水帘洞 or Water Curtain Cave is one of the many sites at Wuyi Shan. With a name like that, you would expect a waterfall that forms a curtain over the entrance of a cave. The actual Water Curtain Cave at Wuyi Shan resembles an arid zone in Dunhuang. Situated nearly 1km from the bus stop, this place looks surreal compared to the greenery just outside the sanctuary. It is by far less crowded than sites like A Sliver of Heaven 一线天.
The trek among majestic rocks encrusted with plant life terminates at a stark dead end – a massive leaning cliff of grey and yellow stone. There was no waterfall to be seen when I was there. The only sign of a “water curtain” was a tiny trickle of water from the top of a cliff where a moist patch was observed. Below was a little pond formed when there was a bit more rainfall feeding the “water curtain”.
Having a concavity in the cliff allowed a shrine of some sort to be built just shy of the path of the falling water. Without enough water falling from the top of the cliff, one can only imagine what a pilgrimage to that shrine would look and feel like. But even without that dramatic effect of falling water, the site is pretty spectacular and almost otherworldly.
The Dahong Pao Garden can be reached from 水帘洞 via a very scenic footpath about 2km long. I strongly advise those who have the time and energy to walk, especially when there is a mad rush for seats on the tour buses.