Shilin Stone Forest’s captivating landscape ready to amaze visitors to China’s Yunnan

Shilin Stone Forest about 90 km from Kunming city, Yunnan province of China is a leading natural tourism site of the region attracting more than 30,000 visitors every day. 
It was my first time visiting the famous Shilin Stone Forest while attending a news reporting training course from June 5-17 in Kunming.
It takes about 2 hours by bus from Kunming to the Stone Forest which is considered a must-see when visiting the south-western Chinese city.
My friend, Mr Aet, who is a Lao student in Kunming, echoed these sentiments telling me that no trip to Kunming was complete without a visit to Shilin Stone Forest.

The striking topography of Shilin Stone Forest.

Yunnan province’s famous stone topography of Shilin, meaning “stone forest”, covers an area of 300 square kilometres featuring a huge eerie landscape of karst formations over 270 million years old, according to Chinese guide Mr Tui.
Our guide arranged bus tickets, about 25 Yuan (equal to 32,000 kip), and entrance tickets for the Stone Forest at 175 Yuan (225,000 kip).
Walking through the site you can only marvel at the natural stone masterpieces and be enchanted by the amazing rock formations. The area includes Greater Stone Forest, Lesser Stone Forest and Naigu Stone Forest, all of which feature stones in a variety of configurations. Some rocks resemble animals, plants, and even human figures; some are pleasing to the eye while others are jagged, and it doesn’t take much of an imagination to bring the rock formations to life in your mind.
One of Shilin’s most famous attractions is the Ashima Stone, which legend says was formed after the beautiful Sani girl, Ashima, ran into the forest and was turned to stone after being forbidden to marry the man she loved.
Shilin Stone Forest stages a culture show as well as local fruit and product fair. Visitors can also dress up in traditional clothing of the local Chinese ethnic group for 20 Yuan (26,000 kip) and pose for a photo with the beautiful Stone Forest as a backdrop.
How to get to the Stone Forest
From Kunming Airport: The Special Bus Line to Stone Forest leaves at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm and 6pm.
Buses to the airport leave at 8:20am, 9:50am, 11:10am, 12:20pm, 1:40pm, 3:10pm, 4:10pm and 5:50pm . It costs 45 Yuan for a one-way trip.
From Kunming South Railway Station: Take a bullet train to Shilin West first, which takes about 20 minutes, 29 Yuan for a first class seat, 18 Yuan for second class. After arrival, you can take Bus 99 to the scenic area directly. It takes about 50 minutes and costs 8-10 Yuan. Buses are available from 7:50am to 10:30pm at 30 minute intervals.
From Kunming East Coach Station (East 3rd Ring Road area): The regular bus is available from 8am to 6pm and costs 34 Yuan.

By Viengdavanh Banphahaksa
(Latest Update June 23, 2018)

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