Another of Yunnan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Shilin Stone Forest lies in the Shilin Yi Autonomous County some 2 hours drive from the provincial capital, Kunming City.
Formerly the bed of a shallow sea, over hundreds of millions of years the sandstone and limestone rocks have been carved by the wind and the rain to form this spectacular labyrinth of odd jagged pinnacles, balancing stones, rock pools, caves, tunnels and boulders that are today known aptly as the ‘Stone Forest’. (It covers some 400 square kilometres in total!)
The ‘Forest’ is also an area sacred to the local Yi ethnic group (see our Yuanyang post) and so most of the local staff and guides are indeed Yi who will take great delight in regaling you with tales of lovelorn princesses turned to stone!
Yi woman collecting firewood in the stone labyrinth. Below a selection of images of some of the amazing stone features.
A visit to the Shilin Stone Forest is included in both our 3-week South of the Clouds Vietnam and Yunnan tour and our 2-week World Heritage Sites of Yunnan itinerary. We generally time our visit for later in the afternoon when the light is better and there’s not many people about and that also means we can stop for dinner at the town of Yilian on the way back to Kunming, which is very conveniently placed on our return route and just happens to be famous for its awesome roast duck! Crispy roast duck pancakes and an iced Tsingtao round off the day perfectly! Cheers!