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Reed Flute Cave & Ling Canal

Reed Flute Cave (Lu Di Yan)

With its location five kilometers northwest of the downtown of Guilin, the Reed Flute Cave is a brilliant cave marked on almost all travel itineraries. The cave got its name from the verdant reeds growing outside it, with which people make flutes. Inside this water-eroded cave is a spectacular world of various stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations created by carbonate deposition. Illuminated by colored lighting, the fantastic spectacle is found in many variations along this 240-meter-long cave. Walking through the serried stone pillars, tourists feast their eyes on changing spots, feeling they are in a paradise where the Gods live.

Tourists in the cave
Tourists in the cave
Tourists enter the cave and then take a U-shaped sight-seeing route to see different spots, whereupon they exit it from another cave quite near the entrance one. One trip lasts about one hour. It is a Chinese habit to give each formation a legendary or poetic name such as Crystal Palace, Dragon Pagoda, Virgin Forest, Flower and Fruit Mountain and other interesting names. For some of these names, you need to use your imagination, but the story behind each is quite fun. It's a pleasure to listen to romantic or fairy tales whilst appreciating the fantastic stone formations. Both the stories and the lighting add mystery to the scene. Although there are different kinds of lighting inside, you are not supposed to take photos unless you are a professional photographer, because the light inside is not sufficient for exposure. At some spots, such as the Crystal Palace or Flower and Fruit Mountain, special photography is offered at 20 yuan for one picture. (They use special equipment to provide enough illumination.) Some 70 inscriptions on the cave wall are said to be travelogues and poems derived from the Tang Dynasty, which made the cave a popular tourist site at that time.
Spectacular interior scene of the cave
Spectacular interior scene of the cave
    
The illuminated cave looks like a fairyland.
The illuminated cave looks like a fairyland.
A park is built for the cave with zigzag path, elegant pavilions, ponds, bridges, plants and other garden structures.

Travel Care: Get some reed flutes for friends and remember to bargain with the vendor for a better price.

Admission Fee: CNY 90
Opening Hours: December to March: 08:00 to 17:30
April to November: 7:30-18:00
Recommended
Time for a Visit:
Three hours
Bus Route: 3, 58 (free but the departure interval is very long)
 Guilin Bus Search

 Another Recommended Cave: Silver Cave

Ling Canal

Ling Canal is situated in Xing'an County, 66 kilometers (41 miles) away to the northeast of Guilin in Guangxi Province. It is one of the oldest and most integrated canals in existence in the world. Beautiful scenery, cultural relics, and historical sites make the Ling Canal a famous local scenic spot.

The canal was built from 219BC to 214BC in the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259BC - 210BC, the first emperor who unified China) and renovated several times in the following dynasties. After annexing the six countries (Qi States, Chu States, Yan States, Han States, Zhao States, Wei States), Qin Shi Huang dispatched 500,000 troops to the regions south of the Five Ridges (covering Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces). However, there were no convenient roads to the south. Therefore, Qin Shi Huang ordered Shi Lu (an official of the Qin) to take charge of the building of a canal which would enable the transportation of food and money for the army. When completed, the project not only facilitated the transporting of goods but also provided irrigation to the region. In a word, it played an important role in the integration of China and the prosperity of that region.

The canal, about 34 kilometers (21 miles) long, consists of two parts: the northern canal and the southern canal. Connecting the Xiang River and the Li River, the canal is 10 meters (32 feet) in length and 1.5 meters (5 feet) in depth. Each of the five parts of the canal has a specific function. For example, Hua Zui, in the shape of a ploughshare, is a stone dam made of giant stones. Its function is to divide the upper reaches of a sea partly into the northern canal which disembogues itself into the Xiang Rive and partly into the southern canal, which empties into the Li River. Scientifically designed, it still performs its function in terms of irrigation.

Transportation: Take train 2514 at 8:16 AM from Guilin and get off at Xing'an Station. Ling Canal is in the southeast of that county.