4 October 2009

Amazing Stone Forest in Kunming

From Guilin we flew to Kunming, one of the largest cities in China (and that is saying something) and a growing regional hub. Apparently it has more cars per person than Beijing, which is probably why they are building so many roads there.

But we were not in Kunming to see the city, we were there for a natural attraction, the Stone Forest.

The spectacular stone formations are karsts, like we saw on the Li river cruise, but these are smaller and sharper.

The paths between them were narrow and twisted and so you were always surrounded by rock. This was not the place to be if you suffer from claustrophobia!

Sharing the feeling of entrapment were a few pools of water that had fallen into a rocky tomb from whence there is no escape.

The grey rock dominated the scene but a few trees found enough purchase to grow a defiant canopy of green.

At the centre of the forest was a view point on top of one of the karsts and we had one of the familiar steep climbs to get up to it.

Unfortunately the Stone Forest was very busy and everybody wanted to climb to the vantage point. As a result it was rather like trying to get onto a busy tube during rush hour, and remember that the Chinese have no concept of queueing.

The struggle to get to the top (and the harder struggle to get down again) were worth the time and effort as you could see the full extent of the forest and also how sharp the rocks were at their peaks. Falling off is not recommended.

The Stone Forest was a good excursion from Kunming that seemed to offer tourists little itself.

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