Around 90 km from Kunming is the town of Shilin, known for only one thing: the Stone Forest. This UNESCO Geological Site has always been the main tourist draw in Kunming. When I got off the bus at a parking lot at the entrance of the park, I noticed that the Stone Forest didn't look like a natural wonder, because of all the manicured pasteurs and paved streets that led to the place. And the theme park look continued on, as I entered the park, after paying a fee of RMB80 I think. There was a long bridge that had a lake with limestone rocks jutting out, similar to what you may see in Palawan or Caramoan.
The Stone Forest had a lot of Chinese tourists. I couldn't do anything but go with the flow. I managed to get off track for a while and head up to a a pagoda on a hill. I figured you could get a great view from there. And it did. I saw the seemingly small cluster of limestone rocks piercing through the ground. I said to myself, inside those rocks were thousands of Chinese tourists. And you could hear their noise from the pagoda.
I went down once I was invaded by more Chinese tourists in the pagoda. I descended to the entrance of the Major Stone Forest. There was no map given at the entrance, so you rely on map signs posted on pathways.
At first, the rocks seemed boring, but they were tall and massive. The pathways have been cleared and cemented, and steel bridges guided you around the rocks and ponds. The Black Sword Pond (below) made me feel I was in the middle of a undiscovered cave or something.
The Stone Forest looked more like a maze actually, a labyrinth. The rock paths actually made it look like a forgetten city. I was willing to play the role of Indiana Jones.
I moved further and further away from the Chinese tourists and found myself alone at last. I was moving through small and narrow crevices. There were a lot of interesting rock formations, like this one, which resembled a statue in Easter Island.
The wind blew on tress, that sang an eerie tune. As I head deeper into the stone forest, less and less people were visible. The pathways were becoming rough and the trees blocked some passageways.
I didn't notice how time flew when I was inside. I arrived at 2PM and it was already 4PM. After passing a deep and narrow passageway between two towering rocks, I decided to find a way out.
There were a few map sign posts on the way, but after a while of searching, I found an opening onto a field. And then I heard the sound of the Chinese. I found a way out.
The field turned out to be a way leading to the Minor Stone Forest, where the rocks were more scattered and less concentrated. It looked more like a garden than a natural wonder.
At 5PM, I decided to go back to the bus station. I walked back to the entrance, where several spring blossoms were shining. It was a relaxing sight. I had to take a lot of pictures of spring.
The white, yellow and pink blossoms made me feel I was in Japan, not in China. Anyway, after admiring the view, I got a bus ticket back to Kunming and waited with an ice cream stick on hand.