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Yuanmou County Travel Tips

The Earth Forest in Yuanmou County

The Earth Forest in Yuanmou County in Chuxiong Prefecture is a scenic spot at the provincial level. Earth Forest, as a representative landscape in the county, comprises Xinhua, Bangguo, Wanbao and Tiger Leaping Beach, covering an area of 50 square kilometers. The Earth Forest came into being since geological movement and soil erosion one or two million years ago. Its shape looks like an immense forest and the main component is earth, so it is named Earth Forest. The Earth Forest, the Stone Forest in Kunming and the Colorful Sand Forest in Luliang are called "the Three Forests in Yunnan".

The whole landscapes of the Earth Forest in Yuanmou are mainly castle, screen, curtain and column, of which the highest is about 40 meters and very grand. The shapes of the Earth Forest look like vivid persons and animals as people look at them closely. Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture is between Dianchi Lake in Kunming and Erhai Lake in Dali. It's an important hub of middle Yunnan. Chengkun Railway£¬Guangda Railway and Kunwan Road cross it.

It’s been regarded as one of the well-known cradle of humanity and a treasure house of fossils of ancient living beings. Lufeng Fossil Ramapithecus about 8 million years ago, Yuanmou Man (Homo Erectus Yuanmouensis) about 1.7 million years ago and Lufeng dinosaurs of 1.8 billion years ago were excavated here. Many archaeologists from home and abroad regard Chuxiong Prefecture as the cradle of humanity and "The home of ancient living beings". Huge Mallet White Tower of Dayao built in the Tang Dynasty is rare in shape in Chinese ancient buildings. The large bronze statue of Confucius at Wenmiao Temple in Shiyang Town is the only one that is well preserved in mainland China¡£

It is one of the most splendid soil forests in China, covering an area of 50 square kilometers. It was formed by geological movement and soil erosion one or two million years ago. It is named for its shape like immense forest and the main composition of the expansion earth. The representative landscape of the Soil Forest is distributed to Xinhua, Bangguo, and the Tiger Leaping Beach. The forest in these aeas has distinctive features. Some are grand and spectacular, some are sharp and scraped, and others are of various shapes, like the waking lion, the tiger, the Roman Catholic Church, the Yuanmon Man and so on.

How to get there:

Yuanmon is about 200 kilometers away form Kunming City. Since there is no bus going directly to the Soil Forest, visitors have three choices for transportation. First, take the bus from Kunming Panjiawan bus station to Yuanmon County which is still 20 kilometers away from the Forest. Then, take a taxi or special bus to the forest, and finally take a carriage into the Forest. Second, you can take a long-distance coach from Kunming to Panzhihua, get off at the Yangwumao stop, which is still 6 kilometers from the Soil Forest. Then you can take a minibus or carriage into the forest. Third, you can take the train from Kunming to Panzhihua and get off at the Huanguawu stop, and then take a minibus or carriage into the forest. The train usually gets there in the evening. So you can spend a night there and go sight seeing the next morning.

Yuanmou Soil Forest at Bangguo Basin
Bangguo Soil Forest is one of the largest among all the soil forest in Yuanmon, covering a total area of 14 square kilometers. It is located at the Pingtian Township, which is 18 kilometers in the west of the Yuanmon County, near the Shahe River. It is an representative of the aged residual hills of the soil forest, with an average height of 3-8 meters. The highest part is about 12 meters. 

The soil hills there are distributed in a sparse way. The individual hills are developed well while the group hills are not very common. The major tourist route is among the Shahe River, with a length of about 3800 meters. There are more than 20 branches for tourists to visit too. The ground of the Banguo Soil Forest is covered with thick grey fine sands, which makes it a good place for sports and entertainments.

