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Home Travel in Hubei Sanyou Cave
Sanyou Cave

         Sanyou Cave
Sanyou Cave
(sānyóudòng 三游洞) is located 7 kilometers northwest of Yichang (yíchāng 宜昌). It is a giant cave on the north peak of the Xiling Mountain (xīlíngshān 西陵山). It leans against the Three Gorges (sānxiá 三峡) of Yangtze River's Xiling Gorge (xīlíngxiá 西陵峡) and faces to the Xialao Stream (xiàláoxī 下牢溪) where the caves hold marvelous different sight and the scenery is beautiful. It is a famous scenic spot and historical resort and o­ne of the key cultural relic preservation units of Hubei Province.  

The First Three VisitorsSanyou Cave is located in a deep valley. It is warm in winter and cool in summer with great and beautiful views. The cave is about 30 meters deep, 23 meters in width and is about 9 meters high. The cave got its name after the visit of the three most famous poets during Tang Dynasty (tángcháo 唐朝), Bai Juyi (báijūyì 白居易), Bai Xingjian (báixíngjiǎn 白行简) and Yuan Zhen (yuánzhěn 元稹). Legends goes that the three poets paid a visit to this cave and inspired by its unique scenery, they each wrote a poem on the cliff of the cave. And an article, San You Dong Xu (sānyóudòngxù 三游洞序), was written on the cliff by Bai Juyi. These three poets are “the first three visitors”(qiánsānyóu 前三游). And during the Song Dynasty (sòngcháo 宋朝), three famous writers, Su Xun (sūxún 苏洵), Su Shi (sūshì 苏轼) and Su Zhe (sūzhé 苏辙), visited Sanyou Cave together, and each wrote a poem on the cliff. People called them “the latter three visitors”(hòusānyóu 后三游).

Epigraphs in Sanyou CaveThe scenery of Sanyou Cave is lovely and was once reputed as "the fairyland" by ancient people. It attracted many people who went by Yichang in history. They expressed their feelings and praise the fantastic cave scenery by writing poems, essays, or by painting, and engraved on the cliff. Up to now, more than 40 epigraphs inside or outside the cave are well preserved. The inscriptions range from regular script, clerical script, seal character, running script, cursive hand, covering all the forms of Chinese characters. It is no wonder that Sanyou Cave is renowned as living museum of Chinese calligraphy.

Sanyou CaveSanyou Cave is in the sheer cliff and is cool in summer and warm in winter. The inside of the cave is broad in the shape of an irregular rectangle. The cave is 30 meters in depth, 23 meters in width and 9 meters in height and was formed by erosion from the water against the rocks for centuries. The rocks in the cave take a great variety of shapes. And there are three main stalagmites which divide the cave into two chambers.

The front chamber is wide and bright, along the walls there are more than 40 stone tablets. The tablets caved with poems and prose made from the famous poets when they visit this area. The other chamber is gloomy and deep. It Zhixi Pavilionis in shape of a hanging bell. If you throw a rock at the top cliff of it, you will hear the echo sound of a bell, yet when the rock falls onto the ground you will hear the echo sound of a drum.

Near the cave entrance, a small path leads to the top of the mountain where Zhixi Pavilion (zhìxǐtíng 至喜亭) is located. Travelers can gain majesty scenery of the mighty Yangtze River surge among high mountains.

And in the mountainside, there is a spring called Lu You Spring (lùyóuquán 陆游泉). It is named after the famous poets Lu You (lùyóu 陆游), a great poets during Southern Song Dynasty (nánsòng 南宋), used the water to make tea which makes him feel good, and write a poem on the nearby rock.

Sanyou Cave

Location: 7 kilometers northwest of Yichang City, Hubei Province
Tickets: RMB 48
Opening time: 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Tel: 0717-8861760   0717-8862247
Take Bus NO.4 from Yichang Square in Yichang to 22 Company and get off there, and notice the sign, go ahead for 300 meters to the receipt center of Sanyou Cave.

1. You will have to take a long time in walking; do make sure to wear comfortable shoes, and the clothes.
2. In the cave, do take care of yourselves, and go away from the dangerous area.