Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Into the Stone Forest

It was a fairly relaxing day. The only thing on my agenda was to see Shilin, the "Stone Forest." It's about a 120 kilometers outside of Kunming. Luckily there are direct buses that go to the area and it was fairly easy to get to.

Shilin was on my agenda when I first thought about what I was going to do in China. I thought it would be similar to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in Madagascar, which I saw a documentary on and found quite fascinating. I believe both were formed in the same manner of erosion, however, I think Shilin is considerably smaller in comparison and quite a bit more popular with tourists.

Unfortunately, the Shilin "Stone Forest" is so modified for accessibility, that it loses its natural appeal. Pathways run throughout the park, often right through the formations. A couple view points have been installed right on top of the formations where mostly domestic tourists gather shoulder to shoulder to try and get a good birdseye view and a photo of themselves with the formations in the background. For what it is, it's quite overpriced. So far it's the most I've paid for admission, even more than The Great Wall.

Perhaps the high ticket cost was to pay for the dancers. The park had two stages where the Yi people, dressed in traditional garb, performed various styles of dance. I took a few photos and hopped back on the bus to Kunming.

Later I met up with Ed and Christine, who I've now met up with in three places in China. We went out for "across the bridge" noodles, a speciality among these parts. I'm not sure it was my favorite dish, but it's always fun to try the local cuisine. We finished the night off with some ice cream and smoothies.

Shilin Stone Forest:

Yi People: