Kunming is in the heart of Yunnan province, China’s most developed province when it comes to facilities for tourists. Often, Kunming is disregarded and treated as a starting point, as the place you have to pass in order to get to the real destination. As they say, it’s often about the journey, not the destination. Kunming has a lot to offer and spending a few days in the city will definitely enrich your experience, in China. Kunming’s nightlife is very colourful and experiencing it will surely contribute to a better understanding of Chinese culture.
1. Kundu Night Market
Kundu Night Market is the center of the nightlife in Kunming and it’s where all parties should start…or end? No matter your taste in music, you should be able to find a club or a bar here, that suits your preferences. The area is rather large and is full of Western and Chinese style options, including karaoke (KTV) and anything else that you might be looking for. Kundu also has many restaurants, so in case you are looking for a place to enjoy dinner, you can do that here, for sure. Although Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest times in Kundu, this is the place where you can really party, all the time, no matter the day of the week.
Kundu Night Market
Address: 179 Guofang Lu, Kunming
2. The Park Bar & Grill
The Park Bar & Grill is in the middle of Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park). It’s a nice place to enjoy good beer and good food, with friends. They also have a wide range of spirits and some cocktails on their menu. The wide outdoor area is perfect for warm evenings and afternoons. In case you’re in a competitive mood, there’s also a pool table - you can either challenge your friends or the bartender. During summer days, there are free outdoor movie nights organized and every month there’s usually a live, outdoor music party.
On quiet nights, they tend to close around 11 pm, but on the weekends, the night goes on longer. Due to the fact that it’s inside Cuihu Park, it’s best if you arrive before 10 pm - Cuihu will officially close at that time. However, if you do manage to explain to the security that you’re heading to the bar (some Chinese knowledge or good mime skills might be required), you might be able to make your way in, even if the park is closed.
The Park Bar & Grill
Address: Green Lake Park, Shicui Cultural Center, Kunming
Opening time: 9.30 am - late (get inside the park by 10 pm)
Contact: +86 153 6817 1162
3. O'Reilly's Irish Pub
There are actually three O'Reilly’s Irish Pubs in Kunming: one north, one west and one in the central area. The most popular one is the central location. It’s not very far from Green Lake Park, close to the north gate of Yunnan University. Many people go there mainly for the live music - usually on Thursday nights, although sometimes it’s twice a week. It’s a very lively place and they serve very good beer at a reasonable price. Both locals and expats hang out here, sharing stories and enjoying a night out. Interacting with new people is always the way to go. If inside gets too crowded and noisy, there are also tables outside.
O'Reilly's Irish Pub
Address: 119 Beimen Jie, Kunming
Contact: +86 871 6519 6198
Website: O'Reilly’s Irish Pub
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FuBar has a good collection of cheap local beer and affordable German beer. It’s one of the favourite places to hang out, for the expat community of Kunming. The tables are long, encouraging people to mingle. Come on a Thursday night, and chances are high that there will be live music. They often organize all sorts of events and thematic parties. You can also enjoy the evening by playing table football - there are even championships organized every now and then. The bartenders are very friendly and always in a good mood. FuBar is the place where the conversations range from personal stories to jokes, politics or history.
Address: 139 Jianshe Lu, Kunming
Opening time: 6 pm - late
Contact: +86 180 8710 5596
5. The Mask
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The Mask is a small dance hangout, in Kundu. They usually play good music, mostly for Western taste, so you will see a lot of expats around. However, there are also many locals who like this place. They usually start their party around 9 or 10 pm, but if you get here earlier, you can enjoy a beer at the bar. It can get very crowded at times and when that happens, people move the party outside in front, getting everyone around in a party mood. If you are in a dancing mood and want to arrive when the party is in full swing, you should plan to arrive around midnight, otherwise, people might still just be drinking and standing around.
Address: 14 Kundu Night Market, Kunming
Contact: +86 137 0888 1217
Facebook: The Mask
Chinese parties should not be missed in Kunming
Whether or not you’re a party animal, or you like dancing or drinking, experiencing Kunming nightlife is, for sure, an enjoyable experience. The mix between expats and locals give many opportunities to interact with people from many different backgrounds. It will also give you a better idea of how Chinese people like to party. You can also choose a 100 percent Chinese experience by going to a KTV place - in Kundu, there are many, many options to choose from.
So you can party hard or you can be the observer, but no matter how you choose to spend your night out, make sure to chat with the local people, around you. You won’t regret exchanging stories and people in Kunming are generally very friendly.
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