User profile: michael2015

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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.

Forums > Living in Kunming > RDP from China

RDP et al protocols and ports generally work - however during major government meetings usually centered around the five year plans and their annual update meetings - china's internet is frequently throttled, to include amazingly even pounding the usually reliable VPNs.

Across different provinces and locations - it's hit or miss - for example China Telecom might be wide open, but Unicom and China Mobile networks might be unable to connect.

So, your best solution is still to have a reliable VPN as a backup solution, should your various mail security protocols be spontaneously blocked.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Advice please

1. Contracts in Asia are rather vaguely interpreted, so there's a certain amount of leverage expected, especially for smaller firms. If they can coerce or bully you into free labor, they'll absolutely do it. It's an indicator of management culture and behavior. If you don't like it - go into overdrive to seek alternatives. Think of it as an abusive relationship - go seek alternative love in your spare time.

2. Regular and forced or coerced uncompensated overtime is called slavery. It's illegal in China, despite Alibaba and Tencent's much maligned 996 (9am-9pm 6 days a week) work ethic which was later criticized by the government and has since been publicly recanted. Slavery is not tolerated in China.

3. Withholding your income is illegal in China. You can report the company to the Kunming Municipal Labor Relations Board (KMLRB). Since your company threatened you, you may be courteous and respond in kind. Do NOT do this until you have a contract with your next employer, to jump seamlessly. Your threat is much more terrifying than theirs. Once you formally report your income has been illegally withheld - the LRB will initiate an arbitration meeting between you and the company's legal leaders, owners, or officers and arbitrate a settlement as per the rules and laws of China. USUALLY, but not always, these kinds of meetings are recorded on video and a government arbitration contract is drawn up upon completion of the negotiation and both parties are "invited" to execute (sign) and thumbprint the document. If arbitration fails - you'll need to go legal. This kind of publicity is very damaging to a company's reputation, so unlike Amber Heard, you should be very very cautious in publicly denouncing employers. The company is also forbidden from slandering or bullying you, should they discover your next employer or even the visa office.

4. The initially happy relationship between you and your employers is obviously soured. Look for alternatives. Based on their behavior, they'll try to threaten you with breach of contract, deportation, etc - but if they withhold your income, they breached first - labor relations board. However, never never ever jump unless you have a definite secondary AND tertiary (3rd) landing site. Every rabbit always has three escape routes (ancient abridged chinese proverb that I just made up).

You may also contact the Yingke Law Firm that advertises on this site, if things become caustic or toxic. Their two primary English speaking legal representatives have excellent English (not perfect, but good enough to grasp the issue) and have an excellent grasp of Chinese law.

[Shameless YingKe Law Firm plug]

I used YingKe for a personal property transaction a few years ago. They were eminently professional, well organized, meticulous, and babysat me through the entire somewhat complicated process until it was done - flawless - happy happy happy. They of course charged a nominal premium for bilingual services - but the fee was acceptable and NOT onerous NOR stratospheric - especially as they accomplished what they promised in a timely, professional, and most importantly, 100% successful and complete manner - the FIRST time through the process. This was also the first time they'd done this kind of transaction - but they researched it well, talked to all the appropriate government offices and officials, and got it done. Did I mention happy happy happy, not to mention impressed.


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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.