Stone Forest

One of the most famous sights in Yunnan and all of China is the Stone Forest (Shilin). Located about 85 kilometers from Kunming and covering an area of about 400 square kilometers it has the nickname "the first wonder of the world". The Stone Forest is a Karst formation that is dated back around 270 million years when the area was under sea water. As the land changed and the water subsided, erosion created the thousands of stone peaks of all shapes and sizes we see today. From a distance the formation can look like a forest of trees, which gives it its name.

A number of different sections make up the large area each with its own attractions. Greater Stone Forest has the most well known peaks resembling almost anything, from people and animals to flowers and birds. There is also Lesser and Outer Stone Forests. The Rock of Ashima in the Lesser Forest is the best known sight in Shinlin which resembles a girl from the local Sani people, who are members of the Yi ethnic group. They have their lively Torch Festival every June 24th which is a great opportunity to see the local culture with traditional performances.

Other areas include Subterranean Stone Forest, a 3 kilometers square cave system with the stone formations; Long Lake, a Karst lake formed between the rocks which has its own underwater features and Strange Wind Cave, where each Autumn gusts of wind blow out of the cave every thirty minutes.

There is a long list of attractions to see and do around the Stone Forest area which will no doubt keep you occupied for the day and maybe more.