Tuesday, 26 October 2010
China is a weird and wonderful place and my last post focussed more on the weirdness. This post, however, will redress the balance.
One of the finest tourist attractions in Kunming is The Stone Forest, or Shilin (石林) , roughly two hours’ drive from the city.
What a wonderful place it is.
There were eight people in our party, three of whom were our Chinese friends and colleagues. The Stone Forest is so vast (350 square km) that it seemed prudent to hire a guide to lead us along the tourist track. Being so huge, it is possible to wander off into areas and get lost. I didn’t fancy spending hours wandering around, totally lost, in a Chinese national park. Sadly, there were no English speaking guides available so our Chinese friends hired a local woman and offered to interpret for us. This scheme worked perfectly well.
I was surprised by the entrance fee, a cool 175 Yuan (approximately £17), which is a little high by Chinese standards, but once we were inside, the reason became clear; it is an absolutely beautiful place.
The rock formations are incredible and my poor literary skills simply cannot do the place justice. Here instead are a couple of photographs that I hope will illustrate how magnificent the Stone Forest is.
I will be posting more on the The Plastic Mancunian’s Eye in the coming weeks, so please pop over there and have a look.
As well as the incredible stones, we saw traditional dancing and shows. A couple of my colleagues tried to persuade me to participate in the dance but, being a shy retiring sort of chap, I declined. However, I did take a video of others who weren’t too scared to join in:
How good was that? Also, here is a guy playing a leaf and making it sound like a proper musical instrument:
I’m not sure whether you will ever get the chance to go to Kunming, dear reader, but if you do I would heartily recommend a visit to the Stone Forest. I hope the photos above do it justice.