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Movie lover. Growing Capoeirista. Space enthusiast. Dedicated craftsman. And best of all, homegrown Los Angeles native. Wait, how in the hell did I end up in China!?
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You look up, you look down, you look out--anywhere you look stands these colossal stone pillars that look straight out of some expansive, apocalyptic-themed movie set, or some mountainous backdrop for a log ride at a Disney amusement park. Yep, you see it too, right?
But, this is the real thing. These are the Shilin Stones of Forest Park in Kunming, Yunnan, and boy are they a sight to see!
Wait, I know what you’re thinking: Eh, c’mon, they’re just rocks. I know. Why would you board a plane, hop on a train, and/or bus for for miles on top of miles just to look at a couple of boring ol’ stones?
Well, for one, those Shilin Stones of Forest Park are more than just rocks—they’re 100% nature-made limestone fortified with a longstanding history that spans across 150 sq. miles.
And that’s 270 million+ years of history, to be exact.
Here’s a fact: The Shilin Stones were crafted along the basin of a once sprawling shallow sea that existed some millions of years ago. That’s right, you’re literally staring at the remnants of an ocean floor. How cool is that?
What’s more, legend has it that a young, beautiful girl of the local Yi people, Ashima, was turned into one of the stones after being forbidden to marry her lover and rejecting her suitor. I’m guessing she just had a stone cold heart. I’m here all night people!
As for what you’ll see? Rocks—boulders, big and small, gray and rigid, smooth and towering over the tallest of trees.
You can walk through them, under them, around them, and between them.
There are steps that lead to plenty of observation points, and roads that take your across endless grasslands riddled with stones as far as the eyes can see.
There are caves and waterfalls, gardens and lakes, Chinese pavilions and and an occasional group of locals donning traditional garb.
Smile, you’re on camera!
But the star attraction? Umbrellas. Yes, umbrellas, everywhere, held by thick crowds and used to block out those beaming summer fun sun-rays everybody loves. Eh, I can’t blame them—it gets hot there.
So listen … You may argue that those ingredients sound like the recipe for all natural landmarks in China, and I agree. But, like all natural landmarks in China, Shilin Stone Forest Park has got history, culture, pictorial landscapes, cheap food, and enough homegrown fengshui to fill Cowboy’s Stadium.
Go there. Go there now. Go there soon. Go there later. Just go.
And while you’re at it, do like I did and visit Yunnan’s Puzhehei afterwards.
Yeah, forget the big cities, China’s natural landscapes are where it’s at, and that’s the stone-cold-truth!
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Travel Blogger. ESL Teacher. Optimistic Millennial Adventurer! -->