The Fascinating Reed Flute Cave of Guilin, China

There are so many reasons why you should visit the Chinese city of Guilin, as it offers gorgeous scenery, a serene environment and loads of natural attractions. One of the top sites to visit in Guilin is undeniably the Reed Flute Cave.

This ancient cave is known for being illuminated by artificial rainbow colored lighting. This natural cave, which was carved out of limestone mountains, is believed to be more 180 million years. It contains large stalagmites, stalactites, and fascinating rock formations. If anyone has doubts on the age of Red Flute, the inscriptions found inside is the strongest proof of its old age. Scientists discovered that some of the oldest inscriptions date back to 792 AD.


You can find Reed Flute Cave just five kilometers northwest of Guilin’s downtown area. Because of its accessibility and natural beauty, it is included in most travel itineraries that aim to explore the Chinese province. Named after the verdant reeds that grown inside it, the cave covers an area of 240 meters. If you embark on a tour exploring the cave, expect to walk through stone pillars, pass an underground lake, and marvel at rock formations, which are no doubt the masterpieces of Mother Nature.

Each of these formations were given names in accordance with Chinese tradition, and such names were based on legends and famous poems. Dragon Pagoda, Fruit Mountain, Virgin Flower and Crystal Palace are just some of the examples. If you are taking a tour around Reed Flute Cave, you will usually follow a U-shaped route, which allows you to see all the interesting spots of the cave. Then, you will exit from the other opening of the cave, which is close to the entrance.


Tours of the cave typically lasts an hour, but you can visit the cave on your own and stay longer you wish. The artificial lights inside Reed Flute have sensors and are activated when metal passes over them. If you are going to explore the cave on your own, it is best to just tag along with a group to make sure you can look at each rock attraction with the lights are on.

If you decide to go at your own pace, try to grab one of the metal torches used by the guides at the entrance. But there is no guarantee you can get one. To be proactive, just bring your own a high-powered flashlight, ideally enclosed in a metal case. The cave floor can be wet and muddy, so make sure to bring comfortable and durable shoes like sneakers. Avoid sandals, unless you feel comfortable getting your feet wet and dirty. The temperature inside Reed Flute is significant lower than outside, so remember to bring a light jacket or sweater, especially if you are the type that gets cold easily.


Outside the cave, there is a man-made park that is adorned with beautiful pavilions, bridges, ponds and plants. It is a mini-attraction in itself as it has many souvenir stands and offers boat rides perfect for visiting families with small children. It only takes 20 minutes to reach the cave by car. There are also free bus services, particularly Bus no. 3 and 58, which brings passengers to the cave area. However, should you decide to take such services, take note that the interval period for the buses can be long.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!