If you’re looking for dramatic landscapes, then a trip to China has got to be on your bucket list. With so many incredible locations, travellers are absolutely spoilt for choice, but for natural beauty, one destination which must be on your bucket list is Karst National Park.
The popularity of China as an international travel destination has received a recent boost from Hollywood’s current infatuation with all things Chinese and many of the country’s most inspiring landscapes have made it onto the big screen.
If you are a fan of ‘Avatar’, you should head to Zhangjiajie National Park , if you were inspired by ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, then take a trip to Anhui Province , or if animation is your thing, then try a visit to Chengdu City which inspired animators for ’Kung Fu Panda 3’ .
If you have time, you should visit all of these locations, but if you’re going to choose just one location, then Wulong Karst, which featured in ‘Transformers 4’, is the destination to prioritize.
Wulong Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a range of deep mountain valleys and spectacular stone bridges located in Wulong National Geological Park , Sichuan province.
The highlight of this awe inspiring national park is Karst Three Bridges (天生三桥 / Tiān Shēng Sān Qiáo) which provides breathtaking views from three natural bridges which stand over 220 meters above the valley floor. A visit to the Three Bridges also provides the opportunity to ride an elevator up a 200m cliff face !
From Chongqing, you can get to Karst by taking the subway to Sigongli 四公里 and then catching a bus to Wulong (武隆). The bus ride to Wulong takes a little over 2 hours. Then, from downtown Wulong, you take a minibus to the Wulong Tourist Center, where you buy tickets to enter the site. Admission fees vary according to the time of year, with a fee of 135 yuan from March to October, and 95 yuan between November and February.
From the Wulong Tourist Centre a paved path leads you down through the stunning valley with its sheer rock walls and past the three gargantuan stone archways which give the site its name.
You’ll also see an exquisite traditional Chinese inn under the Tianlong Bridge which has featured in the movie Curse of the Golden Flower, and has become a tourist attraction in its own right.
The majority of visitors spend just a day at this site in Wulong, but to truly appreciate its majestic beauty a minimum of two days is recommended.
When you eventually leave the splendor of Karst National Park, and make your way back to the city, be sure to check out one of the 30,000 hotpot restaurants in Chongqing.
This region is reputed to offer the very best hotpot in all of China, and you’ll regret not trying it when you had the chance!