Friday, August 16, 2013

Visit to Shi Lin

So it has officially been about two years since I first left to study in China for six months...I can't believe it has been so long ago!  In hindsight, I realized I could have been a bit more extensive about my time in China in my blog posts - and I also realized I didn't show ANY pictures of Yunnan's most famous tourist attraction - the Stone Forest, or shilin.  

One day, I took a bus with 5 of my classmates to visit the famous mountainous forest.  We'd already been in Kunming for about two months, so our Chinese was doable...and our classmate's Chinese was much better than the rest of us, so we had no issues getting there on our own. 

We hopped a bus that would take us there - a little more than two hours away from the city.
The ride there was really pretty, with lots of foggy mountains, some hillside farms, and just pure greenery everywhere.

We ate some noodles just before entering the park at a nearby restaurant, then went to buy our tickets.

What really amazed me was how sudden these types of formations were.  It was just normal mountains, and BAM - you have these crazy jagged rocky places that shoot up into the sky.  It literally looks like giants were using rocks as domino blocks and set them up in some crazy pattern.

Another thing that threw me off guard was that they had written in the rocks.  I haven't been really to that many United States national parks, but I'd always thought they were supposed to seem untouched by people.  This was definitely not the case, as there were sidewalks, stairs, and phrases carved into the rocks all over the place.

Most people were hiring tour guides to take them to the famous places in the park, but most of the people in our group were adventurous, so we decided to go through the stone forest on our own.  

If you've never been to China, there's one thing you should know.  There are A LOT of people.  All the time.  Even here, where the tour guides were taking people it was a solid wall/glob/mass of humans standing toe to toe.  (That was the main reason we didn't want a tour guide).  We had a really fun and adventurous time exploring all the crevices in the stone forest...and I'm not sure if we ever saw the places you're "supposed" to see when you visit a landmark - but I think what we experienced here was better than seeing any specific landmarks.  

The pagoda below was one such landmark.  

It just amazes me that this is even possible in nature.  It looks crazy.

See the globs of people at the pagoda?  Yeah.  That's why we're taking the picture OF them, not with them. 

Yunnan is considered to always be spring-like.  This was during October, but the flowers look like May.

Spider and his web.

A little snail.

We found several of these areas where there were little beds and tables.  We thought it was a bit odd...perhaps they allow camping at the forest?  I'm not sure, but if they don't then I'm all out of reasons for explaining the bed.

The table and bed.

Stairs, Stairs, everywhere!

Climbing up so we can see the top of the forest. 

The view from the highest point!  Amazing.
The reason they call this the "Stone Forest" is because the rocks resemble a forest of trees - how they are so thin and project up toward the sky the way they do.  It was really an odd and amazing land form to see.

Panorama of the Stone Forest.

Right before we left, we took a small break at the entrance lake.
Like my Chinese pose? ;)

Shi Lin was a really beautiful place.  I really thought it was hyped up from how much I'd heard about it, but after finally going I had a really great experience.  My advice to anyone who plans to go is:  don't go with the tour guide...there are much more pleasant adventures!

When we got back to the bus stop, we had difficulty finding a legitimate taxi.  My suggestion is to plan to get back before dark (not sure if that would help) or to expect to take an illegal taxi.


  1. Wow! What a fabulous place! I love all pics! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Have a fabulous weekend!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

    1. Thanks Ana! It was really beautiful - and the day was perfect being kind of overcast and misty. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. I would love to go explore there!! It's interesting because you wouldnt really think of China being a place that has forests and all of these mountains and open land. Granted, everywhere in the world has something like it but when I think of China it's more the business of the place, the city part I guess. I watch the show The Little Couple and this last season when they went to pick up their son in China, they did alot of sight seeing and it was fun to get a glimpse of the culture!

    1. Haha, I know what you mean Kristen. The cities are massive, but once you get in the country it is the least in Yunnan where I was. Still, the stone forest had massive amounts of Chinese tourists - so even when you go to national parks like this it is still pretty crowded. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. oh my gosh, that stone forest looks amazing. how lucky that you are there for schooling!

    1. The Stone Forest was really beautiful! I'll always treasure the time I spend studying in Yunnan! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. These pictures are amazing. Stone forest just looks so cool! I can hardly imagine how awesome it was in real life! Thanks for linking up with us at the Let's Be Friends hop!

  5. Wow! That looks so awesome! I hope to make it to China one day. I majored in Mandarin Chinese in college and I seriously considered spending a semester there, but it didn't work out. Someday...

    1. Rachel, that is really cool! I wish I had considered majoring in Chinese - but I chose Asian Studies instead and didn't realize I think I would have liked majoring in Chinese more until I came home from studying abroad when it was too late.

      Hope you make it to China someday, it was really a fun place to live in!

  6. I wish I knew about this when we were in china. I know what you mean about tour groups. We were in china for 3weeks on a tour. Our group consisted of 9 people. Since we were so small our guides did not travel with us. We would tour the city and then they would drop us off at our American style hotel thinking we would remain in our rooms or the lounges in the hotel. Well, we would take off for the evening and go exploring on our own. We had a blast. One couple in our group were from taiwan and spoke Chinese (which helped) so we were never really in trouble.
    My son studied at the university of normal in shanghai, for his junior year study abroad.

    1. Patti, I agree most of the best times are just exploring on your own! If you ever get to go back, Yunnan is definitely a great destination with a lot of places to see!

  7. Amazing pictures. I loved seeing them all. Thanks for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  8. Incredible! Thanks for linking up!


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