Danzhou's Stone Flower Water Cave
Just west of Haikou is Danzhou, the third largest city in Hainan after the provincial capitol and Sanya.
But how familiar are you with Danzhou? Have you been and what's your impression of the place?
The Stone Flower Water Cave (石花水洞) is maybe my favourite spot in Danzhou. I visited last February while cycling a full loop around Hainan Island (but that's another story for another article! Stay tuned!).
It's really quite easy to miss this little gem in Western Hainan. It's situated in a small town called Bayi (八一; which are the Chinese characters for "eight" and "one") which itself is 30km west of Danzhou's main city center, also known as Nada (那大镇), and 160km west of Haikou.
If you're passing through Danzhou or simply want to find some cool spots in the west, I recommend you stop by for a couple hours to check out the cave. You can also find simple accommodations in Bayi, or head back to Nada for more options.
As you walk into the cave, it takes a second for your eyes to adjust, but colourful lights illuminate the cave and highlight unique rock features along the walls. It makes for a surreal atmosphere as the carefully placed lights and different colours lead your way through. Not far into the cave, you'll come across some Buddhist shrines and a statue (pictured above).
The most delicate of rock formations are protected beyond transparent plexiglass, so that they might be preserved for future generations, and the air becomes cooler the deeper you travel into the cave.
One thing to note is that I wouldn't recommend this cave for travellers that suffer from chiroptophobia (and yes, that is a real word, even if my spellcheck won't recognise it...), but if you're not afraid of bats, the highlight of the trip is a long boat ride near the end that will take you back to the entrance of the park. They'll gear you up with a life jacket and hard hat and along the ride you'll be able to see hundreds, if not thousands, of sleeping, harmless bats on the ceiling. It really is quite a sight to behold, and I can honestly say I've never seen that many bats before in my life!
After the boat ride you'll see a small collection of scenic rocks just as you leave the cave and see sunlight again!
I also recommend Dongpo Academy (东坡书院) and Dragon's Gate (龙门激浪). What's your favourite place of interest in Danzhou? Let us know with a comment down below.
Ricky Barrett Jamer is a travel writer from Canada. You can keep up with his worldly travels by staying tuned to Hainan Life and following his page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FromChinatotheWorldBlog/
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