Shilin (meaning 'Stone Forest') is an area of 300 square kilometres in China's Yunnan province near Kunming, entirely covered with nature-shaped karst-formations. Scientists claim these stalagmite-like pillars were formed more than 270 million years ago. These otherworldly surroundings resemble some kind of a stone forest; that's where the name comes from. In fact, Shilin is compound of a few individual stone forests. Two most famous ones are Naigu Stone Forest and Suogeyi Village. Both of them belong to the South China Karst listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the most famous attractions in Shilin is Ashima Stone. A local legend says it was a beautiful girl who fell in love but wasn't allowed to get married to her soulmate. Eventually, she fled away to the forest and was turned into a stone. Amidst the limestone passages, the visitors will also discover caves and waterfalls, a pond with an island, and an underground river.
Although the area may be visited all year round, November to April are better due to drier weather. The season of abundant rains between May and October is not the best time to go to Shilin. Besides, Shilin tends to be super crowded during a week-long Torch Festival that takes place around July or August, as well as the Labor Day (May 1st to 7th) and National Day (October 1st to 7th).