The largest and most impressive cave of Guilin is the Reed Flute Cave, also known as the “Palace of Natural Science”, which is located in the Mountain of Light northwest of the city. It takes its name from the reed that grows at the entrance to the cave and from which flutes can be made. In the 240-meter deep stalactite cave, you walk on a 500-meter long path through a sea of stalactites and stalagmites. A grotto called the Crystal Palace of the Dragon King holds 1,000 people. Today multicolored light artificially illuminates the cave. Although the illumination is impressive, it also promotes the growth of moss and algae.
Like the Terracotta Army of Xi’an, the Reed Flute Cave was also discovered or rediscovered by a farmer, since the cave was already used as a refuge by the inhabitants during earlier periods. It is over 180 million years old. There are also more than 70 inscriptions written in ink that can be dated to the Tang Dynasty until 792 AD. These ancient inscriptions tell that the cave was an attraction in Guilin since antiquity. Today, it is considered one of the four major tourist attractions of the city, beside the Li River, Elephant Trunk Hill, and Longji Rice Terraces.