This is one the most popular caves in Yixing according to TripAdvisor in 2016. Tourists like it because it is very big, and they like the boat ride in it. It is brightly lit as Chinese caves are, but many tourists like the color and laser display.
There are four main chambers in the whole cave system with a stream stream and a waterfall. People like the waterfall and the sound of it a lot, and they enjoy the boat ride on the big pond inside. At the end of the cave near the exit, there is a ceramic demonstration.
- Chinese 善卷洞 Shànjuǎn Dòng /shan-jwen dong/ 'Benevolent Scroll Cave'
- Special Distinction: The biggest cave at Yixing. The most popular of the three sightseeing caves in the area.
- Key features: A very big cave. Boat ride. Park outside.
- Old legend: It is said that two loves were there. One was a woman who dressed as a man to get an education at a school.
- Location: It is 20 km (13 mi) from southwestern Yixing. Yixing is a part of Wuxi in Jiangsu Province. It is only about 110 km (70 mi) from the outskirts of Shanghai.
- Activities: cave sightseeing, learning about ceramics making for which Yixing is noted because of the unusual clay there.
- Suitable for: It isn't the best cave system in China and is not really worth a long trip to see. But it is suitable if you are in the region.
The cave itself, the park land outside, entertainment, and pottery and tea culture. The scenic area includes a park in front of the Shanjuan Cave.
Inside are stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations. The place is illuminated by colored lighting. The total area of the complex is thousands of square meters. The cave as four main caverns. The cave complex consists of four levels called Shang (top), Xia (bottom), Zhong (middle) and Hou (back).
Shang (Top) Cave
When tourists enter the cave, they will first come into a large area. It is like a palace, and it has the name of Lion and Elephant Plaza. It is about 1,000 square meters in area. There are two huge stones on each side. One sort of looks like a lion and the other one sort of looks like an elephant. The Lion and Elephant Plaza is big enough to admit thousands of people.
Shang Cave features: It has a length of 70 meters, a width of 30 meters, and a height of 30 meters. It is bigger than the Middle Cave. Inside the cave, there is continual mist and a pool. The temperature stays constant at about 23 degrees Celsius or so. Therefore, the cave is also called "Warm Cave."
Zhong (Middle) Cave
People have to climb up stairs to the Middle Cave. There are interesting rock shapes. Many people go there just for an expectation of deep and lifelong love that is an ideal traditional relationship.
Xia (Bottom) Cave
It has a length of 180 meters, a width of 18 meters and a height of 22 meters. Outside the cave is an escarpment that is six meters high. When it rains heavily, a waterfall surges down to the cliff. So it is nicknamed "Waterfall Cave" too.
Hou (Back) Cave
The Hou cave is decorated with colorful lights. It is connected to Water Cave.
The last cave has a big pond in it. It is about 120 meters long (393 feet), 4.5 meters deep, and 6 meters wide. To leave the cave, tourist sit in the boats. But they have to watch their heads since the top of the cave is low.
Best Time To Go
- To avoid the crowds: Avoid weekends and holidays. Hiking and sightseeing in the area is best done when it is quiet.
- Recommended duration: an hour or a few hours depending on what you want to do in the park. There is also a butterfly exhibit to see.
Transport to Yixing and the Cave
Flight: The Shuofang Airport is a domestic airport in Wuxi.
By bullet train, Shanghai is only 2½ hours from Yixing and 45 minutes from Hangzhou.
Local bus: The tourist bus Y2 goes to Shanjuan Cave (Shanjuan Dong) from the Yixing Bus Station.
Private Driver - free of hassles, more flexibility
The best way to go to the caves is with a private driver since there is a paucity of public transport to the outskirts of Wuxi from central Wuxi or Shanghai. We can arrange private transport from/to your hotel or the station or airport.
Shanghai is 2½ hours away by car. If you take a taxi there, the taxi driver might not be willing to wait for your return trip.
- General admission tickets: Generally about 70 yuan or 11 USD for the caverns only. Extra for other things such as the gondola ride. A more general ticket costs 145 yuan.
- Time: 7:30 am to 5 pm.
Around Lu Mountain
Shanjuan Cave Scenic Area is situated on Luyan ('Lu Hill'). On the hill, several other attractions are under renovation or construction, such as Yuantong Chamber, Baidou Terrace and Xiyu Pavilion. A traveler can take a 400-meter long cable car to reach the attractions.
In the Shanjuan Cave Scenic Area and nearby, there are other places of interest. For example, at the foot of Luyan Mountain is an old village called Zhuling Village where a beautiful legend called Butterfly Lovers is said to have happened. The academy that it is said that they attended was recreated. Travelers can sit in the mock up.
In the Butterfly Lovers legend, two lovers named Liang Shango and Zhu Yingtai (梁山伯与祝英台) meet during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317–410). Zhu Yingtai wanted to break traditions that restricted females from going to school. She convinced her father to allow her to disguise herself as a young man and travel to Hangzhou to attend classes in Zhuling Village. During her journey, she met Liang Shanbo who was another scholar. Zhu Yingtai fell in love with Liang Shanbo. It is said that when they died the two lovers became butterflies.
Touring Popular Places with China Highlights
- Our 3-Day Shanghai Essence Tour is a tour around Shanghai, but we can extend or modify it to include this attraction and others in Yixing.