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Stone Forest World Geopark

 
 
 
Located in Yi Autonomous County, 78 km away from Kunming City, Stone Forest, a bewildering wonderland composed of grand-scaled and diversified stalagmites, stalactites, peaks,waterfalls, lakes, caves and hills, is an UNESCO World Heritage site and the draw card of Yunnan.
 
 
This intriguing place is inhabited by the versatile, romantic and enthusiastic Sani people, part of the Yi Minority and the descendants of the beautiful girl: Ashima.

Ancient and mysterious, this huge collection of razor-sharp vertical rocks forms a maze which lures people from every corner of the world. The colossal Karst landscape in Yunan is China’s largest stone forest, where imposing and eroded limestones tower over the greenery, and complemented by beautiful legends. It is also the only Karst landform sits in the subtropical plateau area in the world, which is honored as "the museum of stone forest" and "the most breathtaking scenery on earth". Characterized by the massive and highly concentrated Karst rocks with delicate and various shapes, grotesque patterns, sophisticated forming process and ancient history, Stone Forest is the representative and unique member among the big Karst landform family in the world.

Combined with unique customs and mysterious culture of Yi Ethnic Group, it ranks as Top Four travel Destinations in China, just like Forbidden City in Beijing, Terra-cotta Warriors in Xi'an and Guilin in Guangxi. It also ranks as one of the Top Eight Nature Wonders on earth. In some area, the geological landform formed by the overlapping of limestone and basalt, is rare seen on earth in particular.
 
Stone Forest ranks top among the Karst kingdom regarding the diversity of Karst landform, the complexity of geological evolution process, the aesthetic beauty of the texture of rocks and the perfect blending of local culture and customs. It is as famous as Madagascar Stone Forest)


Standing in front of this natural wonder formed 279 millions of years ago, most people will be overwhelmed and left speechless with wide open mouth. Scientists put that it was ocean 279 hundred million years ago. Under the joint influence of geological movement and erosion, the ocean was transformed into the Stone Forest. While local people tends to say Stone Forest was driven by a giant Buddha to this place, and the scenery here is so luring that they halted their steps and settled down, presenting the scene we see today. It was ratified as a world geopark as early as in 2004, and in 2007 the Naigu Stone Forest (乃古石林) and Suogeyi Village (所各邑村) of Stone Forest became UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Main Scenic Areas

Stone Forest World Geopark has more than eight scenic districts, among which four greet tourists with open arms. The most famous scenic district: Shilin National Scenic Area (昆明市石林风景区) covers an area of 350 square kilometres (140 sq mi) and is divided into seven scenic areas: Greater & Lesser Stone Forests (大、小石林) - also known as the Lizijing Stone Forest (李子菁石林), Naigu Stone Forest (乃古石林), Zhiyun Cave (芝云洞), Lake Chang (长湖 literally Long Lake), Lake Yue (月湖 literally Moon Lake), Dadie Waterfall (大叠水) and Qifeng Cave (奇峰洞).
 
Greater & Lesser Stone Forests (大、小石林): Greater Stone Forest is the heart area of this geopark, you will be attracted by the unique landform here instantly. Lianhua Peak, Jianfeng Peak ,Jianchi Pool and Xiangfeng Pavilion are must-see in this area.
 
 
 
  

 "Critical Moment" Rock 

 Wangfeng Pavilion: the best site to see Stone Forest

  

 Elephant Rock

 Lesser Stone Forest

  

 Greater Stone Forest

 Ashima



Stone Forest Wonder Site(“石林胜景”) is the representative scenic site of Stone Forest, behind it is lies the "Critical Moment" ("千钧一发") formed by two towering rocks capped with one giant stone. People tend to hasten their steps when pass this dangerous gate. After that, you will reach a cliff cave named as "qie zhu wei jia, 且住为佳" which contains stone tables, desks, and railings. After taking a rest there, you can reach Linahua Peak(lotus peak) by the path on the right side. Lianhua Peak sits near Jianfeng Pool, 30 m above the ground. Ascending Lianhua Peak, you can see the dense razor-shaped peak clusters. Jinachi Pool is the lowest place in Stone Forest, which is surrounded by peaks. It meanders along the rock crackles, and the blue sky casts reflections on it. Going forward, you will reach Wangfeng Pavilion(望峰亭), the best site to overlook Stone Forest.
 

Lesser Stone Forest represents a totally different scene: stone peaks scatter mainly on green grassland, among them Ashima, Mother-Child Stone, Guanying Stone, are most famous ones.

Naigu Stone Forest(乃古石林): Located 1km from Greater Stone Forest, Naigu Stone Forest differs itself from others by its black color. Walking into it, you will see the vast black grotesque rocks resembling surging waves of ocean, a rare splendor beyond people's imagination. Under moonlight, these rock will adopt the appearance of a formidable army in an ancient battlefield and you will experience their indescribable mysterious to the fullest extent. Under this kingdom of black stones, you can see the most magical Karst caves also. Complemented by lakes and waterfalls, this scenic area makes the tourists hesitate to leave.
 
