Have you ever heard of a stone forest? Imagine entering a typical forest with gigantic trees stationed a meter away from each other. This time, picture the forest with high, irregularly shaped rocks with sharp pointed tips – that’s what a stone forest looks like.
The Chinese Stone Forest, located in Lunan Yu Autonomous County, is considered as the world’s most amazing calcareous relief for its vast array of karst formation. Karst is a terrain that forms through the disintegration of soft rocks like limestone. The formation of Karst in the area is responsible for the arrangement of several limestone rocks in a three hundred-square kilometer stretch of land. This area is crowded with huge and gigantic rocks that are about 30-40 meters or 100-133 feet tall. It was known to exist since 1368-1644 A.D. when the Ming Dynasty ruled China.
In 2005, the Chinese Stone Forest or Shilin in Chinese, was visited by over 2.2 million tourists from around the world. Its large-scale rock formation of different shapes and sizes continuously attracts both local and international visitors who enjoy natural beauty, and have a flair for rare destinations.
Visitors will have a great time exploring some of the rocks that were given names according to their appearance:
· The Great Mogul
· Mother and Son
· Teeth of the Dragon
· The Phoenix Bird
· Monkey on the Elephant Back
· Rhinoceroses Watching the Moon
Other stones look like mushrooms, towers, pyramids, columns, and other figures that resemble the things around us. Most of the rocks are surrounded by water, the reflections of these behemoths exude an eerie serenity. Some rocks have crumbled from its original state due to the earthquakes that devastated the area.
Shilin is divided into different sections according to their features. There is the Major, Minor, and Naigu Stone Forest that offers tourists the various rock formation that the place is known for. Then there’s subterranean section located in Zhiyun Cave. Zhiyun Cave shows the formation of cave in a Karst terrain. There’s also the Strange Wind Cave, the Penfeng Cave, Hongxi Spring, and an underground river. There is also a Karst lake named the Long Lake, which is three kilometers long and 300 meters wide.
The Stone Forest is just 85 kilometers from the Chinese city Kunming. The recommended time for visiting this place is 2-3 hours. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.