The first type of Chinese cave dwelling, called a yaodong, was an underground abode that dates back to the 2nd millennium BC, China's Bronze Age. Today, it is estimated that more than 30 million people still live in caves in China, many of them carved out of the Loess Plateau in Shaanxi Province. Around Yanan, a 750-square-foot (70-square-meter) cave with three rooms and a bathroom can sell for $46,000 USD -- if you can find one for sale. Or, if you just want to rent, you can move into a simple one-room cave for about $30 USD a month.
Welcome to our cave:
- Most Chinese caves aren’t sold or rented, though. They’re handed down from one generation to another.
- The outcroppings on the Loess Plateau are popular for cave builders because the porous soil makes digging relatively easy.
- Higher-end caves are reinforced with masonry, and are often connected laterally to accommodate larger families. Some even have electricity and running water.