User profile: michael2015

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Healthcode QR status change.

I've never been able to get either the WeChat or the AliPay health codes to work. Alipay tells me the network is busy and to wait 60 seconds, then try again - an infinite loop.

WeChat is much more responsive and immediately tells me the network is busy and try again.


I'll try to check Yereth's comments on updating my ID - but am reluctant to change anything as that might affect WeChat pay and AliPay.

Forums > Living in Kunming > ESL job market

Converting a tourist visa into a work visa is actually quite difficult logistically and not particularly encouraged as it's an abnormal procedure, especially since you'll need a plethora of authenticated or apostilled documents from your home country - some but not all are listed below:

. Criminal background check
. University Diploma (authenticated or apostilled).
. Invitation (from a company or institution) to work in China
. Health checks PLUS the newly mandated but subjectively approved COVID travel test and the COVID immunizations.

I noted "subjectively" as this is an issue of national training for new visa and immigration office processes and procedures, so you should expect speed bumps.

One of the most complicated is the Invitation Letter as it must be presented to a Chinese Embassy or Consulate for internal authentication (there's a bar code on the letter) in order to issue a temporary work visa - which you then convert to a residence visa, shortly after arrival at your designated work location (you usually have 30 days to apply for/complete the visa conversion). It's complicated if not impossible - as there are no Chinese Embassies or Consulates in China.

On top of this are the COVID travel and immunization certifications - which are subjectively nebulous regarding visa office approvals.

Then there's the issue of the potentially mandatory quarantine upon entry into the country regardless of tourist or work visa.

I usually recommend newbie teachers in China work for a university the first year, as universities have debatably stronger processes than most private schools and or institutions - but significantly lower pay, benefits and perquisites (eg bonuses, vacations, holidays, and repat trips). Once you've completed your first year - you'll probably want to move to another company or institution, where you can theoretically double your pay (your mileage may vary).

Forums > Living in Kunming > marriage visa from student visa

For US citizens - it's called the Certificate of Marriageability and it's basically a sworn and notarized statement. Notarized statements need to be done in person at your nearest US Consulate or Embassy.

An alternative which may or may not work is doing a local document (statement of marriageability) and having it notarized locally, as you'll need to have the Consular or Embassy Certificate of Marriageability translated and notarized anyway...

And hopefully - a belated congratulations on your nuptials...

Forums > Living in Kunming > marriage visa from student visa

It used to be possible to convert various visas to residence visas by paying either a penalty or service fee - but this kind of request is sometimes beyond the scope of the front desk staff - they may not be trained or knowledgeable - occasionally leading them to either refuse the request outright or start making up bizarre rules and requests.

As others have mentioned - it's best to go to the visa office directly with your spouse/fiancee and escalate the request immediately to a supervisor if the front desk staff can't make a decision or they start asking for bizarre and seemingly illogical things (they're making things up). Based on personal painful experience - you need to get it escalated BEFORE staff start making things up - or you may be stuck trying to fulfill an insane or impossible request, so that the front office staff can save face.

You may need to write a letter explaining why you prefer to pay the penalty or service fee - usually medical reasons (COVID related travel risks) and or financial (it's just expensive to bounce in and out of china just for a visa.

The service fee or penalty used to be ¥2k depending on which schedule they apply - but still cheaper and significantly less hassle than roads, rails, and airports in and out of China - especially at this time.


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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).



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.


This cafe is actually in the Yunda Green Lake campus and connected to the French Language school operated by Alliance Francais or the French Alliance.

It's mentioned elsewhere that pastries are provided by A Table down the street on Beimen Jie.

Aside from the no-smoking ban (since it's on-campus in Yunda) - it's a nice, quiet, smoke free and pleasant environment to rest, read, and relax for bit - if you happen to be on-campus and can't find a place to sit.