Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Stone Forest



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.

14 comments:

Kath Lockett said...

I've never seen anything like it.

But leaf blowing I know - we Aussies love doing it with eucalyptus leaves!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

I did't know leaf blowing was an Aussie thing.

You learn something new every day.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Sue said...

Yes leaf blowing and spoon playing. We're a talented mob.
The rocks look amazing. Thanks for the photos.

River said...

That stone forest is amazing.
I never got the hang of leaf blowing. My brother could do it.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Sue,

I think I need video proof of this amazing talent.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I doubt if I could play a tune with a leaf.

I doubt if I could play a tune with anything to be fair...

:0)

Cheers

PM

dondi045 said...

Those stones are truly magnificent! I wonder why it was not included in the list of the wonders of the world? Or I may not known it.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi dondoi,

They certainly are - I must admit that I had never heard of them until I got to Kunming.

Beautiful.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Lauren said...

The Stone Forest is amazing, stunning. My son is taking Mandarin in college. This is his third year of Chinese. He would love to visit China. You're so lucky to be there.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lauren,

I'm not there now but I will be again next year - same city, Kunming.

China is a fascinating place and well worth a visit.

I wish I could speak Mandarin.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Tina said...

I have never heard of the Stone Forest in Kunming. What a revelation! I will be googling Stone Forest to find out more. Thanks for this contribution!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Tina,

You're welcome. And it truly is magnificent.

:0)

Cheers

PM

drb said...

We went to Kunming to see the stone forest. But the experience was marred by the fact that the tour agents would not take us on the group tour as we were foreigners (despite the fact that I speak perfect mandarin) and forced us to hire our own english speaking guard, chauffeur and car which cost 20X more than the group tour. Also, on that day it was pouring and as your last blog described I thought I would not survive the 2hrs drive return trips. The driver was still overtaking and speeding although we drove past 3 overturned car, truck and bus along the road.

When you go back to Kunming again, please go and watch the minority dance show in the city! It was fantastic!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I shall take your advice - I reckon I will be going there in January/February. Hopefully I will have time because I think it will be an intense trip, work-wise.

:0)

Cheers

PM