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Wulong Karst Region

Overview

A newly included natural scenery and hiking highlight in the UNESCO World Heritage List is the Wulong Karst. It has become one of the major attractions around Chongqing for people interested in primitive scenic areas, gorges, wildlife and caves. Wulong is one of the regions named on the World Heritage List’s South China Karst. Other areas named are Libo Karst and Shilin Karst. Three sites in Wulong are thought to be the most important. They are Furong Cave, the Three Natural Bridges, and the Houping Tiankengs.

Detailed Description

When thick layers of limestone weather, unusual rock formations may result. Much of south China including parts of Guangxi Province, Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province, and Sichuan Province are covered with karst formations called the South China Karst. Weathered karst hills, cliffs or rocks are commonly seen in Chinese traditional paintings. The rugged scenery is beautiful and unusual like that around Guilin in Guangxi Province. Most areas of the world don’t have karst formations. For those who have seen the desert scenery in the American southwest, the above-ground karst formations are much like the sandstone mesas, bridges, and towers. But the subterranean karst features of caves, pits and underground streams are perhaps even more interesting. The karst areas are also nature preserves and wildlife areas with a wide variety of plants and animals. So people interested in hiking and seeing wild animals and natural areas may especially like the Wulong Karst. The three main parts of the Wulong Karst are about 15 kilometers away from each other. The main parts of the Wulong Karst are Furong Cave, the Three Natural Bridges and the Houping Tiankeng (Houping Collapsed Doline).

The Furong Cave system has 2,846 meters of explored passages with chambers as high as 80 meters filled with deposits of calcite, aragonite, and gypsum forming clusters of crystals, cave pearls, stalactites and draperies. The colors are beautiful, and some places are lit with colored lights. It is said that the cave was discovered in 1993 and opened in 1994. It is about 15 kilometers away from both the Three Natural Bridges and the Houping Tiankeng. The cave system is among the biggest in China.

The Three Natural Bridges are the largest natural bridge cluster in Asia. They are each about 100 meters high and about 30 meters wide. People say that it is the main highlight of the area. You can hike around between the three bridges and walk in the gorge. The bridges are called Tianlong (Sky Dragon), Qinglong (Bright Green Dragon), and Heilong (Black Dragon). You can see steams and the big pits.

The Houping Tiankengs (Heaven Holes) are big pits. It is one of the largest tiankeng clusters in the world. The tiankengs were formed by erosion. The largest is called Qingkou, and it is about 220-250 meters wide, 295 meters deep and 40,754 square meters in area. There are also unusually deep shafts such as Qikeng that is 920 meters deep.

The three main areas are about 15 kilometers apart, and you can expect some good hiking and walking around in the area so bring proper clothes. The Wulong Karst is located in a relatively remote area so it retains more of its primitive features of karst landforms, plants and wildlife that were despoiled elsewhere.

There are many rare species of plants and animals inhabiting the area and bamboo groves. There are 332 species of animals, including four endangered species: clouded leopard, white cheeked black monkey, Chinese pangolin and golden eagle. Until a few years ago, travel to the area from Chongqing was difficult.

But its inclusion in the World Heritage List in 2007 has made it suddenly popular, so roads, hotels and restaurants have been built.

Location: Wulong County, Chongqing Municipality Region. It is about 110 kilometers east of the urban area.

History

In 1993, Furong Cave was discovered. It became a tourist attraction in 1994. In 2001, the large Qingkou tiankeng was discovered. In 2007, the Wulong Karst area was named in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Features:

  1. Remote scenic area with spectacular karst formations.
  2. One of the biggest caves in China.
  3. Biggest rock bridges cluster in Asia.
  4. Rare plant and animal preserve.

Touring Activities:

  1. See the rock bridges, caves, and giant pits.
  2. Photography.
  3. Hiking and animal appreciation.
  4. There is a zip wire near Furong Cave that goes over the river.
  5. See the visitor’s center at the Three Natural Bridges site.

Tips & articles

2011-05-23
Wulong Karst, an important part of South China Karst, is situatedat the lower reaches of the Wujiang River southeast of Chongqing. It was namedas a world natural heritage by UNESCO in 2007. Wulong Karst features spectacularkarst landscapes, including the three ...Read More