It is worth a visit. A whole forest of rocks (and Chinese).
Not so long ago in the old European cities of any interest were especially noticeable Japanese tourists, but now they are hopelessly lost in the sea of their counterparts from China. This is the most obvious sign that life in China has become better, that life has become more fun. As the population’s wealth increases within the country, it begins to spill out beyond its borders, because every new member of the middle class wants to see the world and take a picture of himself against its backdrop. And now the streets of Europe and the Americas, the glaciers of Patagonia and the banks of the Rhine are streaming with groups, groups and crowds of tourists from brotherly China. What to say about domestic tourism, the good news is that China itself has something to see. Onliner went to one of the most famous natural attractions of the country to look at its inhabitants in their natural habitat. The text is prepared jointly with Belgazprombank.
Our destination is called Shilin in Chinese. It’s much easier to remember the Russian translation of the word “Stone Forest. As is customary in high Asian cultures, it is a beautiful metaphor. It does not refer to petrified trees, but only to rock outcrops that once reminded their discoverers of a forest of stones. The definition has taken hold, although to all people these non-human-made objects resemble completely different entities, and not all of them resemble a tree.
In principle, there is nothing so supernatural about such formations. They were all formed in a similar way. In the beginning was water. Yes, Shilin is deep in the middle of the continent now, but 270 million years ago, there was a shallow sea that swam in a broth of all kinds of sea creatures, many with shells. When animals died, they fell to the bottom, and their shells gradually piled up, forming thick layers of limestone. Then different tectonic processes came into play: sometimes the seabed rose and the limestone came to the surface. Then came erosion. Sometimes with the help of the wind and the flowing water, nature managed to make such picturesque rocks. Such formations can be found all over the world (for example, the well-known “Lena Pillars” on the Lena River in Russian Yakutia), but two factors influenced the popularity of Shilin. Firstly, there is an increased concentration of such remnants. Second, China with its population of almost 1.5 billion people has formed around them.
How to get there
Firstly you have to find yourself in any convenient way in the city of Kunming, a medium-sized provincial center (only 6.5 million people!) in the southwestern depths of China. There you can see the metropolis itself with its rather good climate for the country (“the city of eternal spring”) or, for example, visit the largest flower market in Asia. When these important matters are over, Shilin is the natural destination for any respectable tourist.
“Stone Forest” is located about 120 kilometers southeast of Kunming. It’s about 1.5 hours by bus (the range departs from the city’s East Bus Station), two hours by regular passenger train, or just over 20 minutes by high-speed train. The tourist bus looks like the right choice, because it comes directly to the cashier’s terminal of the park, from the train will still have to drive up all the same bus.
What’s the catch
After seeing pictures of Shilin and firmly decided to repeat them for your own pleasure and social networks, you need to realize the following. In China’s sightseeing system, the Stone Forest is categorized as “AAAA”. The five letters “A” are only assigned by the State Tourism Administration to especially valuable sites (natural or human-built) that in addition have the appropriate infrastructure to accommodate and serve tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of people per week. In 2018, there were only 248 such sites in the entire vast PRC. In addition, Shilin is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is already a top world heritage site, and China has only 55 such sites. In other words, the Stone Forest is on a par with Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. Therefore, be sure that during the high season, the population of the average Belarusian city will want to see the limestone rocks of Kunming at the same time as you.
Understanding this interest, the Chinese have created an appropriate infrastructure around the “Stone Forest”. Everything is adapted to serve the widest possible masses of the people and relatively fair withdrawal of labor yuan from them. A cash terminal (for a dozen cash registers) will sell you a daily ticket to visit the park (about $25), after which any visitor will be faced with the task of using it. The parking lot and ticket office is providently built 3 kilometers away from the direct entrance to the long-awaited Shilin. Theoretically nothing prevents to overcome this distance with your own feet, in practice, almost all tourists use special electric buses. Naturally, this is done intentionally so that another 25 yuan (about $3.5) will change the host. Next to the “guest area” a whole town of hotels, restaurants and souvenir stores is ready to help you part with any amount of money. The number of visitors coming here is such that such places will have their own clients almost always.
