Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Kunming, Yunnan 652208.
All year daily 9-18.
Adults CNY 60, Children (6-16) CNY 30, Children (0-5) free, Students (-26) CNY 30, Yunnan Seniors (60+) free, Seniors (70+) free.
|Guided tours:||self guided, D=5-6 h.|
|Address:||Stone Forest National Geological Park Naigu Scenic Area, Hemo Station Section, Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Kunming, Yunnan 652208, Tel: +86-871-6771-1439, Tel: +86-871-67710699.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|2007||inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.|
乃古石林 (Naigu Stone Forest) is another scenic area in the huge stone forests of the area. When seeing the weird pictures of petrified forests it's hard to understand, but actually the whole area looks like this to some extent. It is a huge area which spreads over two regions of China and extend hundreds of square kilometers. However, there are spots which are more "condensed", and several of them were transformed into parks with trails and even listed on the UNESCO WHL. The Naigu Stone Forest is one of these patches, and is actually based on several limestone hills protruding from the fertile plain. While the plain is used for agriculture, the rocky outcrops were ignored by the farmers. The limestone forms escarpments, and shapes like castles, towers, and mushrooms.
Naigu is a word from the Sani language of the Yi people, which includes the meaning of ancient and black. The limestones are not white, as one would expect, they are a dark grey, almost black, depending on the light. The reason are lichens which grow on the limestone surface. If you break a rock (which is strictly forbidden in the protected area) you will see the white colour of the limestone. The Yi or Sani people are the local inhabitants, and while they are quite populous in the area, they are only a minority in China. When the area became enlisted on the UNESCO WHL it was one criterion how this minority was handled by the chinese government. The government seems to see the people as an asset and offers a lot of folklore like "Ashima" girls in brightly colored Sani costumes everywhere. The locals were almost completely working in the farming sector, now there is infrastructure from the domestic tourism.
The underground below the stone forest is heavily karstified. The area has nine known caves.