Published: October 30th 2007October 29th 2007
Kunming is supposed to be known to feel like Spring all four seasons of the year. That said, the weather is mild and great for growing flowers. I read an article about about Yunnan's flower industry, and Yunnan province produces one of the most flowers in Asia. The market in Dounan, near Kunming is Asia's largest flower exchange and exporter of flowers. I was curious about this and wanted to go see it for myself. I asked the taxi driver from the bus station, and he happened to be in the rose business for 10 years before becoming a driver. He said that locals now rent out their farmland to others local Kunming people don't grow flowers anymore. Anyway, he told me that I needed to go to Dounan at 1:00 AM in order to really witness the buying, trading, and selling of flowers. He said that it starts in the middle of the night so that by early morning, then the flowers can be sold to vendors. I was extremely curious about seeing the flower exchange take place - to see the farmers and trucks bring in and out different kind of flowers... the driver told me in the spring,
over 2,000 growers come.
I wasn't about to go to the flower place by myself at 1:00 am, so I asked around the hostel to see if anyone had heard of this place or wanted to go. I couldn't convince anyone to go with me, so I hired a taxi the next morning (at 6:00 am) and had the driver wait for me while I walked around. There aren't many taxis around that area, since it's not where many tourists go.
The warehouse is lowly lit, and everyone has these big flashlights to inspect the freshness of the flowers. The flowers are then shipped off in trucks, or hauled by bicycle!
It was basically a huge huge flea market of flowers. It was quite interesting and something I've never seen before - flowers in true bulk. You can buy 5 bunches of gerber daisies for Y7, carnations for Y0.30 ($0.04) each and roses for about Y1 each. There were a lot of orchid flowers there - I learned that they come from Thailand. Local Yunnan flowers were traded for Thai flowers.
Overall, fun experience - I would not go back unless I could actually buy something!
I went back to the hotel and took a nap before going to the airport (to Bangkok). I stayed at HNA Hotel in Kunming. A nice 4-star hotel - I had a dose of big room, big fluffy bed, HBO, big clean bathroom, fluffy towels, etc. :)
I'm off to Thailand so I can get my exit stamp from the Chinese immigration! I'm on my 59th day stay (I only have a 60-day visa).
There are more photos below