Fantastic Underworld

Beneath the Gulin Hills lies a vast network of limestone caverns such as Gaoyan, or High Cave which passes through a conical hill. In many caves, an amazing array of stalagmites and stalactites create an underworld as dramatic as the scenery above.

One of the most magnificent caves is the Reed Flute Cave (below), so-called because the entrance was once hidden by clumps of reeds that were used by the locals to fashion musical instruments. The cave is over 275yds (250m) long and 130yds (120m) across, and its rock formations include one known as the Old Scholar. Legend says that he was once a poet who sat down to describe the beauties of the cave. Unable to find words vivid enough to finish his poem, he turned to stone.

Thousands of tourists visit the most spectacular of Gulin’s Caves every year. During World War II, however, the caves served a different purpose – the pupil of Gulin used them as air-raid shelters when the town was bombed by the Japanese.

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