Kunming, capital city of Yunnan, is the beginning of the end of China for us, as we will spend the rest of our time in China in Yunnan province. Truth be told, we're only here to apply for a Thai visa!
It is quite a pretty city with tons of flowers and a slower pace than elsewhere in urban China. Yesterday, we hiked around the live bird and fish markets, and took it a bit easy.
The biggest draw of Yunnan province is its large ethnic minority populations, there are some 25 ethnic groups here in all, and much is made of them around the province. As the Han Chinese make up a phenomenal 95% of the entire Chinese population, all ethnic minorities together comprise the other 5%; of course in Yunnan they are a much higher percentage. The Chinese government has gone full circle from suppressing these cultures, their languages and religions decades ago, to today encouraging their preservation and, most particularly, in stressing their value as tourist attractions!
Today we had a day to waste in Kunming and went to see a large display by a lake south of the city of sample villages of many of these ethnic groups, quite a well-done affair given our general disdain for such attractions. Tomorrow, we're off to Dali, centre of the Bai population who number over 1 million, for our first taste of the real thing.