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Home Travel in Yunnan Luliang Colorful Sand Forest
Luliang Colorful Sand Forest
Travel in Yunnan

The Colorful Sand Forest in Luliang (lù liáng cǎi sè shā lín 陆良彩色沙林) is a national tourist resort at the AAAA level. The whole Sand Forest looks like a Y. It covers an area of about 6 kilometers. The main tinges here are yellow, white, red and gray. The Colorful Sand Forest came into being about 340 million years ago. It was a physiognomic wonder resulting from the gradual influence of the impacts of earthquakes, the ejection of the magma, the movement of the earth’s crust, and the erosion of the wind and rain. It is also a whole consisting of all kinds of sand posts, sand peaks and sand screens. In addition, engraving with sand will sure give you a different feeling.


shalin2Located in Luliang County (lù liáng xiàn 陆良县), Qujing City (qǔ jìng shì 曲靖市) , the Sand Colored Forest has several scenic spots of high value within its 25km area. From the Yunnan provincial capital Kunming (kūn míng 昆明), take the 324 national freeway and drive just 128 kilometers to reach the Luliang Sand Forest. It was formed thousands and thousands of years ago while this landscape used to be an ocean. The current attraction covers an area of about six square kilometers.

There are the marvelous Sand Colored Forest unique in the world, and the ancient "Two gravestones of the family of Cuan (cuàn 爨)", which is one of the most precious and valued artifacts in the country, as well as the national level Wufeng Mountain Primitive Forest Park (wǔ fēng shān yuán shǐ sēn lín gōng yuán 五峰山原始森林公园), the ancient battlefield of the Three Kingdoms (sān guó 三国) and the Zhongnan Mountain (zhōng nán shān 终南山), which is the summer resort of the celebrated family of Cuan in Nan Bei Dynasty (nán běi cháo 南北朝).

The Sand Colored Forest has numerous unique scenic spots of sandy groups, sandy peaks, sandy posts, sandy bottomlands and sandy caves of every description, showing directly the varied local culture, the history of the period of Three Kingdoms and folk custom. With the changes of the intensity and angles of sunlight in different seasons and climates, the landscape of Sand Forest will change its color, including red, yellow, white, cyan, gray, purple, blue and black, etc, becoming various natural scenery with different colors. The changeful view shows its characteristic of “strange, abundant, unique, beautiful, interesting, magnificent and variable”.

shalin3Unlike the common beach sand, the Luliang Sand Forest is a combination of sand and stone that cumulate as prominences and mounts. The glory of reflection from the sunshine reproduces a magnificent view of its distinctive character quite like the Stone Forest, but a finer version.

Due to the nature of a mixture of mud and sand, the hills and mounts have an extraordinary cohesive force making it possible for sculpture artists to create complicated works and statues for the annual International Sand Sculpture Festival. Young artists from America, Canada, England, and France join together with Chinese performers to exercise their creativities with broad imagination.

International Sand Sculpture Festival

Since 2001, the Sand Forest annually holds the International Colorful Sand Sculpture Festival and Contest, which is a big appeal to tourists. In comparison, among the “Three Forests” in Yunnan, the Stone Forest (shí lín 石林) impresses visitors with its variability; the Soil Forest in Yuanmou County (yuán móu tǔ lín 元谋土林) astonishes visitors with its vastness; and the Colorful Sand Forest turns out as an amalgam of the both. No wonder it’s deemed as “the No. 1 Wonder under the Sun”.

shalin4The Annual International Sand Sculpture Festival is held on March 8, and includes the International Sand Culture Research Forum; the Colorful Sand Forest Photograph Exhibition; Sand Sculpture Cup Volleyball Competition; Sand Sculpture Cup Calligraphy Competition; and Sand Sculpture Bowling Competition. This event is officially designated as one of the major occasions in the World Sand Sculpture Committee. The quality of sand is also well selected this year and the color range has been increased from choice of six to 12.

Vivid colored sand hills represent the outstanding quality of Luliang natural resource. The sand sculpture festival committee allows the participants to use other techniques including light, sound, fire and smoke to express the greatness of art works. For instance, one of the statues contains a sound sensor that plays an introduction announcement when visitors appear. Another sculpture arranged lighting affects that reproduce the film scene of Harry Potter with the mysterious story.

shalin5The International Sand Sculpture Festival is held at the end of March, right after the Chinese New Year, although accommodation is at a premium then. People show all kinds of historical stories and characters in the masterpieces through sand carvings. If you are interested, you can find a patch of sandlot and do the carvings yourself. The works of the sand carvings are usually exhibited from the April to the end of October each year. One of the delights of a visit to Luliang is the opportunity to admire, and buy sand art crafts. A sand painting is a distinctive object, based like so many things in the Boyi (bó yí 伯夷) community, on century old traditions.

Admission Fee: CNY 100
Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00
Transportation: It is 143 kilometers from Kunming to the Colorful Sand Forest. Take passenger cars from Kunming to Luliang, then take No.5 bus in Luliang to the Colorful Sand Forest.