Scenery along the Chengdu-Kunming Railway
Winding for 1,100 kilometers, Chengdu–Kunming railway connects Chengdu of Sichuan Province and Kunming of Yunnan Province. Starting from 500 meters above the sea level in the western Sichuan Plain, the railway traverses against the tide of Dadu and Niuri rivers; goes along the Sunshui River, Anning River and Yalong River, then jumps into the 1,000-meter-high Jinsha River Valley. It then goes up the Longchuan River and finally reaches the 1,900-meters-high Dianzhong (the center of Yunnan Province) Plateau.
Over 700 kilometers of the whole line meander through the mountainous area in the southwest of Sichuan Province and north of Yunnan Province. The terrain is rather complicated and varied, and travelers who take this train will enjoy a lot of matchless beautiful sceneries along the way.
1. Dadu River Valley
Measuring 26 kilometers, the Dadu River Valley starts from Wusihe town, Hanyuan county, Ya'an city in Sichuan Province in the west and ends at Yonghe town, Jinkouhe district in Leshan city. The deepest point is 2,690 meters and the narrowest point 70 meters. It is well known for its majestic steep crags on both banks. The imposing manner can rival the Three Gorges in the Yangtze River and even the Grand Canyon. It is a perfect place for viewing geological landscape, eco-travel, rock-climbing, drifting, explorations and scientific expedition. The famous scenic spots in the valley include "Moon Bay", "Valley of Love" and "Woniu (Crouched Ox) Pool".
2. Guangyuan Thousand Buddha Cliffside Statues
Located on the eastern bank of the Jialing River, five kilometers to the north of Guangyuan city, Guangyuan Thousand Buddha Cliffside Statues are the largest group of rock caves in Sichuan Province.
Originally built in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386–534), the statues are carved on the cliff measuring about 200 meters long and 45 meters tall. The grottoes and shrines are built tier upon tier and reach 13 layers. In 1935, over half of the statues were destroyed when the cliff was blasted away to pave the way for the Chuanshan (Sichuan to Shaanxi) Road. Today, there are over 400 existing niches and over 7,000 cliffside images.
Visitors on the Cheng Kun Railway trains can have a view of Guangyuan Thousand Buddha Cliffside Statues when the train passes Qingyi River Bridge.
Opening hours: 08:00 – 18:00
Admission fee: 10 yuan
3. Yuanmou Earth Forest
Located about 200 kilometers from Kunming, the Earth Forest (Tulin) is made up of seriously weathered rocks. Due to its large area (50 square kilometers), it is named "Earth Forest". This natural wonder is mainly in the color of yellow but they can also vary. Its forms are also diversified and impressive. According to the scientists, the Earth Forest contains rich fossils of animals such as stegodon bones and saber-toothed cat.
4. Kunming Stone Forest
Located in Shilin county, 85 kilometers southeast of Kunming, the Stone Forest is known as "one of the Earth's natural wonders." All visitors to Kunming whether from China or abroad go there to admire the unique scenery formed by the stones.
Covering a few hundred square kilometers, stone peaks rise abruptly from the ground in numerous layers like bamboo shoots, forests and pagodas. If you climb to the top of one of the peaks, you can see thousands of peaks and valleys just like a marvelous vast black forest. The roads wind around between the peaks, taking visitors to ever more unexpected and beautiful landscapes.
Admission fee: 175 yuan
Transportation: take the special tour bus at Kunming Railway Station to Stone Forest.
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