Discover a landscape from another planet: The Reed Flute Caves

Discover a landscape from another planet: The Reed Flute Caves

Located in southern China, its spectacular rock formations and careful lighting make these caves seem like a magical place, almost from another world.

The Reed Flute Caves are part of almost every tourist itinerary in the Guangxi Zhuang region. They are located a few kilometers northwest of the city of Guilin, in southern China.

Its name, which translated means ‘reed flute’, is due to the fact that on the outskirts of the cave many reeds grow with which flutes are made.

How were the Reed Flute Caves formed?

Inside you will discover a spectacular world that is the product of water erosion. Calcium carbonate deposits form stalactites, stone pillars, and impressive rock formations.

Its formation dates back to more than 600,000 years ago, when the cave was an underground lake. As the water level dropped, the lake began to turn into a cave. Over the centuries, calcium carbonate dissolved, crystallized, and deposited to form the beautiful structures we see today.

Magic place and hideaway

Much later, the cave was discovered by man. It was used as a secret place and, of course, endowed with some magic. On its walls, you can find more than 70 ink inscriptions. These are a testimony to the occupation of the cave as early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Later, during World War II and the Sino-Japanese War, the caves served as hiding places. The local population hid in these caves, since the entrance was formerly covered by reeds. This made it the perfect hideaway for wartime. Finally, in 1962 it was opened to the public.

The history behind the site, coupled with its incredible beauty, have made the Reed Flute Caves enormously famous in the region around Guilin. That is why thousands of tourists visit them every year.

But it is not all. In addition to the natural formations, the caves are equipped with colored lighting. It will make you feel that you have entered a paradise of supernatural beauty.

Discover the story behind the poetic names of the different caves

It is part of the Chinese tradition to name each formation with a poetic or legendary name. Several examples are the Crystal Palace or the Dragon Pagoda, among others. You will have to use your imagination to visualize the names on the shapes of the rocks.

On the guided tour you will be able to listen to the tales and legends behind these names while appreciating the fantastic formations. The stories, together with the lighting, give the scene even more mystery.

A landscape from another planet: inspiration for Star Wars?

Tour guides in the area have a favorite anecdote, that’s clear. And it is one that has to do with the production of the science fiction saga Star Wars.

Both the production company and George Lucas’ scenography technicians visited the incredible interior of these caves, fascinated by the fame they had in the region. Local guides say the striking beauty of the Reed Flute Caves inspired some of the intergalactic scenes in the movies.

George Lucas’s team, meanwhile, has never confirmed these rumors. But the truth is that these caves are indeed a landscape from another planet. As you can imagine, a visit to these caves is a must if you are in southern China.

How to get to the Reed Flute Caves from Guilin

The caves are located about 7 kilometers from the center of Guilin. They can be reached either by bus (it takes 30 minutes) or by taxi (7 minutes).

If you decide to go by bus, there are two options:

Bus 3 to Ludiyan
Bus 213 to Ludiyan Tingchechang

The entrance fee to the caves is 90 yuan. Or, what is the same, just over 10 euros. The route is done on foot and follows a U-shaped route.

During this tour, different stops are made to admire the most beautiful places in the caves. It lasts about an hour.
Keep in mind the caves’ hours, which change depending on the season.

April-November: open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
December-March: open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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