Sanyou Cave, Yichang – Ticket, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

sanyou cave scenic area

Sanyou Cave (三游洞), perched on the steep cliffs of the northern peak of Xiling Mountain in the northwest of Yichang, is a remarkable geological formation with a precarious terrain. The cavern is expansive, measuring approximately 30 meters in depth, 23 meters in width, and 9 meters in height. It is a limestone karst cave formed through the gradual dissolution of underground water along rock layers, eventually leading to the collapse and creation of the cave structure.

The cave derives its name from two historical anecdotes. During the Tang Dynasty, the poets Bai Juyi, Bai Xingjian, and Yuan Zhen collectively explored the cave, earning it the title of “Former Three Wanderers.” In the Song Dynasty, the father-son trio of Su Xun, Su Shi (Su Dongpo), and Su Zhe also visited, earning the cave the moniker of “Later Three Wanderers.” Apart from these literary giants, numerous other scholars and poets have visited the cave, leaving behind a wealth of inscribed poems and stone engravings on the cave walls. Today, visitors can marvel at hundreds of these literary inscriptions, providing a glimpse into the historical and cultural significance of Sanyou Cave.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1 – 2 hours
Ticket Price78 RMB
Opening Hours9.00 – 17.00 (1st November – 28th February)
8.30 – 17.30 (1st March – 31st October)
Telephone Number0086-0717-8862161
0086-0717-8861746

Top Activities in Hubei Province


Location and Transportation

Sanyou Cave is perched on the precipitous cliffs of the northern peak of Xiling Mountain, located in the northwest of Yichang, Hubei Province. Nestled against the backdrop of Xiling Gorge and facing the mouth of Xiling Canyon, the cave overlooks the scenic beauty of the Xiaolaoxi River.

To reach Sanyou Cave, simply take the Tourist Line 2 or Bus 10-1 from Yiling Square in Yichang. The final destination of either of these lines is Sanyou Cave, providing a convenient and direct route for visitors to access this picturesque attraction.


Highlights of Sanyou Cave Scenic Area

Sanyou Cave: A Marvel in the Cliffs

sanyou cave - a marvel in the cliffs

Perched on the sheer cliffs of Xiling Mountain, Sanyou Cave is a geological wonder, with a cavernous interior adorned with inscriptions from various dynasties. Its external cliffs serve as a canvas for the poems and writings of generations of visitors. Notable features within the cave include the “Heavenly Bell,” a suspended stone that resonates when struck, and the “Earth Drum,” a protruding rock on the ground that produces sound when tapped. The scenery within the cave is so captivating that it has been likened to a “fantasy realm” by ancient observers.

Over the centuries, travelers passing through Yichang have made it a point to explore Sanyou Cave. Using various calligraphy styles and expressions in the form of poems, prose, murals, and inscriptions, they have left a rich cultural legacy on the cave walls. Even today, the cave houses over 40 cultural relics, including inscriptions by Ouyang Xiu from the Song Dynasty and a Ming Dynasty reissue of the “Preface to Sanyou Cave,” providing invaluable historical and cultural materials.


Zhi Xi Pavilion: A Literary Oasis

zhi xi pavilion in sanyou cave

Zhi Xi Pavilion, dating back to the Song Dynasty, holds historical significance as the poet Ouyang Xiu, during his tenure as the magistrate of Yichang, composed the “Record of Zhi Xi Pavilion” upon its construction. This elevated pavilion became one of the three major scenic spots in Yichang. Unfortunately, due to conflicts and deliberate actions, the ancient architecture complex of West Ba Temple Mouth was destroyed, along with the original Zhi Xi Pavilion and its inscribed plaque. The newly reconstructed Zhi Xi Pavilion, with its flying eaves, red columns, and intricate carvings, stands at 18 meters tall. The interior features a spiral staircase and displays dozens of classical and contemporary poems and paintings, including Ouyang Xiu’s “Record of Zhi Xi Pavilion.”


Seal Stone Garden: A Fusion of Art and Nature

seal stone garden in sanyou cave

The Seal Stone Garden is a unique collection featuring seals from 127 renowned Chinese artists, including Wu Zuoren, Guan Shanyue, and Wang Chaowen. Crafted meticulously from the heart of the Yangtze River bed at the base of the Three Gorges Dam, these stones showcase diverse and natural styles, enlarging the commonly used seals of these artists into magnificent stone carvings.


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