See for yourself why this ancient Chinese stone forest known as Shilin draws tourists from around the world.
There is an ancient forest in southern China where thousands of limestone rock formations press upward from the earth. Trees dot the stone landscape, adding bursts of greenery to an otherwise grey scene. Located about 50 miles from Kunming, the provincial capital of the Yunnan Province, China’s Stone Forest remains one of the country’s most visited locations–and it’s not hard to see why.
The Stone Forest (aka Shilin) took about 270 million years of erosion and seismic activity to create and spans a space of about 100,000 acres. Caves, waterfalls and other topographical features makes the region extremely diverse, but karst makes it spectacular.
Karst is a type of landscape that’s formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks like limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. The Chinese Stone Forest is home to numerous karst features that only exist in this region of the world. In fact, the forest has been internationally acclaimed as the “Museum of Stone Forest karst” due to its diverse and plentiful karst types.
Main Attractions in Stone Forest
Major Stone Forest, Minor Stone Forest and Naigu Stone Forest, 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.
Major Stone Forest
The whole area is made of dense stone peaks. The stone peaks here have smooth lines and stand upright and abrupt, and the color of them is a kind of steel-gray. The highest rock pillar can reach over 40 meters. Walking among the stone forest, you will encounter rock peaks every few steps and turn to another direction – welcome to the new scenery. So if without tour guide, you must have a tour map when you visit Major Stone Forest to avoid missing in it.
Minor Stone Forest
The Minor Stone Forest is also call Ashima Scenic Area. The big and thick stone walls like a screen deliver this scenic area into several parts. Of all, the most famous scenic spot is ‘Ashima’. When the night comes, it is colorful and charming under the glittering lights.
The Chinese Stone Forest also retains important cultural significance. Its rock of Ashima is meant to be a symbol of hope for the freedom to marry. According to legend, Ashima was a beautiful woman who was forced to marry a man she did not love. After her groom-to-be kidnapped her, Ahei came to her rescue, but as they fled from the groom-to-be, a flood rose up and drowned Ashima. This stone (above to the right) marks her life.
On our way back, dad bought a cute ornament. He used to seldom get any interested in souvenirs at scenic spots, though. He took this one for the reason that the tinkle of bells sounded very much like camel bells in the desert, making people think about riding on the wandering camel and strolling on the yellow sand with the sound of camel ring.
Supper – Crossing-the-bridge noodles
Guoqiao mixian is considered a Yunnan specialty—and it still comes in separate bowls, allowing you to pick your ingredients and add the hot soup yourself. In Yunnan, this dish is so popular that there are restaurant chains that specialize exclusively in varieties of guoqiao mixian. It can be found anywhere from street-side noodle shops to high-end banquet-style restaurants.