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Home Travel in Yunnan Alu Ancient Cave
Alu Ancient Cave
Travel in Yunnan

The Alu Ancient Cave (ā lú gǔ dòng 阿庐古洞), reputed as 'the first wonderful cave in Yunnan' (yún nán dì yī dòng 云南第一洞), is located within the precincts of Luxi County (lú xī xiàn 泸西县), Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture (hóng hé hā ní zú yí zú zì zhì zhōu 红河哈尼族彝族自治州), in Southeast Yunnan (yún nán 云南), 2.5 km from the county seat, 80 km from the famous Stone Forest and 200 km from Kunming (kūn míng 昆明).


alu2With an area of 1.6 square kilometers, the cave is a formation of karsts caverns. In the Song and Yuan Dynasty, one of thirty-seven old wild tribes called 'Alu' (means water and stone in the Yi language) once lived in the caves, hence the name 'the Alu Ancient Cave', in which is full of various kinds of unique, natural, wonderful scenes.

It is composed of nine peaks and 18 caverns. The cave has many specific and strange characteristics, like spring running out of cave, deep river flowing in the cave, long tunnel zigzagging along the cave, sky seeing through the cave. It is a spectacular lime form cave with 5000-metre-long passage accessible to the tourist, including Luyuan Cave (lú yuán dòng 泸源洞), Jade Pillar Cave (yù zhù dòng 玉柱洞), Green Jade Cave (bì yù dòng 碧玉洞) and Jade Stalagmite River (yù sǔn hé 玉笋河) as well.

The principal part of the A’lu Ancient Cave is made up of the Luyuan Cave, Jade Pillar Cave, Green Jade Cave and Jade Stalagmite River. The three caves and one river are more than 3,000 meters long. The scenery in the cave has the characteristics of being ancient, strange, and unique. There is spring outside cave; there is cave in cave; there is sky in cave; there is river under cave. In additional, there are all kinds of stalagmites, stalactites, stelae, stone waterfalls, stone flowers and so on. They are formed in various natural styles, such as, “Male Lion Howling”, "Lotus Hung Inversely", "Flying Dragon Playing Waterfall", "Three Elephants Running Quickly in the Plain", "Old Tortoise Enjoying the Moon", "Crocodile in the Air‘, "Rhinoceros Going to Sea", "Natural Fresco", "The King of Wei Country Appointing Soldier", "Lofty Jade Pole", "Nine Dragons Going to Sea", "Axi Jumping to the Moon" (ā xì tiào yuè 阿细跳月), etc.. They are all vivid. They display the infinite pleasure of nature.

alu3The Ancient Alu Caves have been a tourist attraction since olden times. Beginning from the Yuan Dynasty, men of letters came to the caves for sightseeing. The famous geographer Xu Xiake (xú xiá kè 徐霞客) of the Ming Dynasty twice came here for geographical investigation. In the fifties of this century, Hungarian cave specialist visited this place and admired it as a wonderful spectacle. In 1987, the acting general manager of the American Eastern Sun Prospecting Corporation visited the caves. Later he said with deep emotion 'I am very proud to have been the first American to pay a visit to the Alu Caves. I have been to many caves, and I can say that the Alu Cave are the best and most beautiful of all'.


Luyuan Cave

Luyuan Cave is 760 meters long, made up of over 10 hall-like caves connected by narrow passages. The biggest cave can hold 4,000 people; and the stalactites in the cave appear differently in shapes of pearls, flowers, waterfalls, pillars and bamboo shoots etc.

Jade Pillar Cave

alu4Jade Pillar Cave has a length of over 800 meters. It is named Jade Pillar Cave because it is full of stalactites and stalagmites. The most typical stalagmite is the Jade Pillar Supporting the Sky - Yu Zhu Qing Tian (yù zhù qīng tiān 玉柱青天), 8 meters high and 30 centimeters in diameter. Near the entrance to the cave is a large stone pillar which is round and smooth as if it were craved and polished. Other spotlights are the Natural Fresco, the Axi Dance and so on. A stream named Jade Stalagmite River flows under Jade Pillar Cave. It is an underground river, where tourists can do sightseeing by boat; the stream is over 800 meters long and the water is limpid. Illuminated by lights, the ripples of the river look as bright as crystal. Boating on the stream, you will have a wonderful and peculiar feeling. In the stream lives a rare fish species-the Blind Fish-which is transparent and whose bones are visible.

Green Jade Cave

Green Jade Cave has a length of 780 meters and is a typical karst cave. There one can see natural scenes such as Stone Shield, Rock Crystal and different “stone models”. "The Ancient Chime” is a row of stalactites hanging from the top of the cave. When beat with a stone, they sound as resonant as a huge bell.

Jade Stalagmite River

alu5At the place which is 15 meters down the Jade Pillar Cave Cave, there is a Jade Stalagmite River. It’s more than 800 meters long. It’s rare in the world. The river is clear. It flows slowly all the year around. In the deep underground palace, stalagmites take on all kinds of shapes, such as, the shape of the lotus,the shape of the pen, the shape of marquee, fastigiate aheap, laminar shape, filamentary shape, curly shape, etc.. Some grow in clumps, some grow in flakes. They are all the masterpieces of nature. The “Underwater Stalagmite” is called one wonder of the cave. There are some rare fishes like the Dark Red Transparent Fish. They add more mystery to the Jade Stalagmite River. The surface of the river is clear and flat like a mirror. All the things around are reflected in the river. Either beyond the river or below the river are all scenes When people boat, it seems that they were in the picture and entered a fairyland.

Goddess of Mercy

Each lunar February 19 sees locals of Luxi hold “Guan Yin Dong Hui” (guān yīn dòng huì 观音洞会), festival for Goddess of Mercy. In March 2011, the grand consecration ceremony (opening ceremony) of the “33 avatars of Goddess of Mercy”, Alu cave has become a hot pilgrimage destination of Buddhist.

Location: Luxi County
Tel: 0873-6652006
Admission Fee: 90 Yuan per person (It include the fare of visiting three caves and one river, taking the cableway and boating. If you want to engage a guide, the fare is 30 Yuan. )
Opening Hours: 8:30-18:00
Transportation: Take a bus from Kunming to Luxi.
Nearby: Stone Forest, Luoping, Luliang Colorful Sand Forest.