Guilin Tour - Cave Exploration
Your Guilin tour is incomplete if you don’t visit these two caves:
• Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Cave)
• Crown Cave
It is best to visit the Reed Flute Cave first and the Crown Cave next. Why? If you visit the Crown Cave first, you might lose interest in any other caves. But if you visit Reed Flute Cave first, you are going to see a cave extremely fascinating, and another cave even more glamorous.
The two underground Guilin tours are very colourful and are likely to keep your eyes extremely busy.
Reed Flute Cave
A typical Guilin tour must include Reed Flute Cave. It is one of the most famous and invaluable underground treasures in Guilin, and even China. Its name is derived from reed grasses which grow in front of the cave and is used to make flutes. (lu = reed; di = flute)
Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Cave) is a U-shaped limestone cave 5 km northwest from the centre of Guilin. It is 240 meters in length. However your tour can last 500 meters inside the cave. It was discovered in 1959 and opened to public in 1962.
Inside the Cave
You need to take extra care in this underground Guilin tour. The cave is dark, wet and with winding staircases, though not slippery. However, you are advised to walk and mind your steps; stop and view the scenery. You would expect to get a little wet as water drips down.
Some places are more open while some others are narrow. You would find underground streams and ponds. The calm waters reflections make the place even more spectacular.
Reed Flute Cave is illuminated by lots of Chinese styled colour lightings. They are only on when you are there, and off when you pass by. The lightings are beautiful, however making the place over artificial.
Reed Flute Cave – A Fairyland on Earth
The cave contains an overwhelming abundance of beautiful stalactites (grow downwards from ceiling), stalagmites (grow upwards from ground), stone columns, stone curtains, stone pillars in fantastic shapes. It is subject to your imagination of how to name them.
Guilin tour guides don’t like to talk about the formation of caves. Instead they like to invent names for the bizarre rocks such as Hill of Flowers and Fruits, Crystal Palace, Rosy Dawn in the Lion Hill, Round-topped Mosquito Net, Dragon-shaped Pagoda and so on.
I don’t like these names personally. However the numerous remarkable scenes in the Reed Flute Cave are extremely splendid. They’ll undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable beautiful memories for your Guilin travel in China.
Before I introduce Crown Cave, I must emphasis one important thing. No writing or photograph can tell you how grand and how marvellous the Crown Cave is. You must have to come see it yourself.
Crown Cave is relatively a baby in Guilin tour, only opened to public in 1995. It is 29 km south if Guilin city, a must-see for your Guilin travel.
Crown Cave earns its name from the crown-shape crag of the hill. ‘Crown’ in Chinese also carries the meaning of ‘number one’ and ‘winning’. Indeed, Crown Cave carries all the features of a Chinese ‘crown’.
Why Crown Cave?
My Guilin tour already includes Reed Flute Cave, why Crown Cave? Because Reed Flute Cave’s strength is variations and diversifications. Crown Cave on the contrary has the strength of ‘grand’. Perhaps I shall compare Crown Cave as a cave with Grand Canyon as a canyon. Therefore your Guilin tour of visiting two caves won’t be duplicating. They will give you two completely difference experiences.
Crown Cave – A Super Fairyland on Earth
This mammoth cave consists of giant size stalactites and stalagmites of grotesque and imposing shapes. If Reed Flute Cave is a fairyland, Crown Cave is a super fairyland, a place beyond my ability to describe in writing.
Crown Cave is a 12-km long, also limestone cave. Only the 3 km nearest the Li River has been explored. On the bank of Li River, the cave consists of dry and drained portions.
Crown Cave has all kinds of up-scale tourist facilities. There is a 36-m sightseeing elevator; a 3.2-km monorail and you can also explore the cave by rafting. Lightings and audio guides are fully automatic.
If you go by monorail, after a 10-minutes scenic ride viewing the beautiful Li River, you’ll soon like entering a time tunnel and you are in the Crown Cave. You can then walk to the breathtaking Grand Hall of Palm Tree. This place is so magnificent that a real forest won’t look as grand as it is. You’ll just wonder how Nature has crafted such a miraculous landscape.
You can also choose to walk and have close encounter with these rock formation probably from millions of years ago.
Reed Flute Cave: ¥60
Take bus number 3 or bus number 58 for free
Crown Cave: ¥60
Take bus from Guilin city or stop by the Crown Cave pier on a Li River cruise.
China travel tip: Taking photographs inside Guilin caves
Guilin travel to the two caves is full of beautiful photogenic spots. You just can’t stop taking photos. But with a normal camera, you are unlikely to take any good photo. You’ll just waste time and effort.
You’ll need extra illumination and a tripod, as if you were taking night photos. And of course you would need a camera with long exposure function. If that’s too much for you, just buy the service from in-cave photographers. Computer printed instant photo is generally ¥10 each.
Anna’s Notes to Travel Photographers
If you haven’t been to China, I would highly recommend Guilin be your next destination. You might have many landscape pictures taken from all over the world. Yet have you got some absolutely charming Chinese style photos in your portfolio?
Take a Guilin tour, get on board a Li River cruise to Yangshuo, you are exposed to countless photogenic spots.
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