Kunming Travel Advice, Information and Directory

Health Care Accessing Money
Book Shops Visa Extensions
Internet Access Postal Services
Phone Services Supermarkets
Online Resources

Health, Doctors and Pharmacies in Kunming

There are plenty of pharmacies around Kunming and there shouldn’t be any trouble finding one (although communication at pharmacies can be difficult). There’s a large pharmacy in Kunming’s central pedestrian mall, on the south-east corner of the intersection between Zhengyi Lu and Nanping Jie.

If you need medical attention in Kunming, the place to find English-speaking doctors is at Richland International Hospital, which is a ‘Sino-foreign’ joint venture. However, it is quite expensive and some Kunming expats have reported negative experiences there. A cheaper alternative is the Yunnan First People’s Hospital.

Yunnan First People’s Hospital (云南省第一人民医院)
Address: 172 Jinbi Lu
Tel: (0871) 363 4031.
Open: 24 hours
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去云南省第一人民医院, 谢谢。地址:金碧路172号。

Richland International Hospital (瑞奇徳国际医院)
Address: Beijing Road Extension Line, next to Jiangdong Garden.
Tel: (0871) 574 1988.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去瑞奇徳国际医院, 谢谢。地址:北京路延长线江东花园旁。

Accessing Money in Kunming

ATMs that accept foreign cards are plentiful in Kunming and almost always have a choice between English or Chinese operating language. Occasionally you will encounter an ATM that doesn’t accept foreign cards, but you can always rely on Bank of China or ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) ATMs which are common enough. Just look for the logo of your particular card (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, etc) on the ATM.

There’s a 24-hour ATM at the ICBC next to the Xinhua Bookstore on Dongfeng Dong Lu (just around the corner from Zhengyi Lu). The Bank of China can always exchange money. The main branch is at #515 Beijing Lu.

Western Union Services are offered at many China Post outlets, including the one listed under Post Offices and Courier Services (below).

Book Shops in Kunming

Xinhua Bookstore, KunmingThere isn’t a lot in the way of English-language reading material on offer in Kunming. If you’re desperate for any books, you’re best off checking out the massive Xinhua Bookstore on the main pedestrian shopping street. There are also some bookstores in the university district.

Xinhua Bookstore (新华书店)
There is a small selection of English-language reading material in this gigantic bookstore in the center of Kunming.
Address: 308 Dongfeng Dong Lu (just off Zhengyi Lu). Tel: (0871) 282 5485. Open: 9am-9pm.

Visa Extensions in Kunming

The Public Security Bureau that handles visa extensions in Kunming is on the corner of Beijing Lu and Shangyi Jie. Shangyi Jie runs parallel to and in between Dongfeng Dong Lu and Jinbi Lu. Extensions take about 5 days.
Tel: (0871) 301 7878. Open: Mon-Fri 9:00-11:30, 13:00-17:00.

Internet Access in Kunming

All hotels and hostels in Kunming have some form of internet access. Almost all hotels of 3 star or higher classification have in-room internet access, which can be used if you’re traveling with a laptop. Many hotels provide this service for free while others charge anywhere from $5-$15 per day, depending on the hotel. Hotels will also have a business center with internet access as well as a printer.

There are a few internet cafes around central Kunming, however, most have no English signs to identify them. Internet cafe is ‘wangba’ in Chinese and luckily these characters are quite distinctive (网吧). Keep your eye out for those characters when seeking an internet cafe.

Post Offices and Courier Services in Kunming

The Chinese postal service is generally quite efficient. Postcards or letters sent from Kunming will usually take around 7 or 8 working China Post, Kunmingdays to reach North America, Europe or Australia. Parcels will take a bit longer. If you need things to be sent urgently then you can use an international courier service.

There are plenty of post offices around Kunming. There’s a convenient one at #12 Dongfeng Dong Lu (just east of the intersection with Beijing Lu; Open: 8am-8pm). China Post also offers an Express Mail Service which is a cheaper alternative to using international courier companies. In addition to postal services it is also possible to make Western Union transfers at this branch.

Of the big international courier companies only TNT currently has an office in Kunming. With a courier service, a letter will take about three or four days to reach North America, Europe or Australasia and cost around $50 to send. Packages will cost more, depending on their weight.

Address: 71 Huancheng Bei Lu
Tel: (0871) 516 7088
Website: www.tnt.com.cn/en/index.asp

Phone Calls To and From Kunming

The international phone code for China is “86” and the area code for Kunming is “0871”.

If you call to Kunming from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or “+”), then the code for China “86”, then the code for Kunming without the ‘0’ (871), and then the 7-digit city number.

If you call to Kunming from inside China, then dial the full Kunming code (0871), and then the 7-digit city number.

If you dial a Kunming number inside Kunming, just dial the 7-digit number, without any prefixes. Note that if you call a Kunming landline from a mobile phone while in Kunming, you should include the ‘0871’ prefix.

For international calls, IP (Internet Phone) international calling cards can be bought at many small shops, newsstands and hotels in Kunming. Just look for a sign saying “IP”. A card with ¥100 credit actually sells for about ¥35 (some vendors will try to charge you ¥40 or even more). Make sure it says “IDD” (international direct dialing) on the back and not “DDD”. Call rates vary depending on what country you’re calling, but a card with ¥100 credit will generally buy you about 30 minutes talking time when calling to the US, Europe or Australia.

If you plan to stay in Kunming for a longer period it is reasonably cheap to buy a SIM card with one of the local operators: China Mobile or China Unicom. The cheapest SIM card usually costs around ¥100-120 and generally includes ¥50 credit. You also pay more depending on how ‘lucky’ your phone number is. Average call charges are ¥0.6 per minute and ¥0.15 per SMS. Once you move outside the city where you bought the card you have to pay slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ charges.

There’s a China Mobile outlet in the center of Kunming on Renmin Zhong Lu, just west of the intersection with Zhengyi Lu.

If you already have a Chinese SIM card with one of these networks then it will also work in Kunming, though you will be charged slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ tariffs.

Supermarkets in Kunming

The massive Carrefour on Nanping Jie pedestrian mall (just east of the intersection with Zhengyi Lu) is the best place to stock up on food supplies with a good range of western products. There is also a Watsons health store in this complex.

Kunming Online Resources

Go Kunming: is a truly outstanding website devoted to helping foreigners live and travel in Kunming. Check it out for the latest Kunming news and plenty of nightlife and restaurants listings.

Kunming Tour: The official website of the Kunming Tourism Bureau actually has some decent information. Not a bad website as far as the tourist bureaus of Chinese cities go.

Kunming Government: The official Kunming Government website has news, information about investing, living and doing business in Kunming, and some limited information for tourists.