A delayed domestic flight in China is nothing new. I think it’s reached the point that a delayed flight is the rule and not the exception. I had planned the first day itinerary with this in mind. After our delayed flight from Shanghai (PVG) to Kunming (KMG) finally landed at 4:00 A.M. the plans for the day were pushed back.
I book hotels solely through Booking.com (this is a referral link and by using this link we BOTH get 150 CNY – or the equivalent in your currency). The original plan was to stay in a guesthouse type of hotel near the airport, sleep until about 11:00 A.M., and then pick up the rental car at the airport.
When I booked the room on Booking,com, I was satisfied with the photos and user reviews. We just need a place to place our bags, shower, and sleep. The guesthouse sent a staff member to the airport to pick us up at our original arrival time. The flight ended up being three hours late and the guy waited at the airport the entire time because the smaller airports in China apparently don’t announce flight delays and just list them as “on time”.
We get to the guesthouse around 5:00 AM. The owner is the nicest guy I’ve met in China and that’s not an exaggeration. We pay for three nights and open the door to the room. It’s freezing cold inside and most hotels, guesthouses, and inns do not have a heater or air conditioner because the weather is generally pleasant year-round in Kunming.
We were told Kunming is having an unusually cold winter and they purchased electric blankets for all of the beds. The beds were nice and toasty upon arrival. At this point it’s been hours since any of us used the restroom which sounded nice before getting some sleep. I turned on the bathroom light and I was instantly transported back in time to the Chinese New Year festival of 2006 when I spent a week in a tiny village.
The problem was the toilet. It’s a squatter. I made a vow that I would never use another one after that dreadful week in 2006 of doing restroom acrobatics in the middle of winter. I fired up the Booking APP and booked another room in the city center and we could check-in at noon after we picked up our rental car.
We felt horrible for telling the guy about the freezing cold room and we couldn’t stay there. We left out the squatter toilet issue. We weren’t even considering a refund or any money back. We were ready to count our loss and move on. Upon checkout the owner apologized to us! And gave us a refund for the next two days we booked.
He then took us back to the airport so we could get our rental car. He dropped us off and apologized some more. We said our xie xie’s and he was gone. A few minutes later the car rental associate pick us up curbside. Someone was asked for their ID and then asked me what happened to one of the backpacks.
After a few moments of confusion, we discovered the bag was left in the car of the owner of the hotel. The same guy we indirectly told that his hotel wasn’t good enough fo us. The guy who is the nicest man I’ve ever met in China. Yep. We felt like fools.
After we tracked down the bag and then went back to the car rental store and made our way to the second hotel, it was already too late for the hour and a half drive to Stone Forest. We struck that destination from the to-do list and wandered around like zombies for a couple of hours in Kunming.
We found some good eats and I was able to take a few photos from a day that could have gone better.
Day 2 of 10 in the Yunnan itinerary takes us to Dongchuan Red Land (东川红土地) a two to three hour drive from downtown Kunming. Based on my research, Dongchuan Red Land is a spectacular place to take beautiful landscape photos and I am definitely looking forward to the views.