Situated in Shilin Yi Autonomous County 80 km from Kunming, is a set of limestone formations in the manner of stalagmites many of which resemble petrified trees creating the very real illusion of a forest made of stone. This “forest” is the result of the dissolution of limestone by wind and rain which commenced in the Permian Period (about 270 million years ago) and is ongoing.
The forest covers an area of 350 sq km and consists of 7 main divisions including caves, lakes and waterfalls. Two parts of the site, the Naigu stone forest and Suogeyi Village have been declared World Heritage Sites as part of the South China Karst.
According to legend, the forest is the birthplace of Ashima, a beautiful girl from the Yi people who was forbidden to marry her true love and in anguish turned into stone in the forest that still bears her name. The Yi people celebrate their Torch Festival on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month with folk dances and other festive activities. Visitors can also experience the ethnic culture of the Sani people (a branch of the Yi people) who live in and around the area surrounding the forest.
The forest is a unique limestone formation which attracts tourists from all over the world.
Add:about 80 km from Kunming downtown, or 3 minutes' drive from Shilin county seat, or 22 from Jiuxiang Caves
0871-6771 1439 (the Major Stone Forest)
0871-6771 7503 (the Naigu Stone Forest)
175 yuan/person (the Major Stone Forest)
130 yuan/person (the Naigu Stone Forest)