China // Yunnan //

Moving on from Kunming

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For anyone catching a domestic flight, the China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines headquarters are on Tuodong Lu, but agents around town all offer the same fares. Bus #A2 to the airport runs from the defunct North train station, via Qingnian Lu, Bai Ta Lu, Tuodong Lu and Chuncheng Lu; bus #52 departs from westerly Dongfeng Xi Lu near Cuihu Park. A taxi from the centre costs a reasonable ¥35 and takes up to forty minutes, depending on traffic. When opened after 2013, metro line 6 should reach the airport too.

Kunming train station is two-tiered, with the ticket windows downstairs (5am–11pm) and departures upstairs. Inside Yunnan, there are direct trains to Xiaguan (for Dali) and Lijiang (quicker than the same journey by bus); heading into the rest of China, trains run north to Chengdu via Xichang in southern Sichuan, southeast via Xingyi to Baise and Nanning in Guangxi, and east to Guizhou and beyond. For long-distance buses from Kunming.

Kunming is also the springboard for travel into Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Burma, all of which maintain consulates in town, for airline and consular information. For Thailand, there are flights to Bangkok from Kunming, and it’s also possible to catch ferries from Jinghong in Xishuangbanna. Many nationalities can stay visa-free in Thailand for 30 days if arriving at an airport, or 15 days arriving by land; if you need longer, head to Kunming’s consulate for a visa. You can fly to Vietnam and Laos and there’s also a daily direct bus (departs 7am; 30hr; ¥300) from Kunming’s South bus station to Luang Prabang in Laos; for Vietnam, head first to Hekou and cross the border on foot. Laos visas might again be avialable at the border depending on nationality; for Vietnam you’ll need to get one in advance. For Burma, arrange both visas and obligatory tour package in Kunming before either flying direct to Yangon with China Eastern or crossing the border on foot near Ruili.

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