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Reed Flute Cave is a fascinating gallery of natural sculptures (limestone cave formations), now enhanced by multicolored lighting. It has been one of Guilin's many interesting attractions for over 1,200 years.
It rates as one of the top four tourist sites in the city. The cave got its name from a type of reed growing outside, which can be made into melodious flutes.
The cave is filled with a large number of stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations in weird and wonderful shapes. Illuminated by the colored lights, the cave looks like a dazzling underground palace. That's why the cave is also known as 'Nature's Art Palace'. The most liked formations are Rose Dawn over Lion Peaks, Double Columns and Crystal Palace.
You will see tall mountains, thick forests, and a lion family. No, you are not in the wild but in Reed Flute Cave, and all these fancy sceneries have been formed by nature. Look at the large lion and you will be able to clearly identify its head, body, and tail. It looks like it is protecting the lion cubs that are playing by its side.
Some stalactites have formed a splendid stone forest and, in this forest, two stone columns appear to be reaching into the sky. Look carefully and you will see that the tops of the columns are not completely connected to the roof.
Researchers have said that the stalactites are still growing due to the calcium content of the water, so the columns will eventually connect to the roof of the cave one day. This process may take another one or two centuries and it would be interesting to see the difference after 100 years have passed.
This is the widest place inside Reed Flute Cave and a legend states it is the crystal palace of the Dragon King. You may be wondering why there are no stalactites and stalagmites in this area. The reason the rocks there are smooth and flat is that the water washed everything away and left nothing behind. The roof is also a complete rock that the water cannot permeate.
See other karst caves to visit in Guilin
Inside the cave there are more than 70 inscriptions written in ink, which can be dated back as far as 792 AD in the Tang Dynasty (618–907). These aged inscriptions tell us that it has been an attraction in Guilin since ancient times. Millions of tourists have visited Reed Flute Cave since its official opening as a tourist attraction in 1962.
About 1 million years ago, the cave used to be an underground lake, then it rose with the earth and became a cave. After that, the rain dissolved the limestone on the hills and calcium carbonate was introduced into the cave. Centuries passed and the calcium carbonate precipitated into crystal in the cave, forming the oddly-shaped stalactites and stalagmites.
Learn more about karst landforms in Guilin.
Long ago, Reed Flute Cave was an empty cave. One year, greedy officials stole some riches from the people as presents for the emperor’s birthday. The moon fairy, Chang’e, was angry about this. She used her power to take the treasures back and stored them in the cave, planting some reeds to mark where they were. However, she became ill from using too much power and failed to return the treasures to the people. After many years, the treasures in the cave turned to beautiful stones.
The temperature inside the cave is about 17°C (63°F). You may notice it feels cooler inside the cave than outside, especially in summer, so wear long-sleeved clothing if necessary. Wear long trousers to avoid mosquito bites.
You may need an English-speaking guide to help you admire the cave because he/she will interpret the shapes of the stones for you. During peak seasons, your guide can also help you to avoid the crowds.
Although it is illuminated by colored lights, it is hard to take good photos inside the cave. You can try to use the HDR function if your smartphone or camera has one, or read some professional articles for suggestions.
China Highlights is based in Guilin, and we know tourism in Guilin better than anyone else. We have designed a dozen of Guilin tours to help our customers take advantage of their stay in Guilin. Here are some sample tours for your reference:
The above are sample tours. They can be modified according to your interests and requirements. We are glad to create a tour which is unique for you.