Large Stone Forest in Shilin County, Kunming
Chinese Name: 大石林
English Name: Large Stone Forest
Type: Geologic Formations, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Nature & Parks, Sights & Landmarks
Best Time: All Year Around
Recommended Visiting Hours: 1-2 hours
Opening Hours: 08:00 ~ 17:00
Ticket:175 RMB for ticket and 30 RMB for shuttle bus
Location: About 78 kilometers away from Kunming City.
Overview of Lager Stone Forest
The Major Stone Forest consists of intensive stone peaks, just like a stretch of stone basin. The stone forests here have straight shapes and smooth lines, among which the highest stone pillar is more than 40 meters in height.The magnificent, strange, and steep landscape creates countless sights, including Lotus Peak, Ashima Rock, Sword Peak Pond, Shilin Lake, and ‘a Gleam of Sky’.
The Formation of Lager Stone Forest
The formation of the Lager Stone Forest is a geological legend which has undergone a long period of time. It can be divided into 3 stages. The first stage is the Tableland stage. About 270 million years ago, this area is a part of the ocean and there are many oceanic living beings. After they died, their corpses piled up on the seabed. The corpses were gradually fossilized into a thick limestone seabed. Then, the limestone rose up to form a tableland due to the shift of earth crust. About 230 million years ago, volcanoes erupted in this area and the lava formed a thick basalt protective layer to prevent from the erosion after that lava cooled down. About 50 million years ago, the basalt gradually flaked away, and the lime stones were exposed in the air.the rainfall, seeping water and underground water ate away at the limestone surface. These lime stones were eroded in different places, causing fissures to open around the pinnacles. And they were deepen and widen by continuous erosion, so the lime stones were carved into diverse shapes by water, air and soil. The Stone Forest displayed here today thanks to the hands of nature. It ranks No. 1 in size, age, typical formation and good preservation. Even today, the erosion is going on every second because the lime stones can be dissolved by water with carbon dioxide.
Legend & Minority Culture
Story about Ashima
Many beautiful legends originate in this magical place, passed along by the native people known as Sani, a branch of the Yi ethnic group. One particular story about the faithful love of Ashima, a beautiful, clever and warm-hearted Sani girl, is the most popular and has been told for thousands of years. As the legend goes, Ashima was kidnapped by an lanlord’s son and forced into marriage. Her lover, Ahei, made every effort to save her. However, on the way home, Ashima was swept away by a flood and turned into what is known as the Ashima Rock, which can be found in the Minor Stone Forest. Her passion and perseverance for freedom and true love still encourage today’s Sani people.
Torch Festival of Sani People
The Sani people celebrate their national festival – the Torch Festival – every lunar year on June 24. They take part in traditional performances such as wrestling, bull fighting, pole-climbing, dragon-playing, lion-dancing and the A-xi Moon Dance. During this time, the Stone Forest is alive with a particular0ve atmosphere, making the area even more attractive than usual.
Scenic Spots in Lager Stone Forest
1. Stone Forest Lake: There used to be an erosion basin here. When the late Prime Minister Zhou Enlai visited the SF, he suggested turning the basin into an artificial lake which can be an ideal companion to avoid the monotony of rock view according to the aesthetic value for landscape. The toughness of the stones and the softness of the reflection in the lake create a poetic picture. Coincidentally, a huge rock in the lake looks exactly like the Goddess of Mercy, so the lake is also called Goddess of Mercy Lake.
2. Lion Pavilion: It is the highest point, an elevation of 1750 meters. We can overview the whole SF, under the shades of clouds, miles of stones resemble the lays of rising waves; under the sunshine, they are like raging flames.
3. The Rock Screen: The Rock Screen which is a huge rock in the shape of the majestic screen stands at the entrance of the Big SF and blocks visitor’s view. And behind it, there is a couplet inscription composed by a famous marshal 朱德. 群峰壁立，千嶂叠翠 means Clusters of steeps peaks tower into the clear sky, layers of high rocks resemble jade screens.
4. The Buffalo Pond: It is a scenic spots which rocks here are quite similar to lovely buffaloes playing and relaxing, like the farmland view in the daily life of the local people.
5. Shipingfeng (石屏风): The wide plaza is called the Most Wonderful Scenery of SF. There are 2 striking red Chinese characters inscribed on a huge rock-Shilin, means SF. The name SF initially came from the former Chairman of Yunnan, Yunlong.
