Guilin's celebrated Reed Flute Cave (Lúdí Yán, 芦笛岩) is just a 15 to 20 minute drive northwest of the downtown area. The cave's serpentine depths wind about within Guangming Mountain (Guāngmíng Shān, 光明山) and feature some remarkable rock formations. Each of these rock formations is named, rather extravagantly in some cases, for the thing it resembles—mushrooms, roses, lions, old men, etc. The cave itself is named for the green reeds growing inside, the same ones you might notice being used to make the slide whistles sold outside the cave.
Seeing the potential as a tourist attraction, the powers that be added illumination in the form of multi-colored neons to highlight the various rocky analogues. Unfortunately, this brings with it a certain tackiness and many are left wondering if the formations would so resemble their namesakes if the lighting situation was more natural. This also presents problems for photographers, but if you want a photo, there are professionals around the more prominent formations who will take snaps for you at about RMB 20 per exposure.
The path through the cave is several hundred meters long and winds around almost back upon itself. The exit is quite close to the entrance. The path, while not that long, will probably take an hour or more to navigate—especially if there are a couple of tour buses parked outside.
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