Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 1 Kuala Lumpur to Kunming

20 October 2014

Airasia left timely at 1:05 p.m. We landed at about 4:45 p.m., earlier than scheduled.

There were no mobile phone counters or money exchange counters within the arrival hall. I was a little worried as I brought with me CNY1,000 only, with the rest in USD.

After stepping out into the public area, I looked around for money exchange counters. Fortunately, there was one. I exchanged USD600 and I was confident that in addition to the CNY1,000 I was carrying, I should have sufficient money as budgeted.

As usual, there were touts offering transport to the city and elsewhere. I was not interested and went looking for Shuttle Bus no. 2. I read that this shuttle bus would go to Kunming Train Station but I have not been able to find information on where to purchase the ticket or where to catch the shuttle bus.

For readers' benefit, there are at least four pink "Airport Express Bus Shuttle Ticket" booths outside the building where the shuttle bus tickets are sold. However, the booth closest to the International Arrival was closed. I bought my shuttle bus ticket at the pink booth close to the Domestic Arrival, which is on the right of the International Arrival when exiting from Customs.

The shuttle buses were parked just behind the pink booths. I followed the guy who bought the ticket to Kunming Train Station just before me to the correct bus. Passengers could also ask the conductor standing beside the bus door to ensure that they get on the correct bus.

Shuttle Bus No. 2 goes to Kunming Train Station. Besides Shuttle Bus No. 2, there were shuttle buses to other destinations.
Click to enlarge

The bus conductor not only checked the tickets but also promoted Yunnan tourism. After giving her talk in Mandarin, she went from row to row asking passengers whether they have questions. I asked her some questions on which bus station in Lijiang to go to to catch the bus to Lugu Lake but she could not fully understand me, so I left it at that.

The bus departed at 5:30 p.m. The traffic jam was not that bad along the way and it arrived at Kunming International Airport City Terminal after 50 minutes. It lies beside the Kunming Train Station. From the terminal, passengers have to walk to the main road before entering the Kunming Train Station.

At Kunming Train station, tickets were sold from ticket machine near the main entrance. To the right of the building, tickets were sold at counters. The No. 1 counter which a blogger mentioned was opened to foreigners was shuttered and closed. This left me confused. The queue was very long at most of the counters.

Feeling lost, I approached a girl who looked like a student. When I asked her whether I could buy my train ticket to Lijiang at a shorter queue, she exclaimed, "No!" She tried to explain the reason but could not find the words to express herself. When I asked her what about Counter 4 where she was queuing, she said, "Yes". I queued up behind her but after a while, she ran off to her boyfriend at another queue.

When my turn came, I spoke in English to the counter officer. Surprisingly, she answered in English. I got my ticket and went to Level 2 waiting room.

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