Are you looking for one of China’s quirkiest attractions? Perfect. The Reed Flute Cave might be just what your itinerary needs.
It’s colorful, artistic, and considered a natural wonder nestled in the countryside of Guilin. Visitors can spend a little time underground, exploring the caverns and photographing the stalagmites.
The natural scene is lit by multi-colored lights, making a visit to these caves truly unique. Tourists and locals find it so interesting that it’s continually seen visitors for more than 1,200 years.
Want to see what the cave is all about? Make sure to visit on your next trip to Guilin.
Interesting Facts About Reed Flute Cave
-The cave is over 180 million years old.
-It is 787 feet in length.
-It features historic writing and formations of limestone.
-While the cave has been around for many years, it was rediscovered by modern civilization during the 1940s.
-The cave got its name because of the amount of reeds that grow all around it.
-Inside the cave are more than 70 inscriptions that are all written in ink.
-It is located just five kilometers northwest from the city of Guilin.
-There is now a U-shaped path throughout the cave so that tourists can explore safely.
History of Reed Flute Cave
It’s speculated that the cave was formed around 600,000 years ago. According to geologists, the cave was once part of an underground lake.
As the water level retreated and the mountains grew, the cave was eventually formed. It was during this process that the calcium carbonate began to build within the rocks.
While historians can’t be completely certain, evidence shows that man discovered the Reed Flute cave during the Tang Dynasty (618-907.) There were 70 ink inscriptions in the cave which led researchers to this timeframe.
As the times progressed, the cave became a useful hiding spot during the war. Because it was surrounded by giant reeds, people were easily able to hide here. And, this is also where the cave got its current name.
It was during the Sino-Japanese war and World War II that locals started actively using the cave as a hiding spot. It’s even been documented that printing companies, hospitals, and newspaper businesses took refuge in the Reed Flute Cave during the war.
In 1962 the cave was finally opened up to the public although there are records that indicate that the cave was a tourist attraction long before then.
Now, millions of tourists come to visit the cave every single year.
The Culture of Reed Flute Cave
This attraction is considered a natural site for visitors who appreciate the outdoors. It is surrounded by folklore and stories, which make it a cultural icon in the area.
The stalagmites and stalactites are the main attraction for visitors. However, much of its popularity comes from the colorful lights that are used to illuminate the natural features.
There are interesting paths, ponds, bridges, and pavilions for visitors to enjoy as well.
When visiting for a tour, guests will get the rundown of stories for each part of the cave. As per tradition, the locals have pointed out the different rock formations, the shapes that they represent, and the stories behind them.
The tales are more for fun though, as they are mostly folklore without any tangible history. Many of the figures have been deemed realistic shapes to accompany the stories. There are human figures, a mushroom, flowers, the fruit mountain, Dragon pagoda flower, and the crystal palace.
While the cave is the main attraction, there are other sites to see nearby. If you are visiting Reed Flute Cave, make sure to also check out:
-The Moon and Sun Pagoda: This iconic pagoda and the lake that surrounds it make a lovely side trip.
-The Guilin Art Museum: This museum holds more than 20,000 artifacts from ancient times.
-The Li River Folk Custom Center: Here you can find folk art, music from various ethnic groups, dance shows, and food.
-Black Hill Botanic Garden: A pretty botanic garden that is one of the oldest in China.
-Elephant Trunk Hill: This hill has a natural arch that makes it look like the trunk of an elephant. It’s a popular place for photo opportunities in the area.
-Gudong Waterfall: A waterfall that receives much of its flow from natural springs.
-Diecai Mountain: Here, visitors can find a park that has been built around several peaks. Guests can climb to the top, visit the butterfly museum, and wander through the aviary.
-Crown Cave: Another cave that requires an elevator to get inside. There is also a waterfall inside the cave. This cave is so impressive that it even has a monorail and a boat system that will take you around.
-Yaoshan Hill Park: This county park holds the highest peak in the area. Visitors can climb to the top via the footpath to get stunning views of the area.
-Seven Star Park: A small zoo can be found this large park. Visitors can see the Giant Pandas as well as the Red Pandas. Bears, tigers, and monkeys can be found here too.
-Li River: This beautiful river looks like something out of a Chinese painting. The banks are filled with locals washing their clothes or fishing. And, the karst mountains jut into the foggy skies. Make sure to take a bamboo raft ride if you visit.
Tips For Visiting Reed Flute Cave
-Make sure to wear sturdy shoes because the cave can get quite slippery.
-Try hiring an English-speaking guide if you want to understand the stories about the cave.
-Visit during low season (fall and winter) so that there won’t be as many crowds.
-Bring a camera because the illuminated and colorful cave is perfect for photos.