The Wulong Karst, located in the southeast of Chongqing, 139 km from the city center, is featured with rare karst natural landscape. Covering an area of 135.1 km², it was named a world natural heritage by UNESCO in 2007 and includes the three main parts of Furong Cave, Three Natural Bridges, Houping Giant Doline (Houping Tiankeng), and other scenic spots.
Wulong is known by most domestic tourists for “Curse of the Golden Flower”, a well-known movie directed by famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou. After that, in 2014, Wulong becomes known to foreign tourists due to Michael Bay’s hit movie – Transformers: Age of Extinction, which directly shows the majesty and beauty of the Three Natural Bridges in Wulong. Besides the famous movie sites, other marvelous natural objects are also in this area, like Furong Cave, Longshuixia Gap, and Fairy Mountain.
Compared with Stone Forest Karst in Yunnan and Libo Karst in Guizhou, Wulong Karst is located in a relatively remote area away from the impact of human activities, so it retains the original features of karst landforms.
Wulong is just the kind of place where you’ll be amazed by the uncanny workmanship of nature and has four hottest attractions: Three Natural Bridges of a world wonder, magical Furong Cave, Fairy Mountain with vast grassland, and the magnificent Longshuixia Gap.
Three Natural Bridges
The three natural karst stone arch bridges: Tianlong Bridge, Qinglong Bridge, and Heilong Bridge, located 20 kilometers southeast of Chongqing City, with an average height and span of over 200 meters, constitute the largest natural bridge cluster in Asia.
Lying from north to south, crossing over the Yangshuihe Gorge and connecting the mountains on the two sides, they evolved due to tectonic uplift and the erosion by underground water. Some parts uplifted forming the bridges, and others collapsed to form karst pits. Therefore, the unique landscape of ‘Three Natural Bridges enclosed with Two Pits’ is solely nature’s creation. There are naturally formed pits under the bridges, so the Three Natural Bridges are also called Tiankeng Three Bridges.
Tianlong Bridge, also called No.1 Tiankeng Bridge, with 235 m high and 150 in thickness, and is the first bridge. The most unique part of Tianlong Bridge is its bridge pier, which has maze-like caves. The main cave is 400 m long and there are all kinds of large and small passages to various peculiar caves.
Qinglong Bridge, the second bridge, is the most precipitous one among the three. It’s 281m high and 168m in thickness. When the sun shines again after rain, you can see the colorful light through the bridge opening.
Heilong Bridge is the last one, thus it’s also called No.3 Tiankeng Bridge. Heilong Bridge is wider than the other two bridges, with a width of 193m, 223 in height, and 107m in thickness. Before it’s open to the public, the local villagers will stop passing through here after 4 pm for it’s very dark since then. Besides that, Heilong Bridge is considered the most beautiful one of the three. It’s hard to believe that on the top of the bridge, there are huge tracts of farmland, and the four delicate springs in Heilong Bridge are formed due to this farmland.
March to October: ¥125/person (including ¥40 for travel bus, running among Xiannv Town Tourist Center, Longshuixia Gap entrance, and Three Natural Bridges entrance).
November to February: ¥95/person (including ¥40 for travel bus).
Houping Tiankeng Scenic Area
Houping Giant Doline (Houping Tiankeng), situated at Houping Town, 88 kilometers from Wulong County, is the first tiankeng cluster type of erosion discovered in the world.
A tiankeng refers to a karst doline or sinkhole, measuring at least 100 meters in-depth and in diameter. Based on the cause of formation, tiankengs can be divided into two types: collapsed tiankengs and eroded tiankengs. Collapsed tiankengs are common, while eroded tiankengs are quite rare. The Houping Tiankeng cluster is the finest example of an eroded tiankeng.
The Houping Giant Doline developed in the soluble limestone of the Ordovician Period and is an integrated karst ecosystem, consisting of gorges, dolines, shafts, and underground caves, which demonstrate the various stages of the evolution of karst terrain.
Covering a total area of 150,000 square meters, it is mainly composed of five smaller tiankengs: Qingkou Tiankeng, Niubidong Tiankeng, Shiwangdong Tiankeng, Daluotai Tiankeng, and Tianping Temple Tiankeng. Among them, Qingkou Tiankeng is the most typical one. It has integrated morphologic features, providing strong evidence of geological evolution. The pithead takes an oblong shape and has a depth of about 300 meters. From an overview from the pithead, the tiankeng seems to be boundless and beyond measurement. From a view from the bottom of the tiankeng, the steep walls extend to the vault of heaven. The floating white clouds and azure sky make visitors they have escaped from earthly triviality.
The Giant Doline cluster, endowed with so many wonders by nature, is not only a tourist draw but also an ideal place for the scientific study of geological evolution, so draw the explorers from both at home and abroad.
Furong Cave is a large-scale limestone cave located next to Furong River in Jiangkou Town of Wulong County, which is about 190 km from Chongqing City center and is the only cave in China that was listed on ‘The World Natural Heritage List. Together with Mammoth Cave in the US, and Graemes Cave in France, it was named one of ‘The Three Greatest Caves in the World’.
Formed in the carbonate rocks about 1.2 million years ago, and discovered in 1993, the main cave of Furong Cave is about 2700 m long and covers an area of 37,000 square meters. There are over 70 kinds of karst sediments in the Furong Cave, and it’s reputed as a splendid underground art palace and science museum for caves. The most magnificent part of Furong Cave is the “Splendid Hall”, which covers an area of 11,000 square meters. Besides that, there are 15 m wide and 21m high rock waterfall, smooth palm-shaped stalagmite, numerous helictite and stone flowers, etc., and the red coral and fang-shape calcite crystal in the cave are very precious and stunning. The various shapes and kinds of stalactites in the cave have recorded the evolution process of the cave.
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