Shilin (Stone Forest)
Among natural landscapes of Yunnan, Shilin, or literally "Stone Forest", is one of the most breathtaking attractions.
About 78 kilometers away from Kunming, Shilin covers an area of 400 square kilometers. It is home to a series of towering and steep intricate karsts that come in all shapes and sizes. It is also a geological park of typical karst formation, consisting of rock caves, arches and pavilions.
On June 27, 2007, the stone forest was named World Natural Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Those natural stones are in the shape of animals, plants, swords and even humans, with some elegant, some rugged, but each is lifelike with its own distinct characteristics. The tall rocks jut from the ground much like stalagmites or even like trees of stone, creating the illusion of a forest made of stone.
Each year around the 24th and 25th day of the sixth lunar month, the Yi people celebrate Torch Festival, which features traditional Yi folk dances and wrestling competitions.
A local saying goes that 'it is a waste of time without being in Shilin while visiting Kunming'.
Admission Fee: 140 yuan per person
Recommended Time for a Visit: Two hours
Opening Hours: 08:30 -18:00
Getting there: you can take a train to Stone Forest from Kunming or the long-distance bus in the bus station. There are daily tours leaving Kunming sometime between 7 and 8 am. The bus takes about 2 hours each way at a cost of 40 RMB.
Torch Festival Food: Tourists can taste the local foods such as the edible wild mushrooms and the Yi people's Tofu feast.
Shopping: Tourists can buy the handicrafts, minority clothes and the folk paintings at Stone Forest.