After leaving Yangshuo we decided to take a flight to Kunming, it became apparent that travelling a country the size of China in just one month would be hard and flights had to be taken even with more cost involved!
The main reason for a visit to Kunming was to see the famous stone forest but we had a day seeing part of the city first. The city is not really known for its tourist attractions but there was a decent (nearly full day) loop we could do of the main sights. The main place that stood out in the city was an old Buddhist temple, it was amazing! Although we'd seen many in the past this was much more impressive.
In each of the actual temples they had big Chinese style statues of dragons and mythical characters you would associate with old Chinese stories. They were all really beautifully decorated. Out side of the temples they were connected by old walkways, ponds and incense burning areas, all adding to the tranquility of the place. It was as you would imagine an old fashioned Buddhist temple to look like and had more charm than the many temples you see in other parts of Asia.
The visit to the stone forest was a full day excursion, up early, two busses and an unbelievable amount of walking but it was worth it! The stone forest is made up of thousands of huge rocks (the height of trees) coming up from the ground to create a forest like appearance from both below and above.
The rocks formed millions of years ago when the area was once under the sea, the earth rose due to plate movement and was covered again at some point by a lake, which again subsided leaving the amazing structures.
As with all big Chinese tourist attractions it was busy but also as the Chinese tourists seem to hate actually walking anywhere, only the main centre piece was hectic. However the park was actually about 15km in circumference (or more!) so as soon as you walked for 5 minutes always from the hordes, it seemed like we were the only ones in the national park and it was well worth it. From below it was literally as if you were in a forest made of stone and from above it looked like a sea of rocks from all angles making the trees that push up in between look small in comparison.
We only had a short stop in Kunming, the night of the stone forest visit we would take our first night train in China, an interesting one! Much cleaner and orderly than the ones in India with pretty decent beds and quilts but they were small! I also had the pleasure of the top bunk (3 tiered) which was even smaller and you couldn't sit up! Lucky I'm not too claustrophobic. Other than that it was a good journey and onto Dali!