Stone Forest Geological Park is about 87km from Kunming City and requires 1.5 hours driving. It covers an area of 400 square kilometers and included both large and small forest as well as many other scenic spots. It has been know since the Ming Dynasty as the First Wonder of the World.
The magnificent, strange and steep landscape of the Stone Forest creates countless labyrinthine vistas, all of which feature stones in various formations. Animals, plants, and even human figures can be found here. Some are elegant, some are rugged, and each is lifelike with its own distinguishing characteristics. Geologists say that the Stone Forest is a typical example of karsts topography. All the most typical Karst stone forest landforms in every part of world can be seen here.Approximately 270 million years ago – during the carboniferous period of the Paleozoic era – the region was a vast expanse of sea. Over years of movements, the lithosphere gradually caused a retreat of the waters and the rise of the limestone landscapes. Due to constant erosions by the elements, thee area finally developed into the present-day Stone Forest. Seen from the distance, the large 20-50m high stone pillar cluster above ground seems to be a “forest”, that’s why people visually call it “Stone Forest”.
Stone forest is a scenic spot located at Shilin Yi ethnic autonomous county in Kunming, Yunnan province, also is the world natural heritage. It has the world’s most ancient evolution history of karst landform, the widest distribution area, complete types and unique form of Paleozoic karst landform community stone forest, is known as the “world wonders”. The stone forest is a large natural stone art treasure, which let everyone to see, to discover, to think freely.
The stone forest scenic spot is known as the “sword shape karst terrain” of karst landform (karst) as the main features. The scenic spots including northwest Bushao Mountain, the center of large and small stone forest, the south of ten thousand years of ganoderma lucidum and the east of plum orchard of five areas in all, covers an area of about 12 square kilometers. The ganoderma lucidum, plum orchard and Bushao Mountain are the new development of scenic spots. Deep, serene and remote, risk is the landscape features of the stone forest scenic spot. Enter the scenic area, you will see stone pillars, stone mountain rock in various styles.
The stone is different here, it is a wonderful picture, attracts visitors from all over places every day; It is a beautiful poem, there are countless writers and poets through the ages wrote for it. It is spiritual and living, stones here are all lifelike and breathtaking. In addition to the animals looking stones, there are many stones like plants, such as bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and so on. The stone forest is a large natural stone art treasure.
Folk Customs and Culture in StoneForest Area
Besides nature wonder, you have chance to experience the folk customs and culture in the Stone Forest Scenic Area, such as Mizhi festival, torch festival, and Ashimar.
• Torch Festival
Torch Festival usually falls on June 24th every year according to the Chinese lunar calendar. It’s a traditional festival for Yi ethnic people to celebrate the harvest. All people regardless of age and sex will dress holiday clothes, and get together at the wrestling pits to celebrate that day.
Ashimar is a national icon in Yi people and Sani people. Narrative poem “Ashimar” of Sani is beautiful and moving; Film “Ashimar” has been translated into more than 20 languages, spread throughout the world. Beautiful national culture, rich folk customs of the Stone Forest, won the reputations of the Home of Song and Dance, the hometown of wrestling, modern folk painting of the township.
Stone forest is famous for its pictographic rock of Ashima. The story behind that makes it more attractive. Ashima was kind-hearted and beautiful girl from Yi minority, she fell in love with A-hei who was a poor but brave country boy. One day, Ashima was kidnapped by a local tyrant who wanted to force her into a marriage with his stupid son. But A-hei the brave came to her rescue, after great difficulties, they managed to escape. However, A-hei was hurt and while they were crossing the river. The surging water flooded him away Ashima had faith in A-hei that he would come back to her one day. Ashima waited by the river bank for many years and thus she became a rock. Once people see the rock, it serves as a reminder for people to hold fast their love.
How to Get to Stone Forest
Tourists can go from train station, east bus station; and can go there in a group tour or charter a car to there.
• By bus
From east bus station, there is direct bus to the Stone Forest Scenic Spot, departs when there is no available seat. Generally, if you say buying ticket to the Stone Forest, the conductor will ask whether you go to the county or scenic spot. The last bus from scenic spot to Kunming is 18:00.
• By public bus
Starting from Shilin County, there is bus No.5 to the scenic spot.
• By train
There is train from Kunming railway station to Shilin departs of 7:35, 12:20, 14:50, 19:20, 20:15, the hard ticket vary from 8 RMB to 19 RMB. After arriving Shilin railway station, you can take public bus to the Stone Forest Scenic Spot. The train from Shilin to Kunming is 3:40, 8:23, 9:00, 13:05, 15:21.
• Chartered bus
Chartering bus to visit Shilin County including the Stone Forest Scenic Spot is considerable, a day will cost around 300 RMB.
1. Since there are many steps in the Stone forest scenic area, you’d better to wear climbing boot or jogging shoes.
2. If you want to employ a guide inside, please notice that whether the guide has certificate awarded by the scenic spot.
3. There are restaurants in the stone forest, but they are more suitable to group tourists, if you are individual traveler, we suggest you eat outside or pack some snack.
4. Stone forest is a large scenic area, to ensure you won’t get lost, you’d better finish your day tour before the dark,
5. If you will overnight in the stone forest, no need to buy tickets repeatedly, just show your room card register when you enter the scenic area.
As one of the most famous scenic areas in Kunming, Stone forest is the place you can’t miss when you travel to Kunming.