User profile: mingdao

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Forums > Travel Yunnan > Dali to Laos

We chose Dali -> Kunming -> Hekou. This is shorter distance and the roads are good.

From Kunming go through Yuxi and Jianshui and Mengzi. Takes about 4 hours from Kunming to Mengzi. The new road from Mengzi to Hekou is the best one in Yunnan Province. Takes about 1 1/2 hours from Mengzi to Hekou.

Do NOT go from Kunming through Shi Lin and Kai Yuan. From Kunming to Mengzi through Shi Lin there is NO interstate, the roads are very bad; so with the impatient new drivers in Yunnan, this route is very dangerous. It will take close to 7 hours to go from Kunming to Mengzi through Kai Yuan.

Forums > Living in Kunming > phonebook sim card for iPhone


Perhaps you are a Chinese person who has slipped into GoKunming, and can't understand written English?

I did not ask to beg/borrow/steal a SIM card. You are in error.

Also, I have already upgraded to 4.0.1 and the ideas you suggest are worthless. And the reason I upgraded my firmware with software from iTunes (that's Apple btw) is because I do NOT want my iPhone tethered.

The phonebook SIM card is recommended by sherif_hashim. He told me personally "you'll find more than 50 types of phonebook sims in China." (You might need to Google to find out who that is, but a clue is that he is a famous iPhone baseband hacker.)

The phonebook SIM in the link I posted is the one he uses in his video. And, yes, the method used to upgrade my iPhone's firmware is the best way in the long run.

Forums > Living in Kunming > phonebook sim card for iPhone

My iPhone 3GS purchased from Canada this summer while we were in America was jailbroken with blackra1n, so it is tethered (forget the software used for the unlock).

The new iOS 4.0.1 is able to be jailbroken with without a tether; plus the 4.0.x software enables multi-tasking. So Friday I upgraded from 3.1.2 to 4.0.1 using firmware umbrella.

I had another iPhone 3G that I gave to a Chinese friend in Kunming, but kept the old AT&T SIM card that came with it (it is an AT&T phone).

I was told that AT&T SIM would activate the iPhone once the new firmware was installed; however, it won't work because this phone is not an AT&T phone (it is Telus or Rogers), which no one knew in advance.

To activate the phone and get it out of emergency call mode I need to buy a phonebook SIM card. Two friends in Kunming tell me they can't find them there ... so I'm asking this community. This card:

is known to work. Does anyone know where I can buy this card, or another one that will work to activate iPhone 4.0.1?

Forums > Living in Kunming > ic holiday managment no good


My family has stayed at IC Holiday for at least 4 different times now. In our experience, 赵馂 (Rick Zhao) is more honest than most people in Kunming. He also wants to accommodate his customers. He might be too aggressive for your personality ... he is for mine. And his Chinglish can confuse you easily (so we ask him to speak Chinese). Also, we have never met anyone else associated with IC Holiday ... maybe it's just him?

However, you have slandered him without actually stating what he personally did wrong. Maybe it was just your perception that he didn't do for you what you expected? Maybe your Chinese and his English are about the same, so you were confused?

From staying there several times over the past 2 years, and living in China for 8 years, we have not experienced these issues with him.

We stayed in 1222 in the apartments next to New Era Hotel. We last stayed there from August 10 - 17.

We did stay in another place between the north train station and the Bai Yun Carrefour in June when we returned from America.

My only true complaint about the two IC Holiday apartments we rented is that things in them are broken, and there is no parking provided (we have our own vehicle).

At the one next to New Era Hotel on this last trip:
the water valve going to the toilet leaked (so we cut it off between flushes after filling the tank;
the air conditioning did not blow cold, or even cool air (leaving the windows open at night let's mosquitos inside ... many more when it rains);
several light bulbs were not working and needed replacing;
the shower is not built properly (which Chinese one is?), so water goes all over the floor and you have to mop the entire room after showering, plus there is no dry place to stand and put on your dry clothes;
the washing machine did not cycle properly (which could have been our interpretation of the Chinese characters on the machine);
the master bed has only a box spring, no mattress, therefore very hard (typical Chinese situation).

赵馂 (Rick Zhao) has given us a discount when we stayed several days. He has tried to do everything he can to accommodate us. (We are Americans and used to much higher standards of living than most Chinese people.) We also found that he would negotiate with us, and he might have fixed the broken things in the apartment if we had asked — we just didn't say anything.

We have also stayed at other guest houses not owned by IC Holiday. Two we stayed at in the north (north of Er Huan Lu) were more expensive than IC Holiday's apartment next to New Era Hotel. The area is not nearly as nice, and filthy (due to construction and so many peasants that have migrated to Kunming to make a fortune.)

I will not give the name of either place, but we will never stay at either of them again. One was owned by a foreigner, and just outrageously expensive. His attitude was bad ... basically he gave us the impression that he did not care about customers, only money.

The other was owned by Chinese people, and was just run down. There were more things that did not work correctly at it than IC Holiday, and they were not willing to fix their problems when asked. It also was not nearly what they told us before we arrived.

We have stayed at another place in the western area of Kunming, behind Xiao Tian E (forget the road name). This one is owned by a Chinese couple, and they do well to accommodate their guests. It did not have internet access, and is rather old, but the owners will do anything they can for you, with a great attitude. It is in a xiaoqu so there is parking with a small fee.

We have stayed at a couple of places we rented by calling the Wicker Basket on the west side. They were also okay, just older. Those people also have great attitudes and will do anything they can to make your stay enjoyable.

The one thing that bothers me at every place we've rented is the beds. They usually only have a box spring, which is typical for Chinese in Yunnan. They always give me a back ache. That is not a complaint about their service, it's just a fact about the culture. (In our home we have a large bed (1.8m x 2.0m) with a very nice pillow top mattress we bought from Jing Jing in Kunming a few years ago. It cost 3,000RMB. We are willing to pay that for a very nice mattress, to get a good night's sleep. Don't expect that at a Chinese guest house.)

NB: One thing you will have to learn to live — they don't like to say "I don't know", or "I am not willing to do that", so many people will just lie to you instead. Get over it ... or you won't be able to live here long-term.


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Wish we'd known this a couple of weeks ago. We arrived in Kunming on August 10th and left on August 18th. We stayed in the Bai Huo Da Lou area, and we were refused plenty of times between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. — very unashamedly.

Wish I'd read this article before then ... maybe we could have gotten some better results. Of course, in a city where the vast majority of people disobey the law unless the police are standing in front of them (and some don't obey then), no one should expect it to change UNLESS it's enforced. Fat chance of that, eh?

Kunming is still just as backwards as when we arrived in 2002 ... only now there are twice the number of people! No more taxis; but more cars, and entirely too many 2-wheeled vehicles! The rudeness of drivers in Kunming, especially the electric bike and motorcycle drivers, is astounding — absolutely unbelievable!

We heard from Chinese people even before moving that "Kunming is a big village" — now we know first hand.

We must leave China to fulfill our Visa requirement by Aug. 18. We've driven to HeKou and walked across to Vietnam before. The Vietnam Visa cost 600 yuan iirc. (We'd pay for same day at the consulate in KM because we live in Dali, and that's cheaper than the cost of extra nights in KM to get a Visa not 'same day'.)

Does anyone know the cost of the Laos Visa for Americans at their border? Is this drive better/quicker than going to Vietnam? I've also heard that a new road has opened to Vietnam since our last trip (2006). Don't know whether that is true or not, either. It would be nice to see Xishuangbanna anyway.


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