

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Great Mexican food and ice cream, excellent Raspberry smoothies and an overall good atmosphere. Can't do much about the low ceilings on the second floor, but the early closing time could be adjusted, after all, the nearby French Cafe closes at 1am.