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2018-04-13

[My Travel Log] So Much Suspense


Pedestrian Bridges in Mountainous Areas

Text: Twelli
Photos: Vision

Danayigu Suspension Bridge

 Exploring Taiwan, this leaf-shaped island in East Asia that has been my stomping ground for almost three decades, never seems to lose its allure. This country is often described as small – small but with a lot of things in store for visitors. On Wikipedia’s list of Countries and dependencies by area, Taiwan sits way down in 134th place, between such places as Switzerland (132) and Belgium (137). While those two similarly small European countries, without doubt, have unique assets that draw tons of tourists (ranging from the tiny Manneken Pis to the mighty Matterhorn), they are no match for Taiwan when it comes to diversity of terrain and climatic zones. There are few places in the world where subtropical beaches and alpine mountain areas are in such close proximity that you can easily visit both on the same day – by way of example, it takes less than three hours to drive from coastal Hualien City to the Wuling Pass, just below the peak of Hehuanshan (Mt. Hehuan), 3,416 meters above sea level.

While I enjoy time spent exploring historic sites and cultural treasures, walking through modern cities, and searching for new places to satisfy culinary desires, what gets me far more excited is setting off on yet another trip to the mountains, to forest recreation areas, to indigenous villages. The island’s mountain scenery never fails to put a smile on my face, and if there are suspension bridges to be crossed, said smile is made significantly wider.

There must be thousands of them, and while I have seen and crossed my fair share, there are certainly many more out there waiting to be conquered, even higher, even longer, even more precariously placed. Some of these bridges were constructed many decades ago, serving as important lifelines for mountain villages, facilitating important operations such as power-line maintenance, helping hikers to get to the tops of mountains more conveniently, and – a more recent purpose – attracting tourists in search of thrills and soaring scenery.

  • Dongpu Suspension Bridge

    Dongpu Suspension Bridge

  • Zhuilu Suspension Bridge

    Zhuilu Suspension Bridge

Some of the most memorable – and highly recommended – suspension bridges among those checked off my seemingly endless “to-do” list of these engineering feats are Bitan Suspension Bridge (an easy-access suspension bridge in Taipei), Dongpu Suspension Bridge in Nantou County (sporting distinctive green-painted steel towers and an impressive arch), Shanchuan Glass Suspension Bridge in Pingtung County (Taiwan’s second-longest at 262m), Danayigu Suspension Bridge (in the beautiful southern part of Alishan National Scenic Area), Zhuilu Suspension Bridge (giving access to the Zhuilu Historic Trail in Taroko Gorge), the breathtaking Sky Ladder in Nantou (see Feature article in this issue), and last but not least, Taiping Suspension Bridge in Chiayi County (opened last year, at 282m the longest tourist suspension bridge in Taiwan).

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