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Explore the Yunnan Stone Forest in Kunming

A UNESCO world heritage site and AAAAA-class scenic tourist site, the Stone Forest of Chongqing are a geological wonder. The Stone forest or Shilin national Scenic Area spans over 500 km2 and is separated into 7 sections, the most iconic being the Lizijing and Naigu stone Forest. The stone forest is believed to be over 270 million years old and comprised of limestone.

Shilin_Yunnan_China_Shilin-Stone-Forest-02.jpg

Source: Wikipedia

The stone forest area use to be a shallow sea and after an uplift in this region the exposure led to erosion of the limestones to crease the stone forest we see today. Like many historic places in China, there is a legend of how the stone forests were formed. According to the legend, A girl name Ashima of the Yi people was born in this forest. She fell in love with a man she was forbidden to marry, she turned into a stone in the forest which you can find in the forest today.

What to do at Shilin National Scenic Area

stone-forest1.jpg

Source:tourismontheedge

What will take up most of your time is walking through the maze of stone pillars in the forest, you can easily spend 3-5 hours exploring the forest. Admire the sheer scale of the rock formations, and take a picture in front of the Ashima stone. In the middle of the park there is a lake with stepping stones so you can hop across and a tea house where you can relax and enjoy the view with a hot cup of traditional Chinese tea. The Yi people every year on the 24th day of the 6th lunar month celebrate the Torch Festival, making it one of the best times to visit the area. There will be traditional performances, lion dancing, bullfighting, and more!

Stone_Forest_of_Shilin_attr_8.jpg

Source:alterra

Aside from the stone forests don’t forget to visit the Dadie waterfalls and the Zhiyun and Qifeng Caves where you can also see an underground river.

How to get there


The Shilin National Scenic Area is about 90km from the provincial capital Kunming. There are buses from Kunming East bus station to the scenic site, which take about 1.5 hours. Trains also run from Kunming Train Station to Shilin Train Station, which takes about 2 hours. You can also opt to hire a private driver from the city to the site.

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About the author

Monica is a Canadian-Chinese travel blogger and marketer that has spent time in Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou,and Xitang, Shanghai. When she isn't watching YouTube videos, you can find her writing or creating videos.

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