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Do you want to see all the typical karst stone forest landforms in just one place? Come to Yunnan's Stone Forest. It is the only karst stone forest in a subtropical plateau region in the world. It is internationally reputed as the "Stone Forest Museum".
The Stone Forest Scenic Region boasts numerous scenic areas and spots, such as the Greater and Lesser Stone Forests (also known as the Lizijing Stone Forest), Naigu Stone Forest, Zhiyun Cave, Long Lake, Moon Lake, Qifeng Cave, and the Dadie Waterfalls.
The Greater and Lesser Stone Forests, covering an area of 12 square kilometers (5 sq. mi.), are the main scenic areas. When people say 'the Stone Forest', it always refers to the Greater and Lesser Stone Forests. The stones there are oddly shaped, with peaks magnificently standing erect like a forest.
As you walk through them, you will be amazed at the natural stone masterpieces and be bewitched by the intricate stone formations that are in the shapes of columns, cones, pagodas, and mushrooms, as well as animals, plants, and even human figures. The stones are scattered both densely and sparsely, and some look elegant while others are rugged.
The magnificent, strange, and steep landscape creates countless sights, including Lotus Peak, Ashima Rock, Sword Peak Pond, Shilin Lake, and 'a Gleam of Sky'.
If you want to get away from the tourist crowds, Naigu Stone Forest is a good option. It is 8 kilometers (5 miles) northeast of the Greater and Lesser Stone Forest, and is older and quieter than the Greater and Lesser Stone Forest. It has been declared a World Heritage site as part of the South China Karst.
Naigu literally means 'ancient black' in the language of the Yi ethnic group. Naigu Stone Forest has a weathered black surface.
Covering an area of 10 square kilometers (4 sq. mi.), Naigu Stone Forest consists of the Eastern Area, Western Area, Baiyun Lake, Baiyun Cave, and Old Battlefield. It features spiky stones, karst caves, a large waterfall, a vast grassland, and an impressive causeway of black volcanic blocks.
If you go there between September and November, you will be mesmerized by a sea of tickseed flowers flanked by the Stone Forest.
|The Greater & Lesser Stone Forests||12 sq. km||Limestone||Light gray||More varied formations, lakes||Very famous||Very crowded||Commercial|
|Naigu Stone Forest||10 sq. km||Dolomite||Dark gray, black||Spiky formations, caves, causeway, waterfall, flower fields||Newly growing in popularity||Less-crowded||More rustic|
The Greater & Lesser Stone Forests is a must-see attraction for Chinese tourists, so countless tourist groups swarm into it during the peak season. We recommend that you see the less-visited Naigu Stone Forest to guarantee a better experience.
The Stone Forest Scenic Region is open all year round. As it is an outdoor area, it is better to avoid rainy days. You are recommended to check the weather forecast before setting out. The rainy season lasts from May to October.
The Torch Festival, one of the most important festivals for the Yi People, is usually celebrated on month 6 days 24–26 of the Yi calendar (similar to China's lunar calendar, around July/August). It is always crowded with local people and tourists, so try to avoid it if you don't like crowds.
Also, try to avoid Chinese public holidays, such as Labor Day (May 1st to 7th) and National Day (October 1st to 7th). It is recommended that you start your day early so as to avoid crowds.
As the legend goes, Ashima, a beautiful girl of the Sani people (a branch of the Yi) was kidnapped by an evil landlord’s son and forced into marriage. Her lover, Ahei, made every effort to save her.
But on the way home, Ashima was swept away by a flood and turned into what is known as the Ashima Rock. You can find this rock in the Lesser Stone Forest. She is seen as a protector of the Sani people.
As this scenic area is so vast, you are recommended to have a private guide to avoid getting lost and to learn more background information about the Stone Forest. We are more than happy to offer a guide service and tailor-make a tour for you.
Our tours are very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, and extend or shorten your tour to suit your price, interests, and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements.