The flight to Kunming took less than an hour as we landed on New Year’s Eve. Right outside the terminal you have the option to either take a bus for 25 Yuan or a taxi. It only cost 90 Yuan to get into the city center so would recommend taking the cab for the convenience. Do have the name of your accommodation written down along with a map to ensure that you do not get lost.
We arrived at our hotel a half hour later. We booked the Sofitel, which is a bit south of the center. Although the hotel is quite nice and luxurious, the location is not that convenient and is a bit of a walk to the shopping districts. If you can, do make sure to get an upgrade to the Club room as they have a designated floor that provides free breakfast, afternoon tea, and even dinner.
Our first day in Kunming we went to Cang Hang Lake to take the cable car to the Western Hills. The view on the way up is spectacular and gives you panoramic view of the skyline. One of the main attractions of the area is the Dragon Gate, olden carvings. The whole area is a bit of a hike with alot of temples on the way. The place has a great view of the city but the carvings and temples are nothing impressive if you have seen plenty of temples before.
Our guide then took us to sample local food in the nearest Old town. A cafeteria style establishment, you have to load 100 Yuan into a card and then can proceed to order from the staff. Since the restaurant is frequented by locals, it is extremely cheap with most dishes at only 5 Yuan. Once you are done ordering, you give back the card to receive the balance that you did not spend.
The last stop of the day was Green Lake. Since it was a holiday, the area was busy with locals and we decided to just drive around instead of going down.