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.
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.
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
- Remote scenic area with spectacular karst formations.
- One of the biggest caves in China.
- Biggest rock bridges cluster in Asia.
- Rare plant and animal preserve.
- See the rock bridges, caves, and giant pits.
- Hiking and animal appreciation.
- There is a zip wire near Furong Cave that goes over the river.
- See the visitor’s center at the Three Natural Bridges site.