Yunnan Special: Naigu Stone Forest

The karst formations in Stone Forest have long been a tourist draw in Yunnan Province, but the Naigu Stone Forest in Lunan County just 8 kilometers away is now emerging as a popular destination. The 10-square-kilometer Naigu scenic area is known as a natural museum of karst landforms.

Naigu Stone Forest 1

The word naigu means “ancient and black” in the language of the Yi ethnic group, a fitting description of the mass of blackish limestone that formed about 270 million years ago. Seen from the top of nearby mountains, the dense collection of rocks looks like a petrified stormy black sea with huge waves billowing high into the sky. The highest is more than 40 meters tall. Walking through the mass of stones, you will easily have the feel of great wildness.

Naigu Stone Forest 3

Compared with the Stone Forest landscape and its sword-shaped stones, the Naigu attraction has much sturdier stone columns that appear as shapes ranging from animals and figures to towers and blockhouses. On the periphery of the area stand weathered rocks that look like horses and some are compared to blockhouses, so locals call it an “ancient battlefield”.

Elephant Rock

In contrast to the huge awe-inspiring rocks, lakes in the scenic site add a touch of gentleness. Past the entrance lies White Cloud Lake, a reservoir with two islands. Boats on the lake float in the shimmering sunlight, while a tour of caves and underground streams have an aura of mystery. One of the nine caves in tourist use is also named White Cloud. It has 18 scenic spots, all linked to a folk myth.

Coming out of the dark and narrow caves, you will be impressed with the vast grassland amid surrounding lofty mountains. In spring and summer the grassland is blanketed with brightly colored wild flowers with towering bluestones in the distance.


  • Estimated travel time around Naigu Stone Forest: 5-6 hours
  • Tourist buses between Stone Forest and Naigu Stone Forest: 09:00am – 18:00pm
  • Major ethnic groups living near the Naigu Stone Forest: Yi and Sani people
  • Nearby attractions: Wanjiahuan – Merry Families – Farm, Aiboxin Vineyard, a museum on the karst landform, ethnic group villages, solar energy station and center for flower horticulture and sale.

Read more:

Kunming Natural Scenery

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