China’s sprawling countryside doesn’t get the credit it deserves. There’s restaurants hanging on cliff faces, tunnels carved into mountains and colourful landscapes that almost don’t look real. And right in the middle of it, you’ll find the world’s tallest outdoor elevator.
Found in China’s majestic Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the Bailong elevator, a glass lift with one hell of a view.
Open to the public since May 2002, this mechanical marvel sits at 326 metres tall, and is built into the side of a quartzite cliff face. There are three double-decker elevators sitting side-by-side, with around 171 metres of the ascent done above ground. Each elevator has the capacity for 4900 kilograms (which is about 50 people) and the ride takes about a minute and a half to reach the top. Let’s just say it’ll feel like the longest minute and a half of your life.
From its peak visitors can get a bird’s eye view over breathtaking Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and the area’s massive karst monolith formations. Fun fact: this park was the inspiration of the alien planet Pandora in Avatar.
Last year the Bailong elevator was officially recognised as the world’s tallest outdoor lift by the Guinness Book of Records, with the area surrounding it now an official UNESCO Heritage Site. She sure is a beauty. Just don’t look down.
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