After we arrived in Yangshuo, we went with our tour group to go see a nearby cave. This cave was not that far from where we got off of the boat, but it seemed like a long drive because we were on a bumpy country road with too many other vehicles, all of them honking their horns frequently.
I noticed that, at Yingzi Cave entrance, they have gone to an amusement park style of crowd control, with waist high fences no more than one person wide to channel people into the cave entrance in an orderly fashion. From what I have experienced with crowds of Chinese tourists, this was probably very necessary!
Yingzi (Silver) Cave is an impressive caves with amazing crystal cave deposits. It is located in Lipu County some 85 km away from the center of Guilin City.
Covering an area of 1,000,050 square meters, it is the biggest cave in Guilin. It is formed from an underground network of caves penetrating through twelve hills.
Yingzi Cave is a karst cave consisting of three parts: the lower cave, the grand hall and the upper cave. It has a collection of stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars and curtains formed in different geological periods.
All of the rock formations in Yingzi Cave were lit up by multicolored lights. It looked like a fairy land. I was in awe! Also, it was very easy to walk along the path through the cave, as it was also very well lit up by the surrounding lights. This was so different from my experience in most caves in the USA.
There was a down side to having so many lights on the formations. The stalactites inside the cave are white and are said to look like water pouring down from the Milky Way. That is why it was named Silver Cave. It was hard to see this pretty white color with so many lights on all of the formations. The photo below shows a section of rock that was not so well lit, so you can sort of see how it got its name.
Also, I began to think that all of the light cords and power boxes running along the cave floor and near the formations took away from the beauty of the cave.
The photo below was taken looking up towards the top of the cave, in the Grand Hall section. This area of the cave was more than two stories high!
The next photo shows a section that is famous for. This is a beautiful rock structure with a shallow reflecting pool of water underneath it. It was spectacular!
Jeff did a great job of taking the above photo without showing the mess around this beautiful area. Not one, but TWO groups of photographers had built platforms into the pool to set up a place where people could have their photo taken, for money, with this formation as a backdrop. This made it even harder to see the formation, as people was pushing and jostling each other in the little available space leftover in front of the formation. There were also flashes going off, and lots of yelling. So below is my photo of this formation.
Did I mention that there was also litter along the path, and in the edges of this pool of water, and at the bottom of many of the formations? Sadly, the Chinese seem to have no problem throwing trash everywhere!
In the photo above, Jeff is standing at the side of one of the famous cave formations. It is called the pipe organ. I took this photo from the side because there was another photographer with a paid photo opportunity set up in the front, so it was hard to get a photo of this formation without his set-up getting in the picture.
Jeff really liked this formation. It was very tall, as it went from the floor to the ceiling. He took lots of photos of it.
Right about here, I lost it. I had been pushed, elbowed and jostled walking along the narrow cave path. I had tolerated Chinese tourists yelling loudly to each other, and tour guides talking very loudly into their microphones. Then another man walked by me puffing on a cigarette. There were no smoking signs all over the cave, but they were being routinely ignored. I knew this not only because of all the men I saw smoking, but also because my eyes were watering and I was having trouble breathing. Also, there were a lot of cigarette butts along the path through the cave. There were no ventilation fans, so I suspect the cave was as cigarette smoke-filled as many rooms in casinos. In some places in the cave, you could even see the hazy air near the lights. I told Jeff I had to get out of there!
Jeff took this photo of near the exit to Yingzi Cave. I wanted to have one photo without all of the colored lights on the rock formations. Notice that I have my jacket off in this photo. the cave was the warmest place we were in all day, likely because it did not have a lot of circulating air from outside.
The light on the above rock formation was purple. You can see that this rock has greenish black and reddish black stuff on it. There were other formations like this in the cave. I know from what I have learned in caves in the USA, that when you introduce lights and people, things can come into a cave that would not be there naturally. So I was very sad to see this, but not surprised by it.
And yes, before we even left the cave, we came across a room in the cave with vendors selling stuff. It was apparent that they had enlarged this room by blasting away part of the walls, and put in a cement floor so they could have an area for vendors to sell stuff.
I am very glad I got to see this wonderful cave. I was also very glad to get out of it! THANK GOD FOR OUR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM! I have just seen what Carlsbad Caverns might look like without the protection provided by our National Park system!