Kunming's flower and bird market

In the deep south of China the vibrant Yunnan capital of Kunming nestles beside Dian Lake in ‘eternal Spring’ – it’s said the mild climate keeps the city stuck in the season year-round. The flower and bird market seems to be anyway, with its lively profusion of cut stems and colourful sprays, high-cage songbirds and feathered exotica from across Asia. There are aquarium fish, ethnic handicrafts and standard market wares too, from leather handbags to DD batteries. You’ll wander through its bustling byways and cacophony of chirps, bips, chatter and sales pitches, and know winter torpor never quite settles here. However, if the busy spring vibe is too much, an oasis of calm exists at the town’s centre; Kunming’s central plaza exudes the cool intensity of collective tai chi practice every morning. Get up early to join in.

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