 
 
 


Dadie Waterfall(大叠水瀑布): Nestling among the surrounding with lush forest and deep valley, Dadie Waterfall with relative height of 88 m and the maximize outflow of 150 cubic meter/ second is the biggest waterfall in Zhujiang River area. It is 20 km away from Lunan County. There is road leading to Dieshui reservoir, 2 to 3 km away is the Dadie Waterfall, you can reach there on foot. The size of this waterfall varies with seasons.

Long Lake(长湖): Located in Weize Village, 15 km from Lunan County, Long Lake measures 3 km long and 300 m wide. Amid the lake erects the Penglai Island (Penglai is a fairyland in myth) whose bottom is the kingdom of stone columns and stalagmites. Scenery here changes constantly. In rainy days, it looks like a shy Sani girl with veil, in sunny days, it will bathed in the shimmer blue light, and in night lovers will play the guitar and singing here. The most beautiful moment of this lake is in Torch Festival' night: numerous torches will light up the sky and makes the lake with burning red tint.
 
 

Long Lake: a Gift from Nature



Zhiyun Cave(芝云洞): It is the first underground Karst cave discovered in this geopark, and is the most populous one. Located 5 km northwest of Stone Forest, this cave shelters four little caves inside, covering an area of 2.55 km2. Stepping into this cave, you will see the most marvelous scenery composed of stalagmites and stalactites. There is an interesting phenomenon here: when you knock gently on them, they can produce different voices. On both side of the hall of Zhiyun Cave, bigger caves shelter littler caves and represent a splendid scene.
 


Qifeng Cave(奇风洞): Situated 5 km northeast of Lizijin Stone Forest, Qifeng Cave is composed of one wind cave, one spring and one underground river. What makes this cave special is that during August to November, a gale will arise from this cave and sweep over the ground, producing dust and accompanied by the sound of a murmuring brook. It will stop each 2 to 3 minutes before repeating again. During rainy season, the gale will occur each 15minutes to 30 minutes while during dry season, it will occur per hour.
 
 
 
 

Zhiyun Cave

Qifeng Cave(Strange Wind Cave)

 Caves in Stone Forest

 Caves in Stone Forest



A Glimpse of the Sani People: the Descendants of Ashima

The stunning beauty of the Stone Forest is accentuated by the local customs of the native Sani people of the Yi minority. They have created the most splendid songs, dances, myths, legendaries and Ashima, a world renowned love story. Warm-hearted and hard-working, the Sani people is said to be the happiest people on earth. Spinning, weaving, embroidering, singing and dancing are strong points of every Sani girl, who usually wears rainbow-colored headgear and bright-colored dress. Saini boys are born as good musicians also. Every night, Sani people will gather together. The boys will play the three-stringed plucked instruments and the girls will dance the famous "A’Xi (Ah-shi) Dance in the Moon". The most notable festival: the Torch Festival often occurs on each June 24th according to lunar calendar. Festivities including wrestling and bull-fighting will be held. The Saini people's language, colorful attires, dances, songs, wrestling, wedding and funeral customs all trigger the interests of outsiders. Their long narrative poetry: Ashima has been translated into over 20 languages to circulate around the world. The movie Ashima has been applauded since it was produced.
 
 

 

Rock Paintings

the Movie Ashima

the Coral Fossil Specimen

Rock Paintings in Lizijing Stone Forest

 
 
 
Here goes one of the vedio links of Ashima: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/ZNKAZIukj-k/

Stone Forest boats rich relics of Paleolithic Era and Neolithic Era (800,000 years ago). It is home to large quantities of ancient vertebrate fossils and has become a protection zone of them. Lizijing Stone Forest shelters rock paintings and stone carvings mirroring the ancient ritual ceremony of Sani people and their dancing, hunting and war scenes. Long Lake, Greater & Lesser Stone Forests still preserve the war relics of Qing dyansty.  
 
Travel Tips

The 400 km2 Stone Forest with altitude from 1500m to 1900m belongs to Sub-tropical low-latitude mountain plateau monsoon climate with the annual temperature of 16 degree. There is no freezing cold winter and muggy summer here, thus you can tour it any time.

May to October here is rainy season while November to April is dry season. The hottest month here is July with average temperature of 20.8℃ while the coldest month is January with the average temperature of 8.2℃.

Visit Stone Forest, please hang out with friends, it is more fun and safe;
Make out a reasonable route to save your energy and time;
The food here is delicious, and please do not overeat;
Jump in the queue when get on bus or boat is not advised;
Stone Forest is World Heritage Site, so please do not damage those rocks.
 
Handicrafts of Sani People, Yi Minority:
 

Headgear of Sani Girl

Hand-made Bag

Handicrafts Shop

Costume of Sani Children



How to reach here:

You can visit Stone Forest by bus or train. Each 30 minutes a bus will head for Shiling, you can take those buses in East Station, South station, West Station and North Station in Kunming. The ticket price ranges from 10 RMB TO 15 RMB. You can also reach Shiling by train. For more information, you are welcomed to consult our travel experts online.
 

Torch Festival

stone forest torch festival
Each June 24 (lunar calendar), Yi people will celebrate Torch Festival
 
Three Tour Routes:
 
 

 Tour Route A: it takes 2 hours to2.5 hours to see these 25 scenic sites

 
 

 Tour Route B: it takes 2 hours to2.5 hours to see these 27 scenic sites

 
 

 Tour Route C: it takes 2 hours to2.5 hours to see these 26 scenic sites

 
 
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