Shilin Stone Forest, China – a 400 square kilometers of limestone formations resembling great stalagmites cutting through the earth’s crust like some ancient, or even extra terrestrial, buildings, the purpose of which we could only imagine.

Even though the reality is a bit less mysterious, a one day trip from the capital of Yunnan province of China is too promising to omit (book a trip here).

It is a bit on a pricey side, the entrance fee is about 180RMB, however there is a lot to see and hey, there are always ways in and out.

I have spent about 4 hours there just walking around, getting lost amidst the crowds of mostly Chinese tourists, getting even more lost trying to avoid them.

It is a labyrinth of trails, walled by the stone trees – it does not really look like trees, though, more like some ancient pillars cutting through the earths crust. Anyway, you need to keep wary about the way you choose to walk and the time you need to get back. There are sign posts naming the places and stone pillars, giving directions, however all is in Chinese.

A guide to visiting Shilin Stone Forest

Getting to Shilin Stone Forest

There are many tours operating a one day or overnight trip to Shilin from Kunming, capital of Yunnan province of China, however I would rather recommend to go on your own. There are many trains from Kunming station, for about 30 RMB you will get there in less than 2 hours hassle free. From the Shilin station there are two options – one is the official and more expensive, the other a bit underground but saving your wallet from crying and adding a bit of an adventure. Just look for a teamster, he’ll show you the trick.

In case you are on your own keep mindful about the time!

The last transport from Shilin back to Kunming leaves at about 7pm; in case you miss that, as I did, you end up having to sleep over at one of the scruffy overpriced hotels on the main road, or walk through the night and get on the first train at past 3am.

Get transport tickets from Kunming to Shilin below:

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Long story short, visiting Shilin Stone Forest is well worth the trip, so in case you are in Kunming go for it!


  • Travel Dudes

    I'm sure you've had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You're in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.