Hello, and welcome once again to this week’s issue of “Bajan,” Chinese Style. Over the past months we have embarked on a journey which has seen us trek from the mountainous northern reaches of Yunnan, which border the “Roof of the World,” and through the lake and river strewn gorges and their satellite villages and townships alike. Tracing our progress ever southward, we now find ourselves on the cusp of entering Yunnan’s largest city, which also happens to be its provincial Capital, none other than the Eternal Spring City, Kunming.
Within China, Kunming is not only revered as one of the most ethnically diverse provincial capitals, if not the most diverse, but is also known to all expats living in China as a veritable “Hippie Hub.” However, as you may have deduced from the name of the City, it is Kunming’s climate which forms the basis of its popularity amongst locals and foreigners alike.
Due to its geographical location, Kunming experiences average annual temperatures ranging from highs of (28) twenty-eight degrees celsius to lows of (9) nine degrees. This produces a more or less, year round feeling of Spring, as the city is spared the dual intensity of blistering summers and biting winters.
When paired with the booming flower industry, for Kunming produces up to (40 %) forty percent of all flowers grown and exported across China, the city is filled with not only the visual beauty of said flowers, but also the olfactory treats associated with them.
Protected from the worse or rather said the majority of the pollutants which plague other large mainland cities, Kunming paints an immaculate image of a balanced existence between urban modernity and environmental conservation. Thus, with the combination of all these factors, namely the mild climate, flower lined streets, clear blue skies, daily drizzles, the Eternal Spring City, was born.
Now, if we take a quick look at the social aspect of the city, it is very easy to see why upon visiting Kunming, one is filled with an overwhelming feeling of calm and frankly, being at ease with the world. Kunming, is a literal melting pot of over 40 different Chinese ethnic groups, ranging from the reclusive Hani peoples, to Tibetans, to the Naxi, to the Han. This harmonious menagerie of different languages, cuisine, music, sometimes even garb, helps one, and especially foreign visitors to easily feel “apart of it all.”
This brings us to the expat colloquialism for the city, the “Hippie Hub.”
As a direct result of being able to feel so at ease in Kunming as opposed to traveling in other major cities, it gave rise to an interesting and enduring expat subculture, namely the new hipsters and experience seekers. All those who were completely enamored by the charm that is Kunming, and decided to become a part of it.
Anything from naturalist communes, to clean energy neo-villages, to “Spirit Tribe” all natural getaways, to chic cafes and hipster inspired hostels, all can be found in the quirky charm that is Kunming’s expat hipster culture.
Even from the first step into the city, it is easy to see why droves of people flock there yearly to rejuvenate the soul with new experiences and memories alike.
Join us next week as we begin our adventure around the city, taking in its sights and simply basking in the charm that is the Eternal Spring City, Kunming.
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