Then what is the point of
Behind the guarded perimeter of the “Stone Forest” you will find comfortable footpaths, equipped toilets of Chinese scale, occasional water and snack outlets, the prices of which would be an honor for another bourgeois country of Northern Europe, guides and folk groups in colorful national clothes of one of the local ethnic groups, a couple of lakes, sometimes picturesquely covered with lotuses. There are also the same cliff islands, for which all come here and go. It is really beautiful, sometimes alien and asks for a location in the new fiction of Christopher Nolan, but to enjoy it alone will be difficult. Sometimes in the corners close to the entrance, and at all impossible: some paths or stairs are almost a hundred percent chance to get into a traffic jam of people, as at rush hour in the subway. But once you get farther from the entrance, into the center and far reaches of the park, there is more and more intimacy with nature. For the sake of it, it is probably worth a visit. Although familiarity with the structure of Chinese domestic tourism and some shock of its scale can deliver no less bright, though more ambiguous impressions.
“Belgazprombank has issued a UnionPay card for payments in China and other Asian countries. UnionPay will help avoid the inconvenience that Belarusians in China face when paying for purchases with other payment systems. In addition, the card gives the holder some privileges: for example, discounts of up to 20% in a number of famous Chinese restaurants or up to 60% in stores of Shanghai Village and Suzhou Village.
The special project has been prepared with the support of Belgazprombank JSC. Banking license № 8 issued by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus on 24.05.2013, UNP 100429079.
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Shilin is a stone forest in China. Description, photos, coordinates
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Stone Forest in China, Shilin Shi Lin, how to get there
In short – it’s worth it. Shi Lin (Shilin) or Stone Forest in Chinese 石林 is one of the many places in China that you should definitely go to. So, stone forest in China, how to get there? There are different ways to get there. Here’s how we got from Kunming airport.
1. How to get to Stone Forest from Kunming Airport
So we arrived to Kunming (it’s better to arrive early in the morning, the first bus leaves at 9:20), then to the right of the airport exit (exit 4) you should find a ticket office for a shuttle bus. Fare between Shi Lin Airport and Shi Lin, 45 yuan plus 3 yuan insurance (you don’t need to buy it), travel time – 1 hour or more.
Photo: bus ticket booths
2. Ticket prices and transportation to Shilin Stone Forest Park
The entrance fee for adults is 175 yuan, half the amount for children from 120 cm tall, under 120 cm is free. If you buy tickets online, the savings are not particularly great. You can only pay in cash or through the online application Mei Tuan.
Domestic transport – the price is 25 yuan per adult, children on the same principle, up to 120cm tall are free. Transportation can be used three times: ride to the park itself, back and once along the route . To save time, I advise you to use.
3. In the park.
The park itself is 350 square kilometers, if time does not allow, it is better to decide on the route and choose the best places.
You can read about the history of the park and how the rocks were formed on the Internet, as well as the poster at the entrance to the park. But we were interested not in the history, but in the present, so we went straight to the park.
It is impossible to get lost. Just in case, use your navigator. In the program Baidu maps names are written in Chinese, as well as directional signs, so it is very easy to navigate.
The park is divided into specific areas or districts. My advice is not to join a group, but to choose your own route. In a day you can get around the main significant places, which is what we did.
Choose trails, it makes no sense to walk along the road. The feeling is that you really walk through the stone forest.
4. Advice .
Be sure to take water and a snack with you. There are not many places inside the park where you can buy something and even if there are, it is expensive. And clothes according to the weather.
If you’re interested, read how we got to the city of mopeds Fulin . But we do not sit Unforgettable hike along the trail “Gorge of the Leaping Tiger.
5. Shi Lin photo report.
Photo: it’s so beautiful after entering the park.
Photo: through the narrow passages
Photo: The Stone Forest. When you walk around, you feel like you are in a forest.
Photo: tourists don’t usually walk here, we chose the path ourselves
Photo: this is where we went, the ridge of stone pillars
Photo: The forest looks good when the weather is sunny, but we were not spoiled by the rain
Photo: There is nothing to comment on. It’s just beautiful. In general, the photo does not convey the picture, you have to see it in person.