Shilin and Dali, Yunnan


This summer, we arrived in Kunming after a 40-hour train trip from Xiamen. Amazing how time flies on these trips. The kids were great for the duration. Trains are such a wonderful way for kids to travel – they can run around and play with other kids, climb up and down the bunk beds, visit the toilets whenever they need to… and in soft sleeper class, the toilets are cleaned regularly! There’s really no better way to travel.

In Kunming we visited the “Flower and Bird Market” which we reckoned should be renamed the “Flower, Bird, Bird-eating Spider, Scorpion, Python, Baby Alligator, and Several-Other-Animals-We-Could-Not-Identify-But-Which-We-are-Certain-Appear-on-Numerous-Endangered-Species Lists”. Pretty much any type of pet you could imagine (other than the standard puppies and kittens which had probably already been snapped up by the restaurants) was for sale. The girls were fascinated.
We also went to Shilin, which means literally the Stone Forest. Amazing place. Also amazingly packed with tourists. But still worthwhile, just for the awesome rock formations.

Next stop after Kunming was Dali, a very pretty old city on the shore of Erhai Lake. We spent a few days wondering the streets and climbing the old city walls. A cable car took us to the peak of Cang Shan, where the girls were lucky enough to get to hug some baby monkeys (for a small fee, of course). Their ‘owner’ had even fashioned the little monkeys some tiny nappies made out of tissues and shoelaces so they couldn’t pee on anyone!