Finding Western Comforts in Kunming, China

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sometimes when you are traveling or living abroad you crave something familiar, especially when you are visiting somewhere with a culture so different from your own. In Kunming there are three main areas where you can find some familiar shops and foods. 

Nanping Street

At Nanping Street you will find several shopping malls with stores such as H&M, Uniqlo, Zara, and Starbucks. The No. 10 and 84 buses go there from Longchuan Road and 121 Street.

large shopping malls at Nanping Street in Kunming

Starbucks Yunnan Coffee

Yunnan University

Right around the corner from Yunnan University you will find Wenlin Street and Wenhua Alley (this translates to Culture Alley). On Wenhua Alley you will find Mandarin Books, which is the only bookstore offering a large selection of English, French, and German books in Kunming. Just around the corner from Mandarin Books is Paul's Shop, which has baked goods, imported foods, appliances, and coffee.

The highlight of Wenhua Alley, and of the Western options in all of Yunnan, is Salvador's Coffee House. Salvador's serves excellent food and has drip coffee available with free refills before 2 pm. In addition to their excellent food, the owners work to give back to the community by employing and empowering women from villages. They also have projects in southwestern Yunnan Province that aim to improve education, health care, and income in rural villages. Learn more about Salvador's outreach endeavor's at their website, Village Progress. Seriously, Salvador's is awesome.

The outside of Paul's Shop in Kunming
 The Mandarin Book Store in Kunming, China

The outside of Salvador's Cafe


Beichen, located in the north of Kunming, is a little oasis for foreigners. There is Metro, which is a large grocery store that sells numerous imported and local foods. In the Beichen walkway there are several cafe's that serve coffee and western-style food. My favorite place to visit in Beichen is O'Reilly's Irish Pub. They serve excellent burgers and Guinness beer and often have free live music.

Metro Grocery Store in Kunming

O'Reilly's Irish Pub outdoors in Kunming
 Prague Cafe in Kunming

The Silver Spoon Cafe in Kunming

*Please note that locations on the map may not be perfect.

I'm linking up with the #SundayTraveler!

What things or foods do you miss when traveling or living away from home?


  1. It's so heartwarming to get a little taste of home when you're abroad isn't it?! xx

    1. Yes it is so nice to find something familiar! Last weekend in Vilnius I found a Turkish market and I was able to find filo dough. Oh it was the perfect find for a Greek girl like me!

  2. I loved this post. It reminded me of some of the highs and lows I had as an expat.

    I used to go to the nearest Starbucks for a little bit of home too. I'd cling on to anything that gave me those homey feelings. There were so many days when I was sad and homesick, but just as many when I was having the time of my life.

    I can't imagine what it must be like to be in China. Such a vastly different culture from English countries!


    1. Thank you. There truly are many highs and lows as an expat. I'm not living in Kunming anymore; however, I had such an easier time than I am now that I'm living in Lithuania. In general, people are so much warmer in Asia than they are here, which I think made it easier.

  3. You changed your blog decor! Nice :) I always love to hang out at coffee shops near Uni. I feed off of the vibe --> Do I sound like a pedophile ?!

    Bookmarking this for my next China itinerary.

    1. Thanks! University areas usually have the best coffee shops! I usually visit them as well.

  4. Ohhhh how I have been craving things from home. So glad you have found this stuff and will help someone behind you find it a little easier!!

    1. Can you find anything from home in Croatia? I'm thinking of writing a similar post for Vilnius, Lithuania as well!

  5. yes, when you're travelling and are so busy running around exploring unfamiliar territory, sometimes a little home comfort is just what you need! i love this lovely little western corner in China :) x

    Miho @ Wander to Wonder

    1. It is a lovely section of China! It is nice to have a bit of something familiar

  6. Hello all,

    Im in Kunming for the second time and again im in search of friendly english speakers. Im not shy but i feel wierd asking random people on the street if they would like to get a coffee and chat sometime. Ive been to a couple of places mentioned but, Im not really looking for comforts just a friend to kill some time with. If anyone is willing you can reach me at Thanks for making this blog very helpful.

    Kunming is a great part of china.


    1. Hello, I'm glad that you are enjoying Kunming! You can meet people using the website GoKunming (the personals) or just by sitting at that big table in Salvador's. Usually people will be friendly and start talking to you as well. If you would like more information perhaps just send me an email at