Yellow Dragon Cave (Huanglong Dong, 黄龙洞) is a karst cave, with peculiar limestone formations, underground streams, and large caverns. It’s one of the main attractions of Zhangjiajie. Fantastic shapes of stalactites and stalagmites can not leave indifferent even those, who don’t like caves at all.
Yellow Dragon Cave is a typical karst cave. Water plays an important role in formation of such caves. Drop by drop, the water seeps through cracks into the karstic layer and dissolves limestone, thereby extending the gap. This process continues from year to year, until the gap reaches enormous proportions. That’s what happened with Yellow Dragon Cave. Now it reaches a height of 140m.
Yellow Dragon Cave Interiors
It is alleged that there are two underground rivers, two pools, four waterfalls, 13 large halls, 96 galleries and hundreds of thousands of stalagmites, columns, stalactites, cavestones and other formations inside the cave. I did not counted a number of halls, but I can say that there is a complete sense of enormous place inside. And when you get used to it, another hall even more unusual and incredible than the previous one appears in front of your eyes.
Interiors of the cave are so complicated and incomprehensible, that even geologists call this place “magic cave”. But Chinese people, of course, gave a beautiful name to every place. So walking in the cave you can see the The Dragon Palace, The Ball Room with Draped Stone Curtains, Immortal Waterfall and other underground “miracles”.
A curious fact. You can go to The Dragon Palace through The Gates of Wealth or The Gates of Happiness. According to ancient tradition, you can choose only one of the gates. We were pretty much the only ones who chose The Gates of Happiness. It’s a bit sad, because it actually reflects the real view of life in contemporary China. According to one public opinion polls, more than half of China’s women say that they would prefer crying in an expensive car than smiling on a bicycle.
Concrete and Colored Lights
The Chinese put more value on comfort. Therefore, there are a lot of concrete in the cave. The tracks, rails, floors, bridges, and perhaps even some of the exhibits. All these constructions make trails simple and safe, but at the same time they totally destroy the feeling of being in a natural place.
As for colored lights, which are used in abundance, in my opinion, it’s a disaster. I mean, that the cave is not a place that should looks colorful and artificial. For me it’s more important to highlight the unicity of the place as a creation of Mother Nature. In general, the whole mystery of this place is killing when you can see bright yellow, blue, green, red and even purple at the same time. Besides, a lot of bright light hurts the underground ecosystem. Moss and plants start to grow on bare rocks.
The Route Through Yellow Dragon Cave
Travel through the cave begins with a cruise along an underground river in a small boat. After that you can move from hall to hall along the paths and bridges. Full route through the cave takes about 2-3 hours. To get around the all halls you need to walk about 2.5 km and sail on a boat about 800 meters. Also you can pay 15 RMB and walk in a maze, but it’s not impressive.
Huanglongdong Scenic Area
Huanglong Dong Scenic Area is beautiful not only underground. There is a small picturesque park with streams, small neat trees and bright fish in the pond near by the exit of the cave. But the most interesting part of the park is a gallery of water mills.
You can get some lunch in a restaurant or buy something from the local street vendors and eat it sitting on a bench and enjoying the serene beauty of the park.
How to Get to Yellow Dragon Cave?
Yellow Dragon Cavern is about 5 km east of the hotels at Wulingyuan and 40 km away from the Zhangjiajie city. I recommend to use a taxi to get to the cave from the entrance to Zhangjiajie Park or from a hotel in Wulingyuan. The price should be 30-60 RMB.
Where to Stay?
The best palce to stay is Wulingyuan town, wich is located very close to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. An infrastructure and a transport communication of the town are just perfect: restaurants, shops and hotels from hostels to 5 star.
- Wulingyuantuniu Youth Hostel. One of the best hostels in Zhangjiajie. Prices from $5, rating 9.2. Clean, neat, great location.
- Xiangxizhilian High-level hotel, classical Chinese flavor and modern comforts, 5 minutes to the park.
- Zhangjiajie State Guest Hotel 5* hotel, outdoor pool, perfect location, beautiful and spacious rooms, Chinese and European cuisine at the restaurant. Everything for relatively cheap price for 5-stars hotel.
- Zhangjiajie Maosao Inn Amazingly beautiful hotel with bright fully equipped rooms, swimming pool, terrace and mountain views. Prices from $ 30.
- Quing Man Hotel 3*, the best combination of price and quality and the highest rating – 9.6! Rooms for less than $ 30.
- Place: Yellow Dragon Cave (Huanglongdong, 黄龙洞).
- Nearest City: Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, China.
- Location: Wulingyuan Scenic Area (武陵源).
- Ticket: 100 RMB.
- Time for visit: 2-3 hours.
- Date of visit: May, 2 2014.