Situated on a high plateau, Kunming is exposed to strong ultraviolet radiation, so visitors are advised to bring along sun cream with a high SPF, or Sun Protection Factor. Note also that in Yunnan in general, regardless of the region, the daily daytime-nighttime swing in temperature is actually greater than the seasonal swing in temperature, so adequate outer clothing is a must for evening and night use, and this is even more important during the fall, when the daily temperature changes can swing the greatest.
Not unlike in any other mountainous region of the world, the mountainous area in and around Kunming, and indeed, throughout this mountainous province, often results in mobile-phone signal "blackouts", so if you have an important call to make, it is best to make it before you descend into a deep valley.
Compared with Kunming, the service in remote areas meets normal Chinese standards but the general service standard may be lower than other cities. Sometimes, tourists have limited choices. We suggest that you have a meal in the town before the visit or after wait until returning to town. Alternatively, bring a lunch box on the days outing. Our guide can assist in this.
Kunming is blessed with cultural diversity, thanks to its large and thriving population of ethnic minorities. Since each ethnic group may have certain unique customs and traditions, you are urged to show restraint in general when visiting ethnic villages, just as you are urged to be courteous and to observe any posted signs regarding what to do and not to do. In Chinese society in general, one takes pains to show respect to the elderly. If you let yourself be enticed by an ethnic merchant – and remember that this is how they make their living, please bear in mind that no human being, however quaint the culture may seem to you, enjoys being outright disappointed, so if you are not serious about making a purchase, please do not engage in protracted bargaining that takes you one step within making a purchase, then fails, as this can only create unnecessary disappointments.
For an outsider, it can be a daunting experience to ask for directions in Kunming, not because the people of Kunming are not friendly, but because there are so many dialects here that partial directions from three different people might send you in a circle! Even Chinese people from other regions get frustrated when asking directions in Kunming! A better approach is to either hire a tour guide from a trustworthy travel agency such as – who else but China Highlights?!) – or, if you know the names of your destinations (museums, restaurants, scenic sites, etc.), you can buy a map at a bookstore or at a travel agency and ask the salesperson to kindly pinpoint your destinations on the map.