Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Society

Tourism and education draw a host of visitors

By LUO WANGSHU | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-20 08:41
Share - WeChat
A tourist undertakes a skywalk — an extreme sporting activity — on the Baling River Bridge in Anshun, Guizhou, earlier this month. LUO WANGSHU/CHINA DAILY

On June 8, a group of high-school students from Beijing was visiting a bridge museum in Anshun in the southwestern province of Guizhou. The award-winning Baling River Bridge could be seen through the window.

"What is a bridge?" an instructor asked. A boy stood up and answered. "It is a link," he said.

Such discussions are often held at the Baling River Bridge Science and Technology Museum, which is also an education base themed on canyons and bridges.

Since the facility opened in 2019, students and teachers from more than 600 schools have carried out field trips and science, technology, engineering and math research activities there, the museum said.

From January to March, more than 10,000 students visited the museum, with 24 percent of them coming from outside of Guizhou.

Works by students from primary to high school level — such as paintings and models of the bridge — have been exhibited at the museum.

In addition to learning about the history and development of China's bridges at the museum, visitors can also walk along the Baling River Bridge to experience the feel of the huge structure.

The bridge, opened in 2009, is 2,237 meters long. The main span is 1,088 meters and it sits more than 370 meters above the river. It won the Luban Award, one of the most prestigious bridge construction awards in China.

Visitors take an elevator to board the bridge and then walk along the deck to enjoy the view and experience the clean atmosphere at high altitude.

When vehicles pass, visitors experience some vibration, which adds to the sometimes tense atmosphere. It is not recommended for people who fear heights.

The opening of the bridge shortened the journey time by road from the Huangguoshu Waterfall, a major sightseeing spot in Guizhou, to Guanling county, Anshun city, from one hour to just four minutes, said Wang Yu from the museum.

Featured local agricultural produce, such as beef and loquat fruits, are transported outside of the mountain via the bridge, he added.

The improved transportation network has also boosted tourism.

"The area is usually crowded during holidays and at weekends. There are several small, high-end boutique hotels in the area, which usually need to be booked two weeks ahead during holidays, and even one week in advance during off-peak times," Wang said.

Since October, 2019, a number of extreme sporting activities have been on offer at the bridge, such as bungee jumping, high-altitude swings and skywalks.

At a height of 370 meters, the high-altitude bungee jumping project is certified by Guinness World Records as the world's highest commercial bungee jump.

According to the museum, 50,000 visitors have ventured out to walk along the bridge since 2019.

"There are more than 28,000 bridges on Guizhou's roads. If they were all linked, the length would be more than 5,400 kilometers — longer than a round trip between Beijing and Guiyang, the provincial capital. It would even cross the Chinese mainland," said Xu Xianghua, chief engineer at the Guizhou Transportation Commission.

By the end of last year, nearly half the world's top 100 tall bridges, and four of the globe's 10 tallest bridges were in Guizhou. Fifteen of them have won 25 domestic and international awards.

Meanwhile, four bridges in Guizhou have won the Gustav Lindenthal Medal, one of the most prestigious bridge construction awards in the world. In total, nine bridges in China have won the award.

Guizhou has all four types of bridge: suspension cable; cable-stayed; arched; and beam.

"We have explored the in-depth integration of bridges and tourism, launching new tourism landmarks such as the Baling River Bridge, the Pingtang Bridge and the Huajiang River Canyon Bridge, which is still under construction," Xu said.

The latter is being built high above the Huajiang River, which is known for its steep cliffs and fast-flowing current. With a drop of 625 meters to the river, it is expected to become the tallest bridge in the world when it is completed in 2025.

It is expected to cut the journey time across the canyon from about an hour to about a minute.

It will replace the Beipan River Bridge, also in Guizhou, as the world's highest bridge. The Beipan bridge, which hangs more than 565 meters above the Beipan River, has been certified as the world's highest by Guinness World Records.

"Just image, the high-altitude programs allow tourists to experience walking in the air, enjoy tea near the clouds, view the scenery during the day and stargaze at night," Xu said, adding that all the different programs on offer meet the diverse needs of the visitors.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349