It’s a Lonely Planet Out There

Dragon Gate Backward

Originally uploaded by ryanocerosk.

Lonely Planet. LP. When it comes to traveling, I seem to put a lot of faith in the latest version of Lonely Planet, the ultimate travel guide. CET sent every student a copy and it is, at times, the best and worst thing to happen to travel. It’s great to get recommendations but sometimes people aren’t willing to try something off the beaten path (i.e. not in the book). Like try some street food for once…

I’ve been spending time trying to test LP on some of their recommendations. So far, they are dead-on with accommodations (minus one closure) and pretty accurate with eating selections. That said, the most slipups have been in the transportation column since China transport is all over the place. For instance, LP suggests taking the 5 Bus and connecting to the 6 bus in order to get to Dragon Gate Grotto in Kunming. Alas, 5 Bus does not connect with 6 bus. After some asking around, one should actually take the 54.K2 bus which connects all the way to the 6 but does not start in the same place as the 5. It’s hard writing for a year in advance, and I give LP lots of credit for getting so much right.

And that is part of the fun: trying to find and do what LP tells you to do. Sometimes it works out but sometimes it doesn’t but you always come pretty close… Either way, it’s almost a necessity to travel with a copy especially if you’re spending only a few days in one place.

Picture of the Day: the actual Dragon Gate.


4 thoughts on “It’s a Lonely Planet Out There”

  1. The steep climb and vibrant colors on the houses look similar to Bhutan. I guess this place is much closer to Tibet and Bhutan than Beijing.

  2. You guys are pretty fortunate a new LP came out this past summer. We were using a 4 year old version, which often supplied more suggestion less fact.

    If you’ve got some more time in Kunming, I can give a couple of suggestions. What makes Kunming particularly interesting is the different atmosphere among the people there that you don’t really see in the east. (A NYTimes article captures it well here:

    Places to see this? Salvador’s Coffee House and the Speakeasy, an underground (literally) bar/club. Salvador’s (just ask a cab to take you to 文化xiang (wenhua xiang if that doesn’t come out) or 文林街 (wenlin jie)–which is the main area near the universities filled with shops and foreign eateries. Granted, this may not be the didao experience some are after, I think it’s a part of Kunming everyone should get a taste of. Salvador’s has homemade icecream among many amazing and delicious things on the menu. Loved by expats and locals both, it’s a very interesting scene. The Speakeasy is down the street from where Wenlin Jie hits the road with the movie theatre at the corner. If you’re lucky you might see some of the local kids breakdancing to some expat DJ while expats and locals play pool. But now that the weekend’s over, my advice may come a bit too late. Another thing to look out for is the burgeoning music scene. Check for any updates of interesting events.

  3. I saw in one of your previous posts that you went to/are going to Lijiang. I can’t wait to hear a bit more about it — I have pictures of it on my wall but I know very little about the city! I saw the pictures in a travel magazine once, thought, “I want to go here,” and then ripped them out and posted them on my wall. Hope your travels are going well — they sound incredible so far! 🙂

  4. I was just looking through some of your photos and noticed one labeled “Sen Lin Lou de Lin.” It made me smile.

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