Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Cave Dwellings of Guyaju

Exploring the caves of Guyaju with My China Opportunity

Last weekend My China Opportunity and friends went to the caves of Guyaju (古崖居). This fascinating historic site is about 70km from Beijing. Although 70 km is not too far away, it did take three hours to get to.

The caves of Guyaju go back all the way to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). They were made by a forgotten minority group in China called the Xiyi. Many Chinese think that these caves were formed because the Xiyi were hiding from war or a plague that was sweeping through the country at that time.

With 174 caves in all, Guyaju is a pretty extraordinary site to explore. Many of the caves are anywhere from five to twenty square meters. Most of the caves are bunched together in two rock face villages, similar to what an ant farm would look like for humans. The first set of grottoes is open to visitors for exploring, as it was restored with wooden stairs and ladders.

Guyaju is not a large place that takes a day to explore. We recommend staying there for an hour or two and then making your way to Longqing Gorge. You can definitely visit both of these sites in one day. Going to both sites in one day would make the day trip more interesting.

First set of caves that can be explored.

Interesting little houses at the bottom of Guyaju.
Getting There:
Take bus 919 from Deshengmen. Make sure to ask if the bus goes to Yanqing. From Yanqing take bus 920 or take a minibus to Guyaju. We recommend taking the minibus because the 920 bus stops every 2-5 minutes. Make sure to bring a student card because you can save 50% off of the ticket price. RMB 40 adult price (RMB 20 student price).

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