The longevity of Bama people, to some extent, distracts the attention of visitors from its picturesque karst landscape, especially the caves.
The most popular one is Baimo Cave, or the Cave of a Hundred Devils. Although rather than being the abode of malevolent spirits, it was home to serpents, bats and boars before it was discovered.
The cave is a sinkhole, a saucershaped surface depression produced when underlying limestone dissolves, or when caves collapse. It is 80 meters high and 70 meters wide on average, and the tourist route within the sinkhole is more than 4 kilometers long.
The subterranean netherworld hosts dozens of types of karst formations, including crystalline stalagmites and stalactites, with the tallest standing nearly 40 meters high. The sands of time have fused some into hourglass-shaped pillars, and some are mirror images of each other. It’s said water dripping from the ceiling adds one-fifth of a millimeter to the stalagmites’ tips each year. Their surfaces undulate with the accumulations of sedimentary minerals collected over hundreds of millennia.
What constitutes the cave’s anima is the jade-green subterranean water, which is the Panyang River, Bama’s mother river, which meanders through a valley forming a huge Chinese character of
ming, or life. In the lower reaches of the river is Bainiaoyan Cave, or the Cave of Hundreds of Birds. The Panyang River flows into the cave and becomes a subterranean river again. The cave is more than 1,000 meters deep, 40 to 50 meters wide and about 16 meters high. The ceiling of the cave is like a dome above the river spiked with stalactites of various shapes. There are some openings in the ceiling in the middle of the cave, like skylights.
Another cave not far from Baimo Cave is called Crystal Palace. The entrance to the cave is in the middle of the slope of a karst peak. The cave was not found until it was accidentally found by local residents in 2004.
The cave is more than 1,000 meters deep, 8 to 50 meters wide and 10 to 80 meters high. It boasts the largest group of crystal and translucent stalagmites and stalactites groups in China.