The extensive cave system had for centuries been used by locals as a refuge in times of troubles, but in the 1940s their existence became widely known after some local farmers bragged about their beauty to visiting government officials. Since then the caves have been taken over by the government and are operated as a tourist attraction [at least that's the story I was told]. The artificial lighting produces some striking effects, but I [having done some spelunking when I was young and skinny] would have preferred to see the formations in more natural light. They are impressive enough on their own and the light shows, to my mind, detract from their natural beauty.
Emerging into bright daylight we then took a stroll along the river bank to see a famous local sight.
There it is -- the Elephant Trunk hill. It is supposed to remind people of an elephant drinking from the river and has become the modern symbol of Guilin. It was a pleasant place to spend some time.
A cormorant close up.
Unlike in the big cities, mopeds are popular in these smaller provincial towns.
Then it was back on the bus for a trip to the Guilin Art Gallery, which was just another shopping opportunity.
That evening some of the party, including "She Who Must Not Be Named" went on to see a demonstration of local ethnic folk dance. I passed, and got a good night's sleep instead.