Here's what you need to register your bike with the Traffic Police:
- The bike
- ID or Passport (I successfully registered with my passport)
- The original Fapiao (tax receipt) from the purchase. They might accept a written purchase contract if you bought the bike secondhand, though it's best to include the bike's serial number.
- The 合格证 or certificate of legal production and sale. Every e-bike dealer is supposed to supply one of these at purchase, and it should have the bike's serial number printed on it.
- If the fapiao is made out in your company's name, you need a stamped letter from that company asking the traffic police to register the bike in your name.
I went on the first day of registration. As you can imagine, there were a lot of people without the proper paperwork, and they said they are willing to give a lot of leeway for those cases, but they hadn't worked out all the specifics yet. It's best to just show up to the traffic police station with whatever documentation you have.
These license plates are free of charge.
You can also get the green plates from the various police checkpoints around the city. These have a fee attached to them, as they come with a GPS tracker and theft insurance.
I just got my plates in Kunming, and talked with the traffic police, and my bike dealer (Niu) about the expected changes. Here are a few highlights:
- Any bike over 50kg or top speed over 25km/h needs to get plates by April.
- You can get free plates (the white ones) at any Kunming Traffic Police station. The green plates are fine as well.
- After April, these large bikes will be treated as motorcycles. You will need a license and insurance. As motorcycles, you most likely will not be allowed to register or drive them inside the 2nd Ring Road. Most dealers are planning to stop selling these bikes in the cities after April.
- Any bike that already has the plates will be fine for four more years (2023).
- Any bike on the road that doesn't get these plates by April will be subject to fines or confiscation.
Having seen past attempts to regulate ebikes fail, I'm not entirely sure they'll go through with enforcement when the time comes. I still think it's a good idea to get the plates, because if they do end up enforcing this, you'll have no recourse and no way to get the plates after April.
The last attempt to enforce a registration system (ever notice some older ebikes with small blue plates?) failed for several reasons. The registration process was poorly planned, and the registration window, which was overwhelmed, quickly stopped processing registrations, leaving the vast majority of ebikes unregistered.
This time, they're giving a long advance notice, and providing the plates for free, removing a lot of excuses for outrage if they actually do start cracking down on unregistered bikes.
Also, it's a response to national regulations, so compliance could affect things like the ongoing bid for "civilized city" status, giving them further incentive to follow through.
Note that the airport isn't all it's cracked up to be. It does not have many direct flights to the major cities, with most flights requiring a multi-hour stopover in Kunming.
A lot of the people I know in your situation opt to hire a car to the Lijiang airport or straight to the Kunming airport and fly from there. Now you can also get to downtown Kunming in two hours via high speed rail, another option, though it takes another 30-40 minutes to get to the airport from there.
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Excellent Thai food served in a beautiful art deco setting. The bar is also top notch, with great cocktails, whiskys and cigars.
When the weather is good, try to get a table on the rooftop garden, which offers views of the Bird and Flower market.
May be a little pricier than some of the other Thai restaurants in town.
An exciting new gallery space built from an old factory warehouse in the Paoluda Creative Industry Park. Looking forward to seeing what they'll do with it.
A great little place in the middle of a beautiful valley chock full of great climbing spots.
The beds and rooms are very comfortable, though the bathrooms are shared, and of the "eco" variety (a plus as far as I'm concerned).
The owners are very helpful about everything from info on climbing spots to trip planning and getting around the area.
Also, the place is dirt cheap. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
I heard they revamped the burgers so I went there for one last night. Had the blue cheese burger. Total mess, cheese and carmelized onions dripping all over the place. It was awesome.