All around the world there are millions, maybe billions of bridges, most sensible and functional in shape and size. But every so often you’ll come across a bridge that stops you, a bridge that wasn’t created by an architect but an artist.
Though it’s decked out for domestic tourism, this Miao village can seduce any seasoned traveler with picturesque countryside, terraced fields, clear streams and showering waterfalls. Get here by bus from Jishou, a central hub for Zhangjiajie, Dehang and Fenghuang travelers.
Often overlooked when compared to the main event, this mystical bridge stands patiently waiting for patrons to peel their eyes from the Grand Buddha and appreciate all the popular Leshan Buddhist site has to offer. If you do the full loop, starting at Buddha’s head and descending down the staircases until you are at his toes, the path out will lead you through a small fishing village where this beauty rests.
Wulingyuan & Zhangjiajie, Hunan
One of the best views in Zhangjiajie is also one of the most isolated. Away from the swarms of people actually on the bridge, this viewing platform is out of the way and mostly forgotten. Get to it by taking one of the free park trams to the Zhongtian International Youth Hostel, the stop right after the Enchanting Terrace hiking circuit. Follow the trail behind the hostel for about a quarter of a mile. When the path forks, stay left.
Wonderfully cliche, this lit bridge won’t make you stop and ponder the meaning of life or feel gratitude for the humble nature that surrounds you. But that’s OK. This bridge serves another purpose, and that is to make you feel alive. Somewhat of a party city, the colorful lights and flashing signs only contribute to the overall atmosphere. The central point of the historical city, this bridge marks the path between the majority of the sites. The through ticket is unnecessary though; you can explore and enjoy most of the city without it.
Part of the thrill of Fairy Bridge is the work that it takes to reach it. Don’t mind the several hours of hiking on abandoned trails or destination name changes that make you wonder where you’re headed. Not that most hikers would be irked by idyllic views and iconic beauty, but more than once you may ask yourself if the end goal will be worth it.
There’s a saying in China roughly translated into “Never Another Mountain,” meaning once you visit Huangshan, you’ll never want to see another because each will fall short. Even the peaks themselves emit an air of confidence. If you choose one mountain, one bridge — choose this one. It’s worth it.