At 120 km from Kunming city, there stands one of the “Nature’s World Wonders”- Stone Forest, also called Shilin. In the Stone Forest, stone peaks rise abruptly from the ground in numerous layers like bamboo shoots, forests and pagodas, hence all visitors to Kunming from home and abroad never hesitate to admire the unique scenes formed by the stones.
Both Chinese and overseas geologists have proved that the Stone Forest is over 270 million years old. The area used to be an ocean. During the Long Geological Period from the late Permian Period 230 million years ago to 2 million years ago, the ocean subsided and giant rocks appeared. During this time the rocks were gradually worn away by water, forming the strange rock forms seen today.
Inside the sea of Stone Forest, one feels as if were in a bizarre fairyland. The stone formations standing still resemble a variety of things such as ancient fortresses, birds, beasts, flowers, trees, human beings, and whatever else one can imagine. The most fantastic ones are "the Cluster of Pinnacles Propping up the Sky" and "The Stone Singing Praises of Plums".
Every day, under the moonlight, boys and girls gather at the village. While the boys play the three-stringed plucked instruments, the girls clap their hands and dance the strong-rhythmed traditional "Ah-xi Dance in the Moon" (called A Xi Tiao Yue in Chinese) with great enthusiasm. If you happen to witness the event, you will be invited to join in the festivity.