Kunming II, Yunnan, China

We got back in Kunming around 5 in the morning, so those 2 decided to stay in the hotel and sleep all day. I guess by this time of the trip I’m the only one that’s got any energy to keep going.  So I searched high and low for a short Kunming trip before I have to run for the airport.

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After reading some brochures at the hotel lobby I decided to climb the West mountain right on the outskirt of the city. Since I was on a rather tight schedule, I was contemplating on whether I should walk or take a taxi up there.

Not long after I got off the bus at the gate of the mountain, I was hurried into a taxi, “just wait here, I will get some more people very soon.” He then hurried off to get some more people.

I waited and waited and nobody else showed up… So I decided to ask around and see if I have enough time to climb up the mountain by myself.

“To walk up the mountain? you walk this way for about 12km.” The taxi driver told me.

I waited a little more, then I felt something really fishy.  So I waited for another load of passengers to get off the bus and asked one of them.

“You just follow this road,” The elderly woman pointed to the road opposite from the taxi driver’s direction, it’s only 7km up, you will get there in about 2 hours.” They then gave me some details on places to stop and what to see.

The taxi driver came up, “com’on, let’s go.  You either take the taxi or go that way for 12km.”

“Wait a minute, the walking path is that way.” The elder lady was rather surprised….

Then I followed the elderly lady up the mountain…

I met quite a few nice people while going up the mountain.  A couple told me about this temple half way up.  “You should take a look at this temple, it’s got 500 Buddha in it.”

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They actually charged 20 yuan for it.. but it also includes another temple near the top of the mountain

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Entrance to the 500 Buddah temple

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All sorts of Buddahs in all sorts of sittings

I call this “stretchy”.

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Avalokitesvara

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Several big statues

and my favorite Buddha, the long-armed

Two-faces

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Rest of the temple

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Coming out, I found the entrance to the other temple.

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Steep way up

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A rather abandoned rest area

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As I went up I found more breathtaking views

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The second temple

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The temple has a little garden with the view of Kunming

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And a beautiful back yard

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I found a few elderly people wandering around here.  There was a little café offering decent vegetarian foods.

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A little gazebo with some ancient inscription.

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Coming out through the other gate that led to the temple

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Then I passed by the grave of Nie Er (聂耳), the composer of the current Chinese national anthem.

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The grand grave

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and his statue

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next to his grave was his memorial museum, there was a Chinese national anthem

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I got to the top

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The breathtaking view…

There were numerous temples along the top, dedicated to different areas of life.

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The West mountain top is also famous for its numerous pious inscriptions by people who stayed here hundreds of years ago.

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Of course, the biggest site is the dragon’s gate.  you have to go through this steep tunnel

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The dragons gate, a famous sculptor spent some 13 years up here, working on this piece.  He’s persistence on perfection forever stayed on this gate.  Since his next piece was not as perfect, he killed himself by jumping off this mountain.

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People walking along the cliff

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And pray…

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View of Dianchi, the famous lake next to Kunming.

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Steep way down.

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Of all the plane rides, I have to say that I liked the Kunming to Beijing the most.  During the 3-hour ride I was offered all sorts of interesting Yunnan local produces, like these funny mushrooms….

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