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China - Stone Forest & Yangshou - advise please!

China - Stone Forest & Yangshou - advise please!

Old Jun 12th, 2015, 01:07 PM
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China - Stone Forest & Yangshou - advise please!

We will be in Southwestern China for 3 weeks in November and early December. I'm working on our schedule in Kunming & Yangshou. I would really appreciate some advise!

Option 1 - arrive in Kunming early Sunday AM on an overnight train. Spend Sunday taking a day trip to the Stone Forest. QUESTION - Should we expect huge crowds of tourists if we visit the Stone Forest on a Sunday in late November? Or is this the "off season"?

The week would be spent visiting the Rice Terraces near Yuanyang and Jianshui, before flying to Guilin Thursday evening

Under Option 1, we would take a river boat to Yangshuo on Friday. We would spend Saturday biking and hiking in the Moon Hill area. Should we expect huge tourist crowds in Yangshuo on a Saturday in early December, or is it 'off season'?

Option 2 is to skip the Stone Forest. That would allow us to move our day of hiking in Yangshuo to Friday, and we would pick up an extra day in Hong Kong. But we would miss the Stone Forest.

Help please! We don't know whether the descriptions of huge crowds of weekend tourists in these areas would apply to "winter" weekends.

wendy236 is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2015, 01:48 PM
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You should probably expect a lot of tourists at the Stone Forest regardless of the day of the week. It was quite crowded when I was there in 2004 (and staying the night didn't help), and Chinese tourism has only increased since. However, it should also be fairly easy to avoid them by the time-tested method of walking away from the main routes.

I have to say, I was not overly impressed with the Stone forest. You should be aware that the Chinese attitude to natural beauty is very different to the US attitude, which is to leave it alone. The Chinese do not leave things alone.
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Old Jun 21st, 2015, 09:06 AM
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Thought you might loke to see The Stone Forest from post Mao days in 1980's...not crowded then in October. No idea what size crowds you'll see in November. We were there in an altogether different China when you had to get in with a licensed, approved tour company. We finally traveled it independently in 2007. Frankly, I enjoyed the 1984 days more/

Posted below, Kunming and Stone Forest in '84. If yo wih, I can post some 1980's and 2007 pics of BJ and wall, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Yangshuo, Li River, terraced rice fields, etc.
Go to Thursday's much more professional pics on her web page.
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Old Jun 21st, 2015, 09:46 AM
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A lot of foreigners (including me) do not think the Stone Forest is that impressive, and particularly not at the current entry fee price and transport cost to get there. Given the rest of your itinerary plans, I vote for Option 2.
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Old Jun 21st, 2015, 12:30 PM
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Historical fun to see the Burma Road near Kunming.
tower is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2015, 12:33 PM
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Old Jun 23rd, 2015, 11:34 AM
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I'd agree with kvchina that the Stone Forest is over-hyped, and the sight of Han Chinese dressed in minority clothing for photo ops may be thought in dubious taste by many.

But then Yangshuo (note spelling) is Disneyland China. It's about as Chinese as a branch of Pizza Hut (and probably has one--it certainly has a McDonald's). It's a maelstrom of tourism that was a delight back in the 1980s when there was almost nowhere to stay, about three restaurants, little electricity, no entry charges, and perfect peace and quiet. That was when it became famous. The river boat trip is massively overpriced, one of the last few trips in China to have a major mark-up for foreigners, and it is usually truncated due to low water levels.

If you absolutely must go to Yangshuo, then stay outside it. Go by bus, then bargain your way onto a bamboo raft and have it take you down river to less-visited places. Of course, the 'bamboo raft' is now made of plastic tubes, with plastic garden chairs on top, and an outboard motor.
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