May 7, 2018

Why the Reed Flute Caves Shine in Guilin China



Visiting the Stunning Reed Flute Caves in Guilin China


It's amazing what you can do with a little rock, water and patience.

Well, a little water, a lot of rock and all the patience in the world, I suppose.

Plenty of places talk about the caves they have but few have managed to entice me in.

Strange formations in the Reed Flute Caves in Guilin China

180 Million Years of Geology - Snazzed Up

Cave geology may be impressive but, let's face it, caves by their very nature are dark, dank and dangerous and I've cracked my skull enough times to have generally lost enthusiasm.

Yet China's Guilin province has come up with a better plan for its Reed Flute Caves.

A luxury cave plan: snazz up 180 million years of drip-drip-drip with 240 metres of illuminated walkways.

Stalactites in red. Stalagmites in blue.

Rippling water. Dripping water. Calm water.


Names that bring their countryside and culture to life through poetry: the Virgin Forest, Crystal Palace and Dragon Pagoda, to name a few.

Plus my favourite, the Mountain of Flower and Fruit.

Purple and violet cave formations in Portugal

Razzle Dazzle in the Largest Cave Network in Guilin

At the entrance, the poetry persists. Floating parasols decorate the tree tops in pops of sunshine yellow and orange among the green. Even the name joins in, with locals imagining the rock could be spirited into the air and music of reed flutes themselves.

It's a place of slippery illusion.

And words. Scripted, swirling words that date back to the Tang Dynasty and the year seven hundred and ninety two. Words that tell us that travellers came to visit Guilin's largest cave network well over one thousand years ago.

Today, of course, travellers come still to the place that China also calls the "Palace of the Natural Arts."

And for once I can see why: they are surprisingly beautiful caves.


Reed Flute Caves Guilin China-2


How to Reach the Reed Flute Caves Guilin

I travelled as part of my itinerary with China Odyssey Tours - but it's also possible to travel independently by bus. Find up to date information on reaching the Reed Flute Caves here. Updated 2018.



I visited the caves as part of the #dragonroute with  Cathay Pacific UK and travelled with China Odyssey Tours. Free to write whatever I like. As usual. As ever. As always.

When it comes to caves, lights and 180 million years of geology, words dissolve in the presence of blues, reds and slippery illusion-like greens as they spill out of the stone and onto the screen. These are the Reed Flute Caves of Guilin. - via @insidetravellab



  • I am planning on visiting these caves… any recommendations on how to take the best shots in the cave lighting?

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    top picks

    October 14, 2021

    Beshbarmak is the national dish in Kazakhstan, with a name that pleases Read more here...

    Beshbarmak: The Best Thing to do with Five Fingers in Kazakhstan

    October 7, 2021

    Ever feel as though you have the winter blues? Let the Hachinohe Read more here...

    What We Can All Learn from the Hachinohe Enburi in Japan

    May 11, 2021

    Are you wondering how to climb Mt Fuji in one day? I'm Read more here...

    How to Climb Mt Fuji in One Day (And Why You Should)

    Looking for something else?


    Download your free guide: 101 Travel Tips for grown ups