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The Wonderful Longgong Caves Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

For the entire day I saw around ten people. I also saw small boats, caves, mountains and picturesque rice fields. If you have time for only one site in Anshun city then this is the one to visit.

On the way to Anshun’s East or Local Bus Station located down Tashan Xilu I was more than doubtful about the day’s weather. The heavens looked like they were angry about something and that we were all about to receive punishment for whatever crime was committed.

Whatever it was I was nowhere near at the time! The only crime I committed today was waking feeling awesome with a sinus free head!

After a deliciously huge bowl of Won Ton Soup in the small snack stalls next to the bus station I decided to put my faith in both my umbrella and the roof of the cave and after grabbing an eight Yuan ticket I was soon on my way to the Longgong Caves which are also known as the Dragon Palace.

Yesterday on the way to the Huangguoshu Waterfalls I had spotted a large sign that read 'Dragon Palace 2km’ so I thought that we would be retracing the same bus route and as it was neither that interesting or that scenic I was happy when we ventured off into another direction. In fact I was overjoyed as the thirty minute (twenty three kilometer) journey to the Longgong Caves takes you high into the local mountains and through some of the most splendidly lush green rice fields in the Anshun area.

If I had of arrived to find the caves closed I think I would have remained smiling.

As I’m writing this four days later I can’t remember how much the ticket was to enter and I no longer have my ticket as I got drenched during yesterdays MaLing Gorge rafting adventure. My old LP says 120 Yuan but I think maybe it was 160 Yuan but don’t quote me it.

As the bus takes its final hill, me and the other ten people on the bus let out a gasp of astonishment at what we saw below us. As the Japanese have been doing for the past five or so years, the Chinese are now creating Chinese Characters in their rice fields by planting dark rice amongst the green rice and the end result really is breathtaking when seen in real life. Like you I have received several of the Emails that show the Japanese fields but when seen through your own eyes it is splendid indeed!

To get to the caves from the ticket office you need to take a small boat along a river lined by trees and rice fields with stunning karst scenery creating the usual southern China distant scenery.

The Longgong Cave scenic area includes much more than I imagined as there is sixty square kilometers of karst caves, waterfalls, small mountain walks and underground streams. The caves are fifteen to twenty kilometers long making it the longest karst river cave in China. Local legends says that Long Wang, the king of dragons, lives in an underground crystal palace within the caves, hence its name the Dragon Place. The caves also include an amazing underground waterfall at what is known as The Dragon Gate.

The waterfall is thirty four meters high and twenty five meters wide. The cave isn’t made up of a walk way and a single return boat ride like most.

In fact the underground river and boat ride runs for some five kilometers taking you past stalactites, landscape frescoes, the Crystal Palace and the cave is illuminated by deep greens and purples. I have met so many people that think that colourfully lighting a cave makes it tacky. I actually love the idea of lightening a cave up like a Bon Jovi or KISS concert so much so that when I do visit a cave that isn’t colourfully lit I find it a bit of a let-down.

Kind of like attending an early Beatles concert if you were a male. Without the lights there is nothing there to make its natural beauty shine. I find that they also make the underground landscape much more mysterious.

As the Longgong Caves are made up many caves there are actually several different boat rides before you reach the end of the first section after which you follow a peaceful small mountain pathway that ends at another small pool that is surrounded my karst peaks. For those that are a bit peckish here can be found two very small stalls were you can fill up on chicken drumsticks, tofu and other delicious snacks along with an ice cold water or two. From here you take another boat ride that begins at a small entrance in the cliff side and after a relaxing ride you then place foot upon stone and walk to where the last boats are waiting.

The adventure ends at another small yet beautiful pool beside the Dragon Gate Waterfall.

At thirty four meters high and twenty five meters wide and all beneath the ground with the entrance right in your face it really is an impressive sight and well worth waiting until your adventures end. After viewing the waterfall I was approached by several touts all pointing up the stairs yelling something and then telling me I had to pay ten Yuan. As I had no idea what they were yelling I was trying to figure out why I had to pay ten Yuan to exit the park and began trying to find another way out. As I couldn’t I then stopped to think and came up with the idea that maybe they had small vans and were offering lifts back to the ticket office.

So I began to play taxi driver and they began to laugh and informed me that I was correct.

On the stairs on the way to the van I met a couple of students, well actually they had been pretty much with me for most of the boat rides etc but had never spoken to me even when I did say hello to them in both English and Chinese. For some reason though one of them asked me where I was from and after telling him we all began to talk and I was totally flabbergasted!

Did you like that? Can I say it again please….ready?

His English was so totally amazing that I was freaking flabbergasted! You liked that didn’t you! Want me to use it again…ok I get it…too much!

Seriously though, he had only ever spoken to several foreigners in his entire life and loves English so much that he watches movies, listens to Podcasts and radio in his spare time and had waited the entire day to say hello back to me. In the end we didn’t catch the mini-van and placed one foot in front of the other and chatted until out heads almost exploded.

After an hour we had no idea where we were but continued walking and talking. Thankfully a park run mini-van stopped and asked us if we wanted a lift back to the city.

Upon our return we all swapped QQ Numbers on the way to the train station as they were going back to Guiyang and I wanted to grab a ticket west to Weining Town but the only ticket available was at seven the following evening so I gave that a miss and after saying good bye I headed back to Gufu Jie to have my fill on snacks for the night.

Tomorrow was a new day. One thing I have learned is that tomorrow always takes me where I need to go.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Groove Armada. The album was ‘Love Box’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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