About Longmen Waterfall (Dragon’s Gate Waterfall) (龙门飞瀑 [Lóngmén Fēi Pù])
The Longmen Waterfall (龙门飞瀑 [Lóngmén Fēi Pù]; Dragon’s Gate Waterfall or Dragon’s Gate Flying Falls) was one of the main attractions of the Longgong Caves (龙宫洞 [Lónggōng Dòng]; Dragon Palace Caves). This was actually an unexpected surprise for us as we had no clue that the Longgong Caves even featured a waterfall. And a distinctive, unusual feature about the falls was that it passed through a natural bridge or tunnel (though it did seem like the uppermost part of the falls had been man-modified for what appeared to be erosion and/or flood control).
From the well-established car park, we walked along a well-manicured paved walkway for about 15 minutes crossing over a couple of bridges, which themselves were perched over some smaller cascades and manmade waterfalls. Actually, the second bridge crossed over what did appear to be an impressively wide cascade that could’ve been an attraction on its own if not for its vicinity to the Dragon Palace Caves and the Dragon’s Gate Waterfall. Anyhow, I remembered there were quite a few young girls dressed in bright red Miao clothing looking for tourists wanting to pose for a photo with them for a fee. There were also a few peddlers selling corn and yam as well.
Once at the falls, there was a wet-with-mist viewing area which got a little crowded in waves from the large Chinese tour groups as well as many more of the young girls in Miao attire. The mega groups could be a bit trying on the nerves as I remembered one middle-aged guy rudely shoved me out of the way as apparently I was in his photo. Since I was able to appreciate the fact that a country with over a billion people required a bit of aggressive behavior in order to get by and survive (no place for manners in most circumstances, I guess), the annoyance was brief. But consider yourself warned if you come across this kind of behavior (not just here but throughout the country).
In addition to the main viewing platform, there was also a path that went up a flight of stairs leading to an upper viewing platform. Up there, it was definitely quieter than the often-crowded lower viewing platform. It also provided a different perspective of the unusual Longmen Waterfall.
When we had our fill of the Longmen Waterfall, the path continued by crossing a bridge flanked by stone carvings of dragons, which traversed the stream responsible for the falls. Then, it went up some more steps through caves ultimately leading to a queueing area before some boat docks at a lake that directly fed the Longmen Waterfall. This lake allowed for non-motorized boat trips through the main Dragon Palace Caves (Longgong Dong), which were right at the head of the lake. I remembered Julie and our guide Li would consistently warn me about the low-hanging branches and stalactites as our boat ride would careen beneath them. It was definitely a ride where them watching out for my head was appreciated as I was also trying to take photos!
The cave itself was like many of the other caves we had been to in southern China. The difference here was that it was pretty much exclusively toured by boat, which meant that the constant motion combined with the low lighting conditions made photographing what we were seeing difficult due to the likelihood of them turning out blurry. Nonetheless, the cave featured formations that resembled various things we’d be familiar with in real life though none of them were memorable enough for me to single out let alone identify in this writeup.
After we were done with the boat tour, we had some time to check out the Longmen Waterfall from its top as there was a viewing area with railings to ensure we didn’t fall into the sloping waterfall. We also returned back the way we came so we could once again experience the waterfall as well as the pleasant walk between the entrance and the falls itself.
Julie and I spent about two hours in the Longgong complex. I’m sure we could’ve taken even more time here, but we thought two hours was enough, especially since we were visiting the Huangguoshu Waterfall on the same day.
In our custom tour, the Longgong Caves were combined with the Huangguoshu Waterfall in a day trip out of Guiyang. Even though we stayed at the Huangguoshu Waterfall area on our visit, I could easily envision tours doing the whole thing in a day. And that might explain why it gets pretty busy over here.
From Guiyang, it was about a 2-hour car ride to get here.
For geographical context, we arrived in Guiyang after an hour long flight from Nanning. Nanning was a two-hour flight from Hong Kong, 1,859km (20 hours drive or 2.5 hours flight) southwest of Shanghai, and 2,174km (22.5 hours drive or 3 hours flight) south of Beijing.
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