Crown Cave Waterfall

Guilin / Lijiang Guanyan Scenic Area, Guangxi, China

About Crown Cave Waterfall

Hiking Distance: tour
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2009-04-20
Date last visited: 2009-04-20

Waterfall Latitude: 25.05209
Waterfall Longitude: 110.45237

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Crown Cave Waterfall was an informal name I gave this unusual underground waterfall that sat deep within the recesses of the Crown Cave in the world famous Guilin (桂林 [Guìlín]; Osmanthus Woods).

The first thing that struck us about this waterfall was its pretty powerful flow.

Crown_Jewel_Cave_032_04192009 - The Crown Cave Waterfall
The Crown Cave Waterfall

We could literally hear it thunder and echo loudly for most of our time touring the cave.

The Crown Cave Waterfall was actually more of an incidental attraction within the much more extensive Crown Cave itself (also referred to as Guanyan Cave), even though we had to pay a separate fee to visit this falls.

In fact, there was a separate ticket kiosk right in front of the narrow corridor that led right to the viewing platform right in front of the loud falls (see photo above).

I don’t recall how much extra per person we had to pay for this though.

The Crown Cave

Crown_Jewel_Cave_014_04192009 - Inside the fairly large (and colorful) chambers of the Crown Cave
Inside the fairly large (and colorful) chambers of the Crown Cave

In any case, the Crown Cave was the primary attraction as it featured tall chambers of the usual stalactites and stalagmites with various random formations that tended to induce some bit of imaginative associations.

We often saw signs next to the formations that resembled something we might be familiar with in real life (though I honestly didn’t remember which ones we saw since they weren’t that memorable to me).

I understand that the cave was so named because its entrance resembled a crown though we couldn’t draw that conclusion ourselves either.

Nonetheless, our tour of the Crown Cave started off with a brief walk along the Li River (note that we were driven here instead of doing this as part of the Li River Cruise).

Crown_Jewel_Cave_003_04192009 - The walking path leading to an entrance of the Crown Cave with some Autopia-like go-kart tracks to the left
The walking path leading to an entrance of the Crown Cave with some Autopia-like go-kart tracks to the left

This walking path was flanked by tracks that supported a Disneyland-like Autopia ride that seemed to allow paying customers to traverse the path we walked in a go-kart type experience.

Once we were at the end of the path, we took a short boat ride across part of the Li River.

Then, we took what seemed to be an alternate entrance into the cave than what most people on tour would be taking.

Once inside the cave, we walked through parts of the cave taking in the interesting formations which were lit up by colorful artificial lighting.

The lighting was customary for most caves where they would allow tourists since everything here would’ve been pitch black without it.

Crown_Jewel_Cave_025_04192009 - Stalagmite formations rising high up in this chamber
Stalagmite formations rising high up in this chamber

However, the authorities here spruced things up a bit with some very colorful hues in the light which provided a bit of eye candy in addition to the visual and navigational aids to allow such a place to be visited safely by tourists.

Eventually, we got onto a subterranean train ride that was kind of in the spirit of what we might have seen in Disneyland as the tracks were kind of rollercoaster-like.

Of course this wasn’t meant to be a thrill ride, and it was pretty much a short excursion leading to a section of the cave where we then took a subterranean boat ride that took us even deeper into the cave.

The lighting in these depths made taking non-flashed photographs here very difficult given the low light and constant motion.

I got the sense that this was about as deep into the cave as we were allowed even though we were well aware that we saw some 3km of the cave out of the 12km that have been known so far.

The Crown Cave Waterfall Section

Crown_Jewel_Cave_030_04192009 - Context of the underground waterfall and part of the limited space of the viewing area
Context of the underground waterfall and part of the limited space of the viewing area

When we got off the boat, the loud thunder of the Crown Cave Waterfall was very audible.

So we then took another well-established and well-lit path to get closer to the source of the noise.

That was when we saw the ticket kiosk before the corridor leading closer to the falls, paid the extra fee (not included with the Crown Cave admission price), and then ended up at a lookout platform right before the short but very unusual waterfall.

Parts of the lookout were a bit misty thanks to the force of the water and the confined space.

When crowds would arrive, there was practically little to no chance of taking a decent long exposure photograph.

Crown_Jewel_Cave_043_04192009 - The walkway and stream downstream of the Crown Cave Waterfall
The walkway and stream downstream of the Crown Cave Waterfall

It was even difficult trying to take people photographs without someone photobombing it.

So we were very opportunistic about getting our shots where we could while exercising a lot of patience.

We spent probably an hour in the cave, just to give you an idea of how extensive the tour was.


The Crown Cave Waterfall resides in the Lijiang Guanyan Scenic Area of Guilin in the Guangxi Province, China. To my knowledge, I have not found a reliable official government authority administering this area. Therefore, I can’t recommend a particular website belonging to said authority for the latest conditions or other inquiries.

Crown_Jewel_Cave_001_04192009 - Karst mountains and the Li River near the Crown Cave in the heart of the Guilin region
Crown_Jewel_Cave_002_04192009 - More views across the Lijiang River towards more beautiful karst mountains in the heart of the Guilin region
Crown_Jewel_Cave_056_04192009 - Looking down at the tracks paralleling the walking path we took to get to the Crown Cave's alternate entrance
Crown_Jewel_Cave_005_04192009 - The short boat ride to the alternate entrance of the Crown Cave
Crown_Jewel_Cave_009_04192009 - Looking in the distance at some boats on the Lijiang River in the heart of Guilin as seen from around the Crown Cave vicinity
Crown_Jewel_Cave_010_04192009 - Context of the shore boat ride across the Lijiang River to get from the car park to the entrance to the Crown Cave
Crown_Jewel_Cave_019_04192009 - One particular spot where we saw a pool reflecting the artificially lit stalactites and stalagmites inside the Crown Cave
Crown_Jewel_Cave_022_04192009 - Looking across a pool towards other lit up cave formations inside the Crown Cave
Crown_Jewel_Cave_028_04192009 - Looking up towards the ceiling of this colorful chamber within the Crown Cave
Crown_Jewel_Cave_037_04192009 - Direct closeup look at the Crown Cave Waterfall deep within the Crown Cave
Crown_Jewel_Cave_048_04192009 - When we left the main entrance of the Crown Cave, this was the glorious karst landscape sight that we were greeted with

The Crown Cave itself is about a 30- to 45-minute car ride from Guilin city (said to be 29km south of the city) passing by a turnoff for the Gudong Waterfall.

It has been said that some Li River (漓江 [Líjiāng]) Cruises make a stop at this cave though that wasn’t the case in our particular boat tour, which we did the day after we were driven to this cave.

Geographically speaking, Guilin was a 90-minute flight from Hong Kong, 1,531km (16 hours drive or 3 hours flight) southwest of Shanghai, and 1,976km (20 hours drive or over 3 hours flight) south of Beijing.

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See (and hear) the underground Crown Cave Waterfall in motion

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Tagged with: crown cave, guilin, guangxi, china, waterfall, li river, lijiang, guanyan, scenic area

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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