Yanzi Dong

Swallow Cave

Useful Information

Location: Between Jianshui and Gejiu. Honghe Prefecture, Southeast Yunnan.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: electric
Guided tours: L=3,000m
Address: Yanzi Dong, Tel: +86-, Fax: +86-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Swallow Cave is named after the population of swallows that nest in its impressive portal, which is 30m wide and 50m high. The steep wall protect the birds from enemies like snakes and mice. They raise their children in the cave entrance and build nests of saliva. The steamed swallow's nest is edible and considered a delicacy.

The nests are collected by local climbers once a year on the famous "Bird's Nest Festival". It takes place every year between 08-AUG and 10-AUG. Brave locals climb up the 50m high cliffs to fetch these nests. They also leave colourful signs at the top of the cave, huge banners with chinese text on them. This is done every year on 21-MAR on another local festival. Firecrackers are let off to express people's good wishes to the climbers. More than 1,000 boards hang on the stalactites above the entrance. Both festivals are rather dangerous and now and then climbers die when they fall.

This is a river cave, and it is possible to get boat trips through the darkness for up to a few kilometers The tourist route through the cave is 3,000m long and shows numerous big chambers with extraordinary speleothems and the river cave. The biggest chamber fits 1,000 visitors and is used for folklore performances.