Yangliping

User profile: Yuanyangren

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

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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

Yeah there are lots of hebrew speaking travellers in Vang Vieng these days. Same with regional tourists from Thailand - frankly given that Thai and Lao are nearly the same language I don't see how a Thai speaker can't read Lao, but apparently many can't hence the reason for the Thai signs you saw. Same in Thailand - at petrol (gas) stations near the Lao border, which are popular with Lao motorists you can see signs in Lao next to the Thai since there are some subtle differences between the two languages.

@Senorboogiewoogie, in Laos everything is flexible due to the power of money aka corruption. I was in Vang Vieng around midnight back in 2009 and it was still noisy in parts, but generally quiet outside the center of action.

Also, while perhaps not a good idea, every foreigner living in Laos knows you can sleep with a Lao citizen of the opposite sex in the same room if you are discreet about it and you'll only get in trouble if you piss someone off. I also think that the government only sees the images of westerners in Thailand and the Philippines "buying" girls at girlie bars and wants to maintain a more lowkey image, but naturally no Vietnamese or Chinese (or Thai) truck driver would be without his karaoke and Lao prostitute in the border provinces. The reality is that prostitution is as big in Laos as anywhere else, but maybe just a little less visible. However, in Vientiane there are large numbers of local girls with western or other foreign "boyfriends", or in genuine relationships.

Haha, well I don't think I was that pessimistic, and I do agree with you on some of your points - although being quite knowledgeable about languages myself, there is more overlapping of the dominant language from the more economically powerful country into the less dominant one than the other way round - i.e. despite what you said, there is very little Lao spoken in Vietnam, but the other way round there is quite a bit of Vietnamese understood in Laos. Lao officials on the Lao-Viet border can usually speak some Vietnamese, but Viet officials generally can't speak Lao. I have been there and know this for a fact. Same with Viet officials on the Chinese border - they can speak Chinese, but Chinese officials speak only Chinese and English, not Viet.

Vietnamese is also only understood amongst a very small minority of people on the Thai side of the Lao border, not many as you say...same with Thai in Myanmar but not Burmese in Thailand (except amongst the immigrant workers and some Burmese signboards near the Burmese border) in Thailand. As mentioned above, Chinese is quite strong in northern Laos, but Lao is non-existant anywhere in Chinese territory except when it comes to the Dai language, which is fairly close but not exactly the same language.

I've also found that the majority of South-East Asian Chinese language students here in Kunming don't speak much English at all for some strange reason. The ones back in their home countries that didn't major in Chinese are often quite good at English, so I guess there aren't that many polyglots around as you say - 2 languages seems to be what the average person knows and not more.

Although if we're on the subject of which SE Asian language to learn IN ADDITION TO English, which will continue to be important, then it must be Thai. Thai is understood throughout Thailand, Laos, western Cambodia and the Shan State of Myanmar. No other SE Asian language is as dominant as Thai.

This is reflected in the much greater interest amongst Chinese students in studying Thai than say, Vietnamese. I have met tons of Chinese students interested in, or with at least one semester of Thai behind them, but only two who had studied Vietnamese.

Sounds good in principle, but learning to speak all SE Asian languages would require you to be some kind of linguistic genius and probably half a lifetime of devotion. Speaking only one of the languages from the region, say Thai or Burmese or Vietnamese, wouldn't help much in neighboring countries since each language in the region is not mutually intelligible with only limited overlapping...so such an approach would mean limiting your engagement to one country.

In parts of northern Laos and northern Myanmar, no attempts are made by Chinese settlers to learn the local language - everything (signboards, menus etc.) is in Chinese and locals [Laotians and Burmese] who can't speak this foreign language [Chinese] are left out.

Also, I don't think English should be forgotten - despite various levels of English fluency in the region, English is still the only global lingua franca and the global language of business. English is the only language you can successfully use in all SE Asian countries. While it's great to know Thai, Lao, Burmese etc. it isn't realistic unless you are living in those countries. I have also noticed that just like with English, Chinese learners of these SE Asian languages really struggle, and when encountering a local that speaks good English, the conversation will usually inevitably switch to English since the local will assume the other party can't speak their language well enough. It's only once fluency is achieved that this is overcome.

My recommendation would be for both Chinese and other foreigners interested in investing/doing business with the region to know how to speak English fluently, followed by becoming proficient in at least the basics of their host countries' language to at least show some interest and respect. Apart from those interested in becoming translators however, I personally think time and money is better spent gaining technical skills and then applying some language skills on the side - not the other way round.

I've done that and I'm doing quite well. I am an engineer that has worked in Vietnam and Thailand and I speak Thai and some Lao with an almost native accent (and can read and write both languages) - something that is of enormous benefit to me, but I have achieved this as a side passion rather than as my main job. Still, I barely speak Vietnamese and don't have the energy or time to work on it - in any case, doing business isn't difficult as most educated people there speak English anyway and I have a very good friend who helps me so it's all good. Ditto for Cambodia and Myanmar.

There is an error in this article. Lao Airlines flies only twice (2) a week from Luang Prabang to Jinghong, not daily. They only just restarted this service recently and I highly doubt there would be enough demand for a daily service at this time. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this service were to once again be suspended in the near future. Luang Prabang-Kunming flights are said to be restarted again in the near future too, but no date has been given.

Check out online copies of Lao Airlines' Champa inflight magazine for more details.

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.