Last weekend I have been to the famous stoneforrest named Shi Lin 石林 （shí lín), which is not far from Kunming in Yunnan province. Shilin is a great place to relax. I’ve made a big amount of pictures, almost filled my memory card and I’d like to show some beautiful impressions. This is going to be a multiple post story, today up is part one: Shilin, the stones.
Once You go over the bridge at the entrance of Shilin and go to the first stones You will encounter this beautiful scene. Unlike the workers who keep the grass in shape, You are not allowed to walk on the green. The perfect grassland with the stones growing all over the place seems so unreal and breathtaking.
If You want to, You can hire a guide to show You around in Shilin. These guides wear traditional costumes and You can see a lot of these. Strangely enough 90% of all guides are women, but that might be an accident as well. A guide costs 100 yuan a day. The entrance fee for Shilin is 140 yuan, or 100 yuan in case You have a valid student ID card. Update November 2009: Entrance Fee increased recently. Now it’s a whooping 240 yuan per regular ticket and therefore number one on China’s list of most expensive natural scenic spots.
Getting to the Shilin stoneforrest is easy. Just go to Kunming Railwaystation 昆明站, which is in the south of the city. You can take bus number 83 (and many others) to get there. At the ticket office You can buy a one way ticket to Shilin. I recommend to not buy a two way unless You want to return at the same day. You can buy a return ticket at Shilin. Oneway is 25 yuan.
The stone on the left could resemble a lion relaxing in the sun, but it could be as well what it is. Just a stone. My friend who visited Shilin together with me argued for the lion, but I rather think it’s a cow.
Another stone in the stoneforrest. My friend and me didn’t have any guide, but that wasn’t necessary at all, since You could just listen to one of the countless guides walking around with groups. This big stone resembled an animal, unfortunately I forgot which one. Be creative and see, maybe You can guess what it is. I feel the guides shouldn’t tell what it is, everyone should use his own mind.
The front area near the entrance is very touristy. Countless tourists share the small paths with You. There are also places to buy refreshment. The front area is easy accessible and with walking short distances You can see a lot. There is also a small area to sit on the grass at one of the small lakes. You can relax in the shadow of the trees there. However some other gems can only be found in the remote parts of the park. Once You come across some small stairs You are on the best way to the more remote parts of Shilin.
Some mysterious stairs at the beginning of the more remote parts of Shilin. If You made it until here be prepared for some gems not every tourist encounters. This is end of part one of my Shilin report. Now go over to part two and three, then You can discover the more remote parts of Shilin.