6. Peak Watching Pavilion: It is the best place to overlook the stone forest. Stroll in the Stone Forest, you need to pay attention to the stone peaks in the way and better to have a tour guide for your first tour or at least a park map in your hands since it is very easily to get lost in the stone forest.
Other Scenic Spots in Large Stone Forest
The Large Stone Forest is formed by all kinds of thick stone peaks with upright stature, smooth line and slight gray color. The highest stone peak is more than 40 M. Among them, Lotus Peak (莲花峰), Sword Peak Pond (剑峰池), Gattaca (千钧一发), Narrow path that only one to pass through (极狭通人), Elephant Stone Table (象距石台), Orchid Valley (幽兰深谷) and Phoenix Wings (凤凰梳翅) are very popular scenic spots, and above all, the Stone Forest Scenic Spot is the most popular one.
Minor Stone Forest(小石林）
The Minor Stone Forest is also call Ashima Scenic Area. The big and thick stone walls like a screen deliver this scenic area into several parts. Of all, the most famous scenic spot is ‘Ashima’. When the night comes, it is colorful and charming under the glittering lights.
Long Lake (长湖)
Long Lake is a karst lake that is three kilometers (two miles) long but only 300 meters wide. The lake features underwater stalagmites and stalactites and a small island in the center of the water.The source of the Dadie Waterfall, Ba River, is a branch of Nanpan River. In the rainy season, up to 150 cubic meters (196 cubic yards) of water per square inch plummet down the 88 meter (288 feet) drop.
Naigu Stone Forest (乃古石林)
Naigu Stone Forest is 8km from Stone Forest Scenic Area, and traveler can take the travel bus commuting between the two areas to there. The running time for the travel bus is 9:00 ~ 19:00 and it will departure every half hour. Please check with the working staff for the detailed position of the bus.
Recommended Lager Stone Forest Tours
Top 3 Lager Stone Forest tours chosen by most customers to explore Lager Stone Forest in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us. We provide some tour routes for tourists to choose.
How to Get There
By Lomg-distance Bus
1. Travelers can take public coach at bus stations in Kunming to Stone Forest. This will take about 1.5 hours.
2. From Kunming Changshui International Airport, travelers can take the travel bus to there, and it will take about 2 hours.
By Private Car
Another way to get to Stone Forest is taking a private car, and this is the fastest and most convenient way. It only takes about 1 hour. If you book tour with us, we will provide you the private car with a private driver and a tour guide to make your trip worry-free.
Shilin Yi Autonomous County also has a train station, and it has trains to Kunming, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanning, Zhanjiang, Guiyang, Hongguo, etc. Shilin Train Station is only about 4 km from Stone Forest, so traveler can get the spot easily.
Useful Travel Tips
1. Torch Festival
June 24th in Chinese lunar calendar is the traditional Torch Festival of Yi people. At this time, Stone Forest will hold grand bullfight, wrestling and song and dance activities to celebrate. Yi people will dress in their traditional costumes to anticipate the celebration. At nightfall, the bonfire and torches will be lit up, and people will dance and sing around the bonfire. This is the best time to experience the ethnic culture of Yi people.
2. Best seasons
Best time to visit here is from March to October. Most ethnic festivals are during this time, and travelers can also appreciate various flowers during this time. Stone Forest is located in the subtropical humid monsoon climate zone, and it features in continental monsoon climate. No hot summer nor severe cold winter, the climate here is rather moderate all year round.
The entrance ticket for the Stone Forest is ¥175/person. The ticket for cable car in the scenic area is ¥25/person. The dance show in the scenic area is free.
In the front of the scenic area, there are parking lot and China post office.
The Visitor Center can provide wheelchair, baby carriage, umbrella, walking stick, etc. for visitors.
The Visitor Center also provide tour guide service in Chinese, English, Japanese, Thai, etc. for tourists, and the guide service will charge a certain fees, please check with the staffs in the Visitor Center for detailed price.
Tourists can find the location of toilets in the scenic area according to the infrastructure map on the back of the entrance ticket.
Travelers can stay overnight in Shilin County after visit, and there are also some 3-star hotels in the county. However, most travelers will choose to go back to Kunming for accommodation. Kunming has more choice for travelers and it’s more convenient to transfer to your next destination from Kunming.