Bamei Polje

Beautiful Plain

Useful Information

Location: Bumei village. North of Guangnan, up the valley of the Ake River toward Xilin, turn off at Fali.
Open: no restrictions [2006]
Fee: Through Ticket yuan 35. [2006]
Classification: KarstPolje SpeleologyKarst Cave SpeleologyRiver cave
Light: n/a
Dimension: Ar=30 km², A=700 m asl.
Guided tours:
Address: Bamei Polje.
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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Bamei (Cave in the Forest) village is is the home to about 600 inhabitants belonging to 113 families. It is located in a small valley, surrounded by steep karst cliffs. The only access to this secluded valley is by wooden boats through an one kilometre long karst cave. The cave river named Ake drains the valley, which has no surface drainage. It is thus a so called polje.

The river of the valley emerges on the far end from a resurgence, which may also be visited. It is nice, but not as big and spectacular as the entrance cave. It is also athrough cave leading to the next polje.

The remote location was a secure environment for the villagers, which are said to be the descendants of two Han settlers from Guangdong, the Huang and Li, who married local girls. The saftey and remoteness of the place over centuries, also prevented modern development. But at last the village was discovered by modern tourism and is now well developed. The historic waterwheels are now without real use, just for decoration, and several houses offer accommodation and food. There is a entrance fee for the valley, which includes access and various scenic rides, and they have a guidebook. But still they have no road, no electricity, and no other access beneath the cave.

Today the hidden valley is called Peach Blossom Valley. This is due to a legendary fairyland described by the Chinese writer Tao Yuanming of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317-420). He wrote about a place completely isolated from the rest of the world, the People there lived a simple, pastoral life. It was always regarded to be fictional, but finally when Bamei was discovered it became true.