The World’s Tallest + Longest Glass Bridge (Zhangjiajie)

About a year ago, I started seeing videos and articles on Facebook about how there was going to be a new tourist attraction built at Zhangjiajie, amidst the mountains that inspired the scenes of Pandora in Avatar. In August, the longest and tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world opened to visitors. I definitely did not think this was something I’d ever do. I visited Zhangjiajie several years ago, and it was really beautiful but quite a strenuous hike. China has been building a lot of attractions for the sole purpose of attracting tourists, and I didn’t want to positively reinforce that cycle.
Yet there I was, putting little shoe covers on over my feet and looking at the to scale diorama of the bridge and the canyon below it.
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Here’s my experience with the record-setting glass bridge in Zhangjiajie.
Planning ahead would be best when it comes to visiting this Facebook-famous attraction.
  • You can reserve tickets online a day in advance, and this is, I believe, the best deal you can get on the tickets. We got ours from a tour agency on the way up, and they sell tickets at the door at the highest mark-up.
  • While the mountains are always a little misty, and the pollution is difficult to escape, the view on the bridge is more impressive on a clear and sunny day. We got clouds, so maybe that’s why I didn’t feel as much vertigo.
  • If you have a large bag (larger than a purse), you will be asked to check it – for a fee – at the concierge at the front.
  • You cannot bring your large camera in and will have to check that as well.  You can, of course, bring in your phone. I had my little camera in my pocket and had no issues with bringing it onto the bridge, but there were zero folks with larger cameras like DSLRs out on the bridge; I was the only person using not my phone camera to take photos.
  • Food is also prohibited on the bridge.There are a lot of little stands that sell food, so leave yours behind as they don’t want to attract too many critters onto the glass!
  • Don’t wear stilettos. You will not be allowed to wear them onto the bridge, as Force = Pressure / Area and the tiny area of your heel is very dangerous.
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The English portion of the rules on the bridge
Once you arrive in the visitor center, you will receive a pair of shoe covers to keep the glass flooring dirt-free. They are mandatory, so don’t worry about getting that #shoefie or #selfeet (??) photo on the glass – you will be wearing those stylish covers on your feet. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes if you choose to hike (more on the canyon hike below).
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Mine were a wine red but I’ve seen a lot of different colors online! And yeah, that’s a pretty steep drop…
The glass bridge in Zhangjiajie spans the Grand Canyon, not to be confused with the famous canyon of the same name in Arizona. It measures ‎430 meters (1410 feet) long, ‎6 meters (20 feet) wide, and ‎300 meters (984 feet) high, making it the world’s longest and tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world as of now.
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In the front is the pane of shattered glass, upon which several tons are resting to demonstrate the structural integrity of the bridge and each pane that makes it

Stepping out on the bridge, you get the briefest sense of vertigo. I think that because we came on a rather overcast day, it wasn’t as bad because you didn’t have as clear of a view of the bottom of the canyon. The glass starts on the cliff, so you aren’t immediately stepping over a 1000-foot drop. Rather, you start on the rocks of the cliff, right beneath your feet, walk on some treetops, and then before you know it, the glass is only separating you from the earth and water hundreds of meters away.

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There is a limit as to how many people are allowed on the bridge at any given time, and most of them congregate near the beginning of the bridge. Construction is not yet complete on the other side, so as of now, the front is the entrance and the exit; there is no through traffic on the bridge just yet.

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At some point, they are planning on setting up the bridge for ziplining and bungee jumping, which I think is insane but whatever gets people’s blood pumping! If you’re looking for a quieter kind of thrill, I think the views here are pretty dang good.

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With or without pollution, there is always a mystical mist drifting through the mountains in Zhangjiajie…

You’ll notice a lot of folks laying on the ground for their photos (like the selfie that was requested of me above) and trying to capture the drop below the glass. If you really want that to be clear, go on a clear day. The overcast day makes for moodier photos where you can only clearly see the drop below you in your shadow, as the reflection of the cloudy sky is very bright in the glass.

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Here’s a shot of our teen tour guide, and you can see that her shadow shows the cliffs behind her most clearly

This was a lot of fun to visit in person, and so soon after I saw viral videos about this attraction online! I do wish we had sunnier weather, but with how bad the pollution has been in China, sunny clear skies are becoming increasingly rare.

Is it worth a visit? Maybe, once. It is super hyped in those videos, but honestly, the scariest thing was the dude stomping and galloping on the panes, causing the entire bridge the wobble. (Can you keep a secret? I would have only been a little distressed if someone pushed him off the bridge…) Also the hike through the Grand Canyon was terrifying but I’ll talk about that in the next one!


Would you visit this bridge? I would definitely recommend visiting Zhangjiajie in general, as it’s a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site with breath-taking views and mountains.
Have you ever walked on glass-bottomed bridges before?
I don’t know of any other ones, and this one just became very famous!

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4 thoughts on “The World’s Tallest + Longest Glass Bridge (Zhangjiajie)

  1. Was there at the end of may/june 2017 but my heart sank after understanding that cameras are not allowed to be brought in, hence no great photography thro my camera except a few shot from friends h/phone but from your great photo you sure had enjoy your time there

    Like

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