This short, condensed journey into nature takes you to the geological forests of Yunnan made of rock, to see the majestic karst formations the region is famous for.


3 Days, 2 Nights     FROM US$ 699 PER PERSON

China is so much more than simply bustling cities and delicious food – this vast and exciting country also has some spectacular scenes of natural beauty, like you will discover on this tour of Yunnan’s Geological Forests.

Whereas you may expect the word ’forest’ to describe an area densely populated with trees, the geological forests of Yunnan are actually comprised of karst formations grouped so close that they have been playfully nicknamed forests.

This concise three-day, two-night tour takes you to visit two of the region’s most popular and spectacular faux ’forests’, the Black Stone Forest and the Yuanmou Earth Forest and immerses you deep in the breathtaking nature fresh, clean air of China’s Yunnan province.


Each of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and our destination based teams will start planning a unique and personalized trip.

The Backyard Travel Team,


Go on a guided tour of Yunnan’s geological wonders at the lesser-frequented Black Stone Forest
Visit the Yuanmou museum and learn about the Yuanmou Man, China’s oldest fossilized remains
Picnic in the Earth Forest, regarded by some as the cradle of humanity, which has reached its present state after two million years of geological movement and soil erosion

Daily Itinerary

Daily Itinerary

  • Start
  • Day 1: Kunming - Shilin - Kunming

    The first day of your tailored trip to see the geological wonders of the Yunnan Province takes you to Shilin County where you will discover one of the major attractions of the region and a must-see site; the Lunan Stone Forest, a set of dramatic karst formations. While the term ‘forest’ is usually used for a large grouping of trees, the Lunan Stone Forest is one of several ‘forests’ in China that is made of rocks, rather than trees.

    After meeting your guide, you will begin your three to four-hour journey to the 26,000-hectare forest. A local expert, your guide will take you to the less-frequented Black Stone Forest, which is roughly ten-kilometers from the main site, but equally as impressive, to keep you away from the throng of tourists that visit the area.

    According to a well-known myth in the region, gods created the Black Stone Forest by slicing up the mountains into smaller rocks so that they could offer them as gifts. The remainder of the rocks left over created the fascinating maze of ‘stone trees’ you can see in the park now. Just make sure you stick close to your guide - it really is a maze and it’s easy to get lost!Although the mythical story is enchanting, Shilin’s seemingly endless rocky peaks, which come in an intriguing array of shapes and sizes, are actually simply a result of chemical erosion over time, caused by the natural elements.

    Depending on the weather, you will be able to enjoy a picnic lunch while in the Black Stone Forest, so that you can take time to relax and enjoy the spectacular surroundings and magical karst formations.

    After the forest you will then take the two-hour journey to Kunming. Along the way you will be able to spot some of the old French train tracks. Although never colonized, China granted certain concessions to various Western countries during the 19th century. In 1910, with a view to expand their reach within Asia, the French began a project to link Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam at the time, to Kunming. During the project they laid more than 450 kilometers of track, built more than 3,500 bridges and excavated 170 tunnels.

    The tracks that remain are possibly the most significant trace of French presence in China, and you will have the chance at the end of your trip to ride on a portion of the lines they built around 100 years ago that are still in use by freight trains to this day. After returning to Kunming you will be free to spend the evening at your leisure, taking a walk around the city streets or enjoy a delicious meal at a nearby restaurant before you retire to your hand-picked hotel. Whatever you fancy, your guide will be able to make a tasty suggestion, so don’t be afraid to ask their advice!

  • Day 2: Kunming - Yuanmou

    After breakfast on day two you’ll head to Yuanmou Earth Forest, which lies approximately five to six hours away, depending on traffic. Again, like the Black Stone Forest, Yuanmou Earth Forest is made up of a collection of rocks instead of trees, and is one of the three main ‘forests’ in Yunnan along with the Stone Forest (you visited on day one), and the Sand Forest.

    The gradual erosion of the rock by rain and wind has revealed beautiful strips of color which create a stunning vista with violet at the top, then grey in the middle and yellow at the base. The colors appear to light up when the sun hits them, providing a wonderful natural spectacle, and gives the rock a golden hue.

    The region was also the location where human fossils that date back 1.7 million years were discovered in 1965, (nicknamed ‘Yuanmou Man’) making Yuanmou the suspected place of origin for all Chinese people. During the day you will have the opportunity to visit the Yuanmou museum and learn more about the fascinating discovery.

    In the evening you will stay in the quaint, peaceful town of Yuanmou.

  • Day 3: Yuanmou - Kunming

    Your final day of this condensed Yunnan tour will begin with breakfast at your hotel before you depart for the Earth Forest, giving you another few hours to marvel at the natural beauty of the region.

    Comparisons to the karsts have been made with the pipes of church organs, others to 40-meter-high castles. Many of the formations have been given playful and imaginative nicknames such as ‘Romanesque Cathedral’. While in the Earth Forest you’ll be able to enjoy a scenic picnic, immersed in nature as you enjoy the breathtaking views and crisp, fresh air.

    After your visit to the Earth Forest you will be driven back to Kunming before taken to the train station for your onward journey.

    If you would like to extend this tour with any of Backyard Travel’s other tailor-made tours to China, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room in luxury accommodation. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

 Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

 Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)

Why Backyard Travel?

Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.
We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.
With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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