Tuesday 10 May Kunming sightseeing & APT Welcome Reception

After breakfast, we ventured out with map in hand and went for a walk to the Yuantong Temple, which is at the foot of Yuantong Hill and only about 15 minutes walk from our hotel. With a history of more than 1,200 years, it is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Yunnan Province. The Yuantong Temple is different from most other temples that were built with an ascending entrance – visitors enter the Yuantong Temple from above. The temple’s great hall is at the lowest point of the temple complex. The temple’s layout, along with the Buddhist scriptures inside, follows the Yuan and Ming styles.

We walked down a path with gigantic cypress trees on either side, to the temple. There was a memorial archway about halfway and we could see the entire temple from there and got some great photos. Around the temple was a series of halls where there were people praying.
We were told that Yuantong Temple is a working temple that also represents the Buddhism of China today.
Along with the patronage of the local people of Kunming and Yunnan in general, Buddhists from around the world come here on pilgrimages to pay homage – we saw some photos of this on one of the walls. The temple complex was quite picturesque and had several temples, one of which was built in the middle of a small lake. The pathways skirted the lake and there were bridges to access the temple in the centre of the lake.

We enjoyed wandering through the temple complex and even had a lady sign-language that she wanted a photo with us and was all delighted when we agreed!

We continued our walk down to the Pan Long River, which flows through the centre of Kunming. The traffic is interesting here and we observed officials directing the traffic at a very busy intersection with cars, buses, electric scooters and pedestrians. We saw one lady actually stop and get off her scooter and walk it through the footpath and back on to the road further up before getting back on it and driving off. We also saw a man pushing his 4-wheeled cart through the same busy intersection.
It was lovely to be able to wander through the streets, looking at the various shops and watching the busy Kunming morning.

This afternoon we went for a walk in the opposite direction to the way we went this morning – we strolled along the street, looking at all the colourful shops and people coming and going. On our way back towards the hotel, we went into the Green Lake Park through a different gate and spent another lovely time once again watching the locals enjoy their community activities in the park.
When we arrived back at our hotel, there was a couple in the lounge area with APT badges on, so we went over to say hello and stayed chatting to them for ages, before heading up to our rooms to shower and met them again for dinner.

Tonight, at a Welcome Reception at our hotel, we met our APT Tour Director, Vivienne and our fellow travellers on our APT tour of China. We met up with Anna and her husband Chris – Sandy met Anna on the APT Facebook site and has been chatting to her via email for the past couple of weeks. It was lovely to get to meet up with them and the others who we will be spending the next 22 days with.

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