Shilin Stone Forest in China, information and photo

Shilin

Shilin is located 126 km southeast of Kunming, in the national park of the same name in southern China’s Yunnan province.

Shilin Park in China is the location of a geological phenomenon, one of the natural wonders of the Middle Kingdom and a UNESCO World Heritage site Shilin forest.

Shilin, or “The Stone Forest,” is a 350 km2 nature reserve. The Shilin Stone Forest has the highest tourist category of 5A in China, which means that the local authorities give top priority to preserving the attractions of the reserve. The entire area available to visitors is divided into 7 zones, each with its own name and dedicated to its main geological site.

The reserve is rich in all kinds of natural attractions, but the main thing it is famous for is the stone forest, which is a formation of rocks ranging in height from 2-3 to 40 meters. The whimsical shape of high but thin rocks creates the illusion of petrified trees, buildings, animals and other objects.

Many Shilin cliffs have been given personal names because of their bizarre shapes. That’s why you can admire the natural compositions called “Camel on Elephant”, “Looking at the Moon”, or “Mother and Child Coming out of the Water” with the poetic characteristic of the Chinese.

Shilin Nature Reserve is a part of the South China Karst, the bottom of the ancient sea, which became shallow 200-300 million years ago as a result of tectonic processes. The exposed limestone cliffs have been subjected to wind erosion, which has given them such an unusual shape.

According to a local legend, the Stone Forest was created by Jinfennog, a warrior who wanted to block the river by the mountains and give his people water. Because of the coming morning, he lost his magical power, and the stones he had driven away were left lying where they had been caught by the dawn.

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Due to the colossal size of the park, it is hardly possible to see all of its attractions, so tourists coming to Shilin have to create a short list of the main objects located in the “inhabited” part of the reserve. First and foremost, these are:

  • Naigu Forest, separately listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The 90-meter Dadi Waterfall, surrounded by cliffs.
  • Lotus Peak, the park’s highest point, which has an observation deck.
  • Tsifeng Cave, famous for its periodic vortex of air that inexplicably appears and disappears after a few minutes.
  • Lijing Forest, consisting of the Big and Small Stone Forests. The most impressive attraction of Lijing is the rock “Towers supporting the sky”.

How to get to Shilin National Park

Shilin National Park is located in Yunnan Province in southern China. The easiest way to get to the park is from the provincial capital Kunming, which is 100 km from Shilin. The city bus #164 and tourist buses from Yunnan Kingworld International Hotel depart daily from here to the park. The fare is 5 CNY. If you own or rent a car, take the Z30 highway from Kunming.

The park can also be reached by rail. There are daily trains from Kunming Railway Station to Shilin, and the fare in both directions is 30 CNY.

A ticket to the park will cost CNY 80, but some attractions are only available for a fee, so you should expect to pay one and a half times that amount – CNY 120 for a visit. The ticket is valid for one day from the date of sale, so you can stretch a visit to the park for 2 light days by staying in one of the hotels near the park. You can travel around the park itself on a compact bus, making stops at the main attractions of the reserve.

Even in the inhabited part of the park you can get lost, so tourists are advised to visit the attractions of Shilin with a guide provided.

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Shilin – The Stone Forest in China

Shilin is the famous stone forest in China (in the original Shilin Stone Forest). It is over 400 km of 2 karst formations of bizarre shapes. The stone pillars look like ancient frozen tree trunks. Shilin Stone Forest has been known since the 14th century. Then it was called the “first wonder of the world”.

Shilin Stone Forest

Where is Shilin

The Shilin Stone Forest is located in Shilin Yi County in Yunnan Province in southern China. The nearest large city is Kunming 120 km to the west.

Shilin Stone Forest

It is surprising to see such a pile of rocks in the middle of lush greenery

What is the Shilin Stone Forest?

First of all it is a unique geological phenomenon. It is a vast area covered with incredible stone formations. Sometimes they reach a height of 40 meters.

Looking at this miracle of nature, it seems that the stone formations grow right out of the ground. Many of them look like animals, birds and even people.

Shilin Stone Forest in China

In particular, this formation looks very much like an elephant, of course.

