The Stone Forest
As one of the National Scenic Resorts in China, the best of the world famous Stone Forests (Shilin) of Kunming is a 350-square-km topographical turmoil wrought by a jungle of 100 or so groups of monoliths in shapes ranging from overhanging cliffs to grotesque boulders. "Number One Bizarre Spectacle Uner Heaven, "as the Stone Forest is nicknamed.
Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created an art gallery of stone sculpture here. This typical karst physiognomy takes the form of a forest of stone pillars and boulders. It is as if the countless stone shapes have sprung from the ground, assuming different shapes as if vying to surpass each other in grandeur and sublime beauty. Some look like sheets or pillars, others resemble swords raised towards the sky while others, standing in pairs, suggest scenes of young lovers overjoyed in reunion or sad at parting or of a mother and child strolling side by side. The Stone Forest is composed of the greater stone Forest, the lesser Stone Forest, the Outer Stone Forest, and the Stone Forest Lake.
Stone Forest Lake: As soon as you enters the Stone Forest, a crystal-clear lake comes into focus. By the east lakeside, rise from the water a good array of fantastic stone pinnacles, pillars, shoots, and stalactites, resembling natural potted scenery. A few hundred steps beyond the lake, there is a pool with a huge boulder in the shape of a squatting lion. Hence, it has given the name of "Lion Pool". Move ahead, you will find a couple of tall lime stones block the way like a green screen.
Greater Stone Forest: Inside the sea of Stone Forest, one feels as if were in a bizarre fairyland. The stone formations standing still resemble a variety of things, such as ancient fortresses, birds, beasts, flowers, trees, human beings and anything you name it.
Lesser Stone Forest: It adjoins the Greater Stone Forest, and has large lawns, lush growth of bamboos and trees as well as mountain flowers in spring and autumn. Most fantastic are "The Cluster of Pinnacles Propping up the Sky" and "The Stone Singing Praises of Plums".
The Stone Forest is home to the Sani people, a branch of the industrious and brave Yi minority. As born singers and dancers, the Sani people are also skilled in embroidery. Their folklore and culture are colorful and multifarious, backed up by a long history. The natural spectacle is made all of them more alluring by the Sani people, whose peculiar habits and customs never fail to keep the visitors mesmerized. On the 24th of the sixth lunar month, the Stone Forest attracts large crowds of visitors from at home and abroad who come to join the Sani people in celebrating the Torch Festival.
Opening Hours: 8:00 -- 17:00
Ticket Price: 80 CNY
Location: Lunan County, Kunming City (100 km away from the city center)
Transportation: Shuttle bus from Kunming Railway Station (2 hours), special tour train (1.5 hours) and tour bus will bring you here.