A coach was arranged for a day-trip to Shan Juan Caves, one of the famous caves in Yixing. Stretching across an area of about 5,000 square metres, it’s also pretty big so we were excited about exploring it. But first, whilst walking there, we were treated to a “Wild man show”, at least that’s what it was called. It was downright HILARIOUS!!! Completely random and out of place, but entertaining. It was basically Chinese folk, dressed up as ‘wild people’ (leopard print skins, messy hair, etc), and… errrr… dancing around. The dancing was basically to rock music and they were jumping and lurching around and shaking their heads – honestly, it looked like they were in a disco. Chris and I were like “What’s going on?!?!?”, in complete disbelief, ROFL!!! But they did some fire-tricks and at least those were cool. But it was just VERY strange to have some wild-man-disco-performance outside the caves?? Perhaps there’s some beautiful history behind it that we weren’t privvy too… hmmmm….
And so we carried on to the actual cave. It’s divided into 3 levels – the main entrance is at the middle level and is a huge cavern of a cave, with poems painted on the walls (painted back in the Liang and Tang Dynasties – a very long time ago!). What I found odd was that the cave was lit up with RAINBOW NEON LIGHTS. In Australia, when we went to Jenolan Caves, it was serene and felt very outdoorsy/adventurous. But here, the cave is like a tourist attraction – with flashing lights and steps.. people were there in full suit-and-jackets and carrying laptop bags. That’s how un-outdoorsy it is ;) I know it’s done that way because it appeals to locals – I think they’d find Australian caves really dull and difficult to navigate – so to each their own! I have to admit though, the running and flashing neon lights did kinda surprise us…
The top level is the Warm Cave, which is a strange 23ºC all year round.. and no one really knows why. This one featured lots of stalactites and actually felt so strange because it was wet and warm in there. This one wasn’t as neon flashing, and was much quieter, which was really nice.
The bottom level is the Waterfall Cave, which features, um, a waterfall. You can only get there by boat.. which was the best part. These rickety wooden boats come up and around 8-10 people pile in and squish in (no idea why because the place wasn’t crowded and there were tons of empty boats!). Then you enter this small hole in the cave and through a tunnel in the cave. It’s really really low so you have to duck your heads and be careful – it was super fun and the most adventurous part of the cave, so we liked it best. Only thing was that the entrance to it was lit up by TONS of neon crazy lights again, like we were in an amusement park instead of out in good ‘ol nature.
It was really interesting though, and so nice to get out and see Yixing. They have other caves around, and wish we had had more time to go exploring around those – as they’re less touristy so may have presented a more authentic natural caving experience :P
Oh, yeah. I know I look weirdly-clothed in the photos. I was wearing my pajamas. Because stupid me brought 1 dress and 1 jeans to Yixing… and ummm, forgot to bring my tops!!! So it was either 1) Go topless, or 2) Wear my PJ top. I decided I’d better go for the 2nd ;) Hence my super-baggy, worn to death, sloppy McDonalds tee. One of the guys in our group said “Oh, you’re dressed quite strangely today.” Heh.
The flowers all around Yixing were so gorgeous!
At the entrance
Me in my PJS, lol
Some contraption that brings water from the lake into the little pond at the top
Video of the random ‘wild men’ dancing, lol!
(link for China visitors)
Video of the fire eating
(link for China visitors)
At the cave entrance
Anyone know what those words say??
Caves with multi-coloured lights.. hmmm..
A mini waterfall
Rickety wooden boats going into a tiny cave, with, erm, more neon lights