Similar formations can be seen on the island of Madagascar. This is the Cinji De Bemaraha National Park or simply the Stone Forest of Madagascar.

But Shilin is not just rocks. In addition to the stone peaks there are caves and grottoes, woodlands and meadows, waterfalls and lakes. It is a whole complex of amazing attractions. Since 2007, two separate sites (the Naigu Stone Forest and the village of Suogei) have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage lists.

Interesting fact – Locals say that if you came to Kunming and haven’t seen the Shilin Stone Forest, you’ve wasted your time.

Shilin Park

Geological features of the Shilin Forest

Scientists believe that the Stone Forest began to form 270 million years ago. At that time, there was a shallow sea here. Later it shallowed as a result of tectonic processes.

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Natural geological processes and water erosion carved the amazing shapes we see today. Geologists claim that the Stone Forest is a classic example of karst formations.

Stone Trees in China

Attractions of the Shilin Stone Forest

It is accepted to distinguish 7 main zones of the Shilin forest.

  1. The large and small stone forests
  2. Naigu Stone Forest It is located 10 km north of the park’s main entrance. A bus leaves every 40 minutes.
  3. Zhiyun Cave This is already an underground stone forest. It is distributed underground among several caves and covers an area of almost 3 km 2
  4. Chang Lake It is called the Long Lake. It stretches for 3 km. But it is up to 300 meters wide.
  5. Lake Luna
  6. Dadieshui Waterfall It is the largest waterfall in Yunnan province, and the first waterfall of the Pearl River. It is 88 meters high and up to 30 meters wide

Shilin Legend

According to legend, there was a beautiful girl from the Yi tribe who lived here. Her name was Ashima. She fell in love with a handsome young man and was strictly forbidden to marry him. In despair, the beauty ran away into the forest and turned into a stone pillar. This stone pillar now bears her name.

According to another version, Ashima was wanted to marry someone she did not love. Then she decided to run away with her true fiancé. On the day of her escape, there was a great flood, and Ashima drowned, never betraying her true love.

Ashima Stone

The Ashima Stone

The Yi people have passed down these legends by word of mouth for thousands of years. Every year on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month, the Yi people celebrate their national torch festival. The festival includes folk dances and performances, wrestling and rock climbing competitions. The festival ends at night and the stone maze literally comes to life. Hundreds of people light torches and take a winding route through the stone forest. In doing so, they symbolize the fire-breathing dragon.

Shilin Stone Forest in Tourism

Today, Shilin Forest is a popular tourist destination in the region. It has all the necessary infrastructure for pleasant walks. There are information boards everywhere. The paths are fully equipped, there are benches.

China Stone Forest

As if someone strong and big threw a bunch of giant stones here

Useful hints for visiting

  • Try to arrive here early in the morning. There are not many tourists here at that time.
  • Choose the designated routes. Their total length is several kilometers. The main circular route will take about 1 hour of your time. Independent walks beyond the marked trails are not recommended. You are very likely to get lost in the labyrinth of rocky forest.
  • You are unlikely to have time to see all the sights of the Shilin forest in one day. That’s why you can rent a room in one of several local hotels and stay here for 2-3 days.
  • There is a charge to enter the park, but some sources suggest that you can bypass the payment points. We do not advise to do so. First, the park staff has known all the illegal ways for a long time. Second, there are many cameras in the park, so you can easily be tracked down. Why do you need unnecessary problems and proceedings, and moreover in a foreign country?

How to get there

The easiest way to get to the stone forest from Kunming is by bus in a couple of hours. They run daily all year round. Almost all routes pass by the main entrance to the park. Keep in mind, the No164 bus route stops 2 km from the park entrance.

There is a special bus route from Kunming Airport to the stone forest. Buses leave every hour.

You can also take the train. There are trains to Shilin from Kunming Central Station every day. The travel time is about an hour and a half.

Cost of visit

Adults: 130 yuan (1,250 rubles) Children 6 to 18 years old and people 60 to 70 years old: 65 yuan (620 rubles) Children under 6 years old and senior citizens over 70 years old free admission Note: The price includes the ticket to the Karst Museum Visiting the Nigu Stone Forest: 60 yuan Dance show: free admission.

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