Exploring Kunming: Zhaozong Water Grotto

For my good friend’s birthday celebration, we took a trip to the Zhaozong Water Grotto (招宗水库), which is west of the city. I met up with them at the birthday girl’s house and then set off to the neighboring market to pick up some picnic snacks. The market was off of Dianmian Avenue in a small alley that led to Jiaoling Road. My friend picked up drinks and some grilled bread (粑粑), while I picked up some sweet bread, specifically peanut grilled bread (花生粑粑) and sesame grilled bread (芝麻粑粑). When you are in Kunming, I recommend buying some street “baba (粑粑).” It’s a local snack that’s very popular in Yunnan Province.

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The Bustling Market

Half of our friends biked to the grotto, while the birthday girl, a couple of friends, and I took a cab with the food. The location of the grotto is a bit isolated, so after some ambiguous directions (that my friend told me to say), we finally found the place. We walked behind a few buildings and walked up a flight of stone steps and saw the grotto. Our biking friends had already arrived! We walked around and set out stuff down. It was time to swim!

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Relaxing at the Grotto

I looked around and saw a lot of older Chinese men swimming across the grotto exercising. There were also a lot of naked people changing in or out of swimming suits. It was a very relaxed, natural environment. We jumped in and swam for a bit. I avoided the weeds that were growing along the lake bottom (supposedly a couple people drowned last year because they got caught in the weeds). We stayed at the Grotto for a couple hours before having to leave to go to a birthday dinner at Cacao Mexican Restaurant.

I definitely want to go back and swim again before going back to Lugu Lake! I highly recommend visiting the place. It’s a bit hard to find a taxi to go back to the city from there, so you can take a local bus that will take you closer to the center of Kunming (second ring road). You can get off and then find a taxi from there.

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