User profile: michael2015

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Getting a Mortgage in Kunming

I cosigned my wife's mortgage with CCB. Her name is on the property deed, as it's seriously complicated to transfer title deeds for foreigners. There's some paperwork showing the paper trail of income and bank account cashflow but nothing spectacularly difficult or complicated to overcome. My name on the mortgage, but wife's name ONLY is on the property deed, so technically I legally own NO overseas property for home country taxation purposes.

There'll be a plethora of taxes and fees associated with either property transfer or a purchase. Your real estate agent should be able to provide a list. If they can't - you're using the wrong agent. The gov real estate office also has a list of fees and taxes - but they probably won't give you the time of day for casual requests for information.

If you buy a new property - expect to spend upwards of CNY 200-300k for renovation from bare concrete walls to a move-in livable space. We used a reasonably reputable interior design and decoration firm to manage the entire process. Infinitely less stressful. You should do your own research so you know prices of labor and materials, so you'll understand ballpark numbers BEFORE you go shopping. Also beware the bait & switch - which is why we used a reasonably reputable interior designer. We also aired out our apartment for a couple of months, stuffed the closets with large shopping bags full of tea to instill the tea aroma as opposed to the smells of glue and paint. Tea also functions as a desiccant (sucks humidity out of the air), so there's that. I would NOT advise using the tea downstream for drinking. Seems it's a well known rural practice amongst tea farmers (who probably resell the tea once its served its purpose).

On that note - generally, property or other major assets acquired AFTER marriage are considered community property in China - regardless of how one tries to hide or manipulate the assets.

Good luck and best wishes.

Forums > Travel Yunnan > Road from Lijiang to Shangrila

Wish gokunming would do a travel piece on this new rail and the fun and interesting things to see and do outside those 13 stations.

That's essentially 13 potential round trip rail trips from Lijiang (not to mention KM to LJ). Might be able to get China Rail to cough up some funds along with the Yunnan Tourism and Travel promotion agencies (dunno their real names, but I'm sure there are MANY MANY MANY government agencies tasked with improving or increasing tourism who have no idea where and how to spend those funds).

The high altitude locations would be perfect for development of hot spring type tourist attractions as starters. Private bathing, private luxury boutique rooms (with your own private hot spring-ish bath), sensational views, local cuisine.

The absolute great thing about China is the planned economy - with government support - virtually any business can actually have a sustainable business case (gov promotions, ads, etc until the venue becomes self-sustaining).

Forums > Travel Yunnan > Any Recent Passport Renewal Experience?

In theory - you can have a designated agent or surrogate pick up your passport and send it to you. You'll have to check with your embassy AND your consulates for the latest rules, regulations, procedures, and of course, documentation.


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I was thinking that gokm could maybe get the Kunming Tourism Dept and the KM Metro et al to pay for a professionally illustrated bilingual PDF map and maybe start a series of web articles and videos on things to do and see (and eat) at each station - aside from the major tourism venues.

NHK (Japan) did this about 20 years ago - very popular and interesting series - inspires people to get out, socialize (when it's safe) and support local businesses...or not.

The referenced map was an ANCIENT planning map...hence the hint hint hint hint to the gokm staff - when they have budget and absolutely nothing better to do with their time...

Yereth's map is great as a geographic index - but most high density subway maps (Beijing, Tokyo) go for the symbolic stations shown in the ancient picture I referenced. These things are great as either screensavers, desktop wallpapers, or mobile phone pictures (screensavers, wallpapers) for those who commute within the bellies of these steel dragons.

I used to carry around subway maps on small plastic cards (doubled as my prepaid card) when exploring these cities. Each station had uniquely popular venues for both tourists and long-term locals alike (popular eateries, shopping boutiques, etc).




Just popped in for the annual to biennial visa health check. Cost was CNY 487 - don't forget to bring at least THREE (3) visa pictures and your mask.

As usual, there are TWO health codes to display - the usual kunming/yunnan green QR code and the green "Arrow" code.

I went late in the morning, but still managed to shuttle through all the departments and get out before lunch.

I used didi to get there and the map now correctly shows the rear parking entrance as the destination drop-off point. You can also take the subway to a nearby station, and walk walk walk walk walk - it's actually not too far but it will elevate your blood pressure and pulse (BPP) - so make sure to rest 5-10 minutes to allow your BPP to drop back to resting state.

Upon arrival at the main gate, you'll do the usual check-in procedure - mask, sign-in, green QR code, temperature check.

Once inside - Present your passport, green QR code, and green (hopefully) arrow code. Scan the QR codes on your left as you walk in if you don't have these prepared already. The staff will then pass you an application form. Walk over to the wall of stand-up desks to your right, fill out the forms, then stroll over to the clerks to present the form. They'll print out a sheet of bar coded labels for your tests, take your digital picture, attach everything together with a paper clip, then direct you to the cashier to pay CNY 487 (WeChat, alipay, bank card, etc) Don't know if they still accept cash.

Hike up the the 2nd or 3rd floor to start the battery of tests:

3rd floor

Chest X-ray

Physical (height, weight, BMI/body mass index)

2nd floor



Urine test

Blood Test

Eye test (color blindness and eye chart)


Heart (pulse, blood pressure)

I may have missed a few like the OB GYN...

It seems they also have a COVID/NAT (nucleic acid test) center in a shipping container lab outside the health center - but I didn't bother jogging over to check if it was still operational. In retrospect, should've checked, as the hospitals are jam packed with Chinese New Year travelers.

The test results are ready the afternoon of the second day. The facility seems sparsely busy even though they service both foreigners and nationals. There were rarely lines or noticeable waits beyond a few minutes, with at most 1-2 people ahead of you.

Staff are always nice, polite, professional and tirelessly patient for those of us with limited to no communications abilities.


Standard, clean, well-furnished and appointed mall with the usual fare:
Bread stores, Drink stores, a mid-end Radisson business hotel
The usual mall stores, movie theaters, and a host of after school training schools (robotics, language, dance, art etc).

Evenings are the usual mini-carnival activities for small children - carnival rides, the ubiquitous electric cars, an illuminated water fountain, a host of kiddie games etc etc etc.

Across the street - a scaled down Aegean Mall (also named Aegean Mall).


I occasionally visit the Kai Wah Plaza International Hotel to attend Kunming Rotary Club events. Although I've never stayed in the hotel or viewed its rooms (now on my bucket list) - the food has always been excellent both in presentation, aroma, taste, flavor, etc from appetizers to desserts - with a well-stocked and diverse wine selection - typical of international 5-star hotels. Kudos.


Met a friend after dinner for drinks and chat up on the rooftop patio/bar. Music was a little loud for us - but was surprised at this jewel of a bar. What a nice comfortable place.

I was told the hostel only charges cny40 a night for a shared room bunk bed - can't beat that.

Truly a gem for travelers on a budget and the rooftop bar has a beautiful and memorable sunset view (see the pictures).


Stopped by last night for dinner on the small patio and to pick up a couple of their apple pies. Always attentive and courteous staff and good solid food. Don't forget to check out their freezers for frozen foods like chicken and beef pot pies, pizzas, quiches, cakes etc.