Yuanmou Soil forest at the Tiger Leaping Beach
So far it is one of the most developed soil forest in the area, covering 2.3 square kilometers. It is located at the Huxi Village of Wumao Township. Therefore it is also called Wumao Soil Forest. On the whole, soil forest here is of the shape of the castle or the folding screen, or the window shade. The average height of the soil is 10 to 15 meters, and the highest is 27 meters. Looking at the forest from a high place in the distance, you will find it covered with dongas and ravines, displaying a sense of roughness and desolation, like an abandoned castle. Looking at it from a close site, you will find it like grand groups of soil sculpture.

Most of the scenic spots are distributed along the dried river bed from east to west with a length of 1500 meters. There are some branch river beds lying at each side, totaling 4300 meters. Colorful gravels and yellow fine sands cover the surface of the soil.

How to get there:

It takes about RMB 5 Yuan to go from the Yuanmon County to Wumao Township by minibus. Toad from Wumao Township to the Soil Forest is of sandstone and you can go by riding a horse or by taking a carriage or a minibus. A horse ride will cost about 15-20 Yuan an hour. A carriage is about 5 Yuan and a minibus is about 20 Yuan. You can also take a horse to have a brief visit in the Soil Forest as the horse only goes to the main path and three major branches. If you want to visit all the scenic spots on foot, it will take 6-8 hours.

Accommodation: There are some small hotels like the villas to the west of the entrance, which charge about RMB 120-180 Yuan.Accommodation: There are some small hotels like the villas to the west of the entrance, which charge about RMB 120-180 Yuan.


Yuanmou Soil Forest Xinhua Town
Xinhua Soil Forest is located 33 kilometers west of the Yuanmon County in the Xinhua Township, about 15 kilometers away from the Banguo Soil Forest, covering an aea of 8 square kilometers. The soil hills here are dense and grand, with all kinds of shapes especially the conical ones. These hills are well developed and the average height is about 8-25 meters. The highest part can reach 42.8 meters.

Color of the Xinhua soil forest is very rich. For example, the top of the soil hills are usually amaranth while the middle part are grey and the bottom are yellow. Looking from the distance, you will feel as if you are walking into some magnificent palaces. Walking among the soil hills you will feel as if you are touring through a beautiful gallery. A horseback ride through this landscape is highly recommended, for although the color of the rocks is monotonous, the sharp angles and shapes create strong shadowy contrasts, very good for photography. Hares and wild birds are seen here and there in the forest too.

The vegetation of the soil hills here are good too. Several small water reservoirs can be found around the Forest and there are winding brooks going through the hills too. Sometimes wild birds, hares and other small animals can be seen. It is a good place to enjoy the nature.

How to get there:

Road from Yuanmon to Xinhua is the simple countryside path. So it is quite dusty in the dry season and muddy in the rainy days. A regular bus goes from the Yuanmon County to Xinhua Township at 8:30 everyday, which charges RMB 12 Yuan a person. Because of the poor road condition it usually takes about 4-5 hours to finish the 32-kilometer journey. A minibus package tour will cost abut RMB 120 Yuan.

Travel Tips:
The best time to visit the soil forest is from November to the following March as the weather will be warm and dry here. If it is rainy, the road will be too muddy and cause problems. In April to May, when it is hot and dry, the sunny days offer great opportunities for photography. From June to October, it often rains here and the soil hills are soft and weak, which is not good news for the visitors. 

It is extremely important to take a compass to locate the directions in the soil forest. Make certain obvious marks at the parting of the ways so that you may have a way to look back. Banguo and Xinhua Soil Forest belong to the depopulated area, in which there are no residents. So, you had better keep in a group and do not go out all alone. If you are lost in the soil forest, walk from the narrow parts to the wider ones, and it will be easier for you to find the main path.

It is quite dangerous to climb up the soil hills especially during the rainy season. Even when it is dry, visitors should choose these hills with slow slopes and go up from the places of shrubs and bushes.

It is recommended that visitors may tour the soil forest either in the morning or late in the afternoon since the temperature of the soil may rise high at noon. Sometimes temperature in a day may differ 10—15¡æ.It is extremely hot at noon and relative cool and comfortable in the morning and late in the afternoon.

Visitors had better take on long boots since there are too many soft fine sands on the ground.

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