As if there weren’t already enough reasons to visit China, we’ve just found another in the form of a 1,640ft long glass slide built into the side of a mountain in Shanxi Province.
To enjoy this incredible sensory (or vertigo inducing) experience, tourists will firstly need to climb stairs to reach the entrance which is located at the highest viewing point along the Dayudu Yellow River Scenic Area. Here they can take in the scenery from a 1,300ft high viewing platform before descending down the massive see-through slide, which drops 328 feet in elevation along the way.
The area is famed for its natural beauty and the slide, with its glass base and glass guardrails, promises its courageous riders a 360 degree view over the breathtaking landscape and Yellow River below. Just make sure you keep your eyes open! The grand opening of the slide has not been set; however test runs began on May 19th and are currently ongoing.
It would seem that glass structures are having a real moment in China, and its showing no signs of waning. The slide joins a collection of glass bottomed attractions, some of which are far more fear inducing than others. Earlier this year Chongqing, in southwest China, opened the Sky Corridor, an A-shaped walkway extending 80m from the side of a cliff in Wansheng Ordovician Park.
Then there’s Hanhao Qiao, the world’s first suspension bridge made of glass.
Opened in September 2015, the 1000ft long thin strip of glass is suspended 590ft in the air between two cliffs in Shiniuzhai National Geological Park, giving travellers an amazing view below. Originally made of wood, the national park replaced one section with glass in 2014, before deciding to rebuild the entire structure. The floor is now made of a double layer of glass and is just 24 mm thick.
Eleven workers laboured 12 hours a day to convert the former wooden bridge into the new structure, reinforced with thick layers of glass and a metal frame. The project was incredibly difficult, not only due to the height but also because the structure, being based on a suspension bridge, wobbles every time someone walks onto it. Not the best when you’re trying to accurately secure large panes of glass nearly 600ft in the air. Hanhao Qiao translates to Brave Men’s Bridge in English; a title passed down from word of mouth that anyone who is able to cross the fearsome bridge is a truly brave man. A title that really should have gone to the engineers.
Moving onwards and upwards is the much-heralded ‘world’s highest and longest’ glass-bottomed bridge which opened in China last year. Measuring 430m (1,400ft) long and suspended 300m (984ft) above the ground, the bridge spans the canyon between two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie park in China’s central Hunan Province. The cliffs are known as the Avatar mountains, due to the film being shot here, and the £2.6million structure (designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan) gives travellers an astonishing panoramic view of its beautiful surroundings.
The bridge unfortunately had to close temporarily after just 13 days of its launch back in September 2016 after receiving a huge influx of tourists, much higher (excuse the pun) than expected. The management committee has had to install a monitoring system to help control the number of people visiting the bridge. Only 8,000 people each day will be allowed to cross the bridge with tourists having to book their tickets a day in advance, at a cost of 138 yuan (£15). The bridge is definitely one for the selfie-stick, although make sure you leave your stiletto’s at home as they are banned from the bridge. Best take flats.
……and there’s more! We can’t ignore the breathtaking 100m long Coiling Dragon cliff skywalk, the third of such to open in the area.
The 5ft wide walkway features 99 turns that snake around Tianmen Mountain and sits 4,600ft above sea level.
Or if walking isn’t your thing then there’s always the Bailong Elevator. Known as the Hundred Dragon Elevator the ride gives tourists stunning views across the historic quartzite-sandstone cliffs of Wulingyuan.
Taking three years to build at a cost of 120 million yuan (£12 million), the elevator can take up to 50 tourists at a time, and takes a minute and a half to reach the top. It currently boasts multiple Guinness world records such as being the world’s tallest full-exposure outdoor elevator, the world’s tallest double-decked sightseeing elevator and the world’s fastest passenger traffic elevator with the biggest carrying capacity. Which is good news considering it attracts over 5 million visitors every year.
The vertiginous attractions are certainly a plenty and will most definitely challenge your inner daredevil. The obsession with glass can only be put down to the fact that most of the structures are in areas of such astounding natural beauty, they allow visitors to truly take in the remarkable views.
However not all views are equal. Perhaps saving the most terrifying transparent tourist attraction to last, are these tree-top public toilets. If you like your ‘loo with a view’ then these solar-powered glass bathrooms can be found in the Shiyanhu Ecological Park. Built entirely of glass, the toilets allow you to take in the stunning forest surroundings when your own nature calls.