Photo on the wall of Zhongdian Airport showing the scene in mid winter.
Imagine leaving Zhongdian in 8 degrees and arriving in Kunming by plane an hour later at 21 degrees! This schedule is a bit too hectic for us! We were driven straight from the airport to the Stone Forest, still wearing our winter clothes, thermal underwear and heavy shoes and socks.
The Stone Forest is a geological phenomenon: a huge area of dark grey limestone karst formations (something like the Pinnacles but much higher, almost maze-like in places). We had lunch first in a really nice restaurant which featured local produce hanging from the ceiling: corn on the cobs, chillies, garlic etc. Then it was 3 hours walking around the Forest, up and down steps cut into the rock, until my gammy leg was just about giving way and we were all boiling hot and out of water. It's always hard to control the enthusiasm of the local guide, who is determined to show us and tell us everything!
However, we shouldn't complain as this was the first sunny day of the trip and it was lovely to see blue sky!