China: Three Natural Bridges National Geopark
Photos by Raymond Hardy
Three Natural Bridges National Geopark (Tian Keng San Qiao) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 12 kilometers north of Wulong in Chongqing Municipality, China. The gorge here contains three large natural bridges (actually four, since the first one is a double arch) as well as waterfalls and caves. Persons wishing to visit this area can contact Raymond Hardy for travel information.
Sky Dragon Bridge (Tian Long)
From a car park on the rim, a glass elevator descends part way into the gorge, after which visitors walk down stairways (photo above) through the largest opening of the three bridges, Sky Dragon Bridge (Tian Long). It has an estimated span of 160 feet and an estimated height of 310 feet. The buildings at the bottom of the stairways (photo below) were built as a movie set for the 2006 film Curse of the Golden Flower starring Chow-Yun Fat and Gong Li.
Sky Dragon Bridge is a double arch. In the photo above, the largest opening (with the stairways) is to the left, and the second opening is to the right. The second opening (photo below) has an estimated span of 100 feet and estimated height of 210 feet.
In the movie Curse of the Golden Flower, ninjas were filmed sliding down ropes to attack the compound, as can be seen in the movie still below. The second opening of Sky Dragon Bridge is shown in the background. It is seen only very briefly in the film. See our GIS section for more information and map for this arch.
Green Dragon Bridge (Qin Long)
The second bridge, Green Dragon (Qin Long), is a short walk downstream from the larger bridge. The view above is approaching the bridge, and the view below is looking back after going through it. The span is estimated at 80 feet and the height is estimated at 330 feet. See our GIS section for more information and map for this arch.
Black Dragon Bridge (Hei Long)
The third bridge, Black Dragon (Hei Long), lies a short walk beyond the second bridge. There are weeping waterfalls within the opening. The span is estimated at 60 feet and the height is estimated at 380 feet. To get back to the car park, you have a choice of ascending 1000 stairs past the third bridge, or go back the way you came, up through the first bridge to the glass elevator. In 2010 a new road will allow for van service to pick you up in the gorge and take you back to the car park for a fee. There is also a fee for the elevator but the other entrance is free and is used by vendors who sell food and souvenirs to the tourists. See our GIS section for more information and map for this arch.
The short video below was edited from a Chinese tourism DVD of the area. At the end are a couple of brief movie clips of the ninja attack from Curse of the Golden Flower with Chinese narration (thrown out of synch by YouTube).