Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Longkong Caves, Longyan.

Our first destination on this trip was to Longkong Caves. I found out about this place from a website advertising tours to Longyan. The Caves are located just 48 kilometers from Downtown Longyan but the road that leads to the Caves was in a very bad condition. The narrow winding road up the hilly area was full of potholes.Just before reaching the Caves there are some restaurants and we stopped at one for lunch. Our driver reminded me to discuss the price first before ordering the food, something we usually don't do back home. Here it is different. We are led to the kitchen where we choose the food and discuss the price. One good thing about having a local around is that he helped to remind the restaurant owner not to overcharge us. We ended paying only CNY50 for such a lot of food for the three of us. 

Longkong Caves consist of karst landform with  a mountain forest scenic zone with primeval karst caves.  The scenic zone covers an area of 10 square kilometers and Longkong Cave at its core is characterized by an art gallery of abstract pictures of lime rock beddings.  

Surrounded by mountains and bamboos, Longkong Cave is 2,000-meter long with the highest point 50 meters inside, which can be divided into 3 layers, housing 8 main caves and 16 sub-caves that are connected with one another just like a labyrinth. 

The entrance fee is CNY55 per person but it is compulsory to get the services of a guide for a fee of CNY30. If your group is bigger then you can share the cost but actually CNY30 is rather cheap to pay for the guided tour. The cave is so huge and is like a labyrinth. After you walk out, you'll understand why they make it compulsory to have a guide. 
The guide will rattle away about what each stalactite, stalagmite or pillar represents but actually it is all up to our imagination. Some formations do really resemble what they describe it as. After a while you get bored with all the silly fantasizing about dragon heads, claws, wolves, maidens and goddesses. When the guide mentioned something about a movie being shot here I asked whether it was a China movie because I never heard of the movie. She expressed surprise (or pretended to) when I told her we were not from China. I thought it was pretty obvious from my accent that I am not a local Chinese. I was thinking she was either very good at pretending or she was really dumb. Later I found out that there is such a wide variety of accents among the locals it was actually not that surprising that she couldn't tell I wasn't from China. After all, my spoken Mandarin is quite ok, la! Haha.

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