Bridges are built for the fundamental purpose of enabling people, vehicles or livestock to reach the distant opposite side. They’ve been around for ages serving that purpose. Traversing over impassable bodies of water, the thickest forests, the biggest boulders, or the deepest pits, these bridges are essentially a means to get to the other end in a fast and safe manner. In the advent of modern technology, coupled with advanced engineering principles, several modern bridges all over the globe have become structural icons. Thanks to careful planning, impeccable architecture, and faultless building techniques, bridges these days seem to have “indestructible” written all over them.
This, however, is not the case for all of them. In many places around the world, there are bridges that are all suggestive of imminent danger. One look at these bridges and people wouldn’t mind taking a step back instead of journeying onwards. The sight of such bridges almost always guarantees travellers will avoid crossing them even if they think they’re ready for anything! Some are either so haphazardly done or nearly completely worn out that crossing them would be, as they say, tantamount to suicide!
Here are 15 bridges that, without a doubt, trigger the gephyrophobiac in us.
15. Hussaini hanging bridge in Pakistan
The Hussaini Suspension Bridge is not named the most dangerous bridge in the world for nothing. Connecting Zarabadto Hussaini village in Northern Pakistan, it sits over the Hunza River. It was built in the 1960s to help hunters make it from one side and to the other easier and faster. Each single step is characterized by wide gaps between the planks, instilling doubt in the hearts of even the bravest adventurers. This hanging bridge is notorious for swaying heavily because of the winds, too! To many who do not dare, the Hussaini Suspension Bridge speaks of imminent danger and should be avoided at all costs. However, for those whose bucket lists include conquering the fear of an almost guaranteed disaster, this decades-old walkway is definitely the real deal.
14. Tibag-Sabang Bridge in the Philippines
For people who are willing to brave a pathway made of the lightest materials with a raging river right below it, the Tibag-Sabang Bridge in the Philippines might be the perfect spot. For years, this hanging bridge in the town of Baler located within the province of Aurora has been utilized by the locals to get to the other side of the town separated by the Tibag-Sabang River, hence the name. With wide-gapped, worn wood planks over dilapidated metal mesh as flooring, this bridge is every safety-obsessed traveler’s nightmare much as it is every daredevil’s haven. What’s more, this bridge tends to swing a lot and only has ropes reinforced by old cable wires as handrails. However, according to the local folks, such handrails used to be non-existent. Imagine that!
13. Suspension Bridge in India
The village of Nitte in Karnataka proposes to be the ideal spot for people who prefer the mountains over the bustling cities in India. The country, in its burgeoning economy, hides the secret natural paradise of Nitte in the Western Ghat Mountains where it rains all year round. This rural village is about 36 kilometers to the nearest airport and roughly 27 kilometers to the nearest railroad. Local buses are the frequent means of travel in the area. When the locals need to get to the other side of the village, they pass through a suspension bridge. Considering the thickness of the jungle and all the dangers lurking in it, the Nittr suspension—with loosely plastered planks as footbridge and dilapidated ropes as handrails, may seem like a bad idea!
12. Bridge in Sangam, Upper Siang, India
It’s hard not to call the idea of crossing a bridge with steps made out of worn-out wood and other light materials completely insane. This is what most people who fear heights and bridges think about the suspension bridge located in Sangam, Upper Siang in India. The Upper Siang region is well known for its massive mountains, rich vegetation and unpolluted bodies of water such as rivulets and streams all leading to the Siang River. It all sounds like a fun idea to actually conquer all fears by deciding to take that challenge and brave this walkway. However, because safety is not guaranteed (when is it ever?), people are advised to muster all courage, be extremely prepared and careful, and cross at their own risk.
11. Monkey Bridges in Vietnam
The Cau khi or Monkey Bridges in Vietnam are considered by the locals as their very own gem. Painstakingly built by hand to connect a number of spots across Mekong Delta, the Monkey Bridges are seen as pretty scary stuff. It’s awesome that people themselves built these bridges using bamboo which is the abundant natural resource in the area, but it makes us wonder who in their right mind wouldn’t consider the bridge crossers’ safety as top priority. Seriously, a bamboo log and a single handrail for support on one side? When crossing the bridge, people are advised to be in a stooped posture like real monkeys to keep the log in place. That may sound funny at first but the more it’s emphasized, the scarier the journey appears to be!
10. Hanging Bridge near Bontoc, Philippines
In the Mountain Province region in the Philippines is the Lanao Bridge, a hanging bridge that promises a completely frightening walk. The mere thought of taking each step on thin wood pieces of the bridge makes the knees turn into jelly. And what good will that thin rope railing do? Many who have dared swear on the glorious walk on the Lanao Bridge, as it presents the rice terraces on full display for front-row and center viewing. We’re just not sure if that makes up for the horrific experience of each person who isn’t exactly a fan of heights. Saying that this bridge is all but sturdy wouldn’t even begin to explain the terrifying trip that awaits people who agree to a “cross at your risk” dare.
9. Langkawi Sky Bridge in Malaysia
Imagine this: a curved suspension bridge supported in the middle by a frail-looking, tower-like structure that sits at a 700-meter altitude and connects two mountains. This bridge—the Langkawi Sky Bridge located in Malaysia—promises an extraordinary view of Mt. Mat Cincang but never quite appeals to people who value their safety and well-being. This 125-meter bridge can support as many as 250 people crossing at once. It was actually upgraded and maintained prior to its reopening to the public in 2012. To date, it now comes with steel reinforcements and a sturdy glass in the midsection for a stunning view of the thick forests below. But really, it is hard to imagine how crossing this wobbly catwalk could possibly be anyone’s cup of tea!
8. Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge in Zhangjiajie, China
The longest and highest glass bridge in the world sounds like a sight to behold, doesn’t it? The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge in China made a spectacle when it was opened to the public in 2016 in a trial operation. Every day, some 8,000 visitors were able to grab limited spots to walk on the bridge. Delightful as the experience may appear in the photos, it essentially terrified the wits out of many. At 300 meters or 984 feet, this bridge was definitely a place that the faint-hearted should avoid at all costs! In exchange for a panoramic view of the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon spanning the glass footbridge, people with heart and other health problems and those with a fear of heights went through a traumatizing experience.
7. Copper Canyon Bridge in Mexico
A trip to Mexico’s Copper Canyon is one for the books. Located in the state of Chihuahua, the Copper Canyon area has become a terrific spot for peeking into one of Mexico’s best-kept sceneries, including that which can be enjoyed through a train journey. Another awesome part of this trip is the Copper Canyon suspension bridge which serves as a bridge for hikers. Located along the U-shaped route of the railway of the El Chepe or Copper Canyon train, it provides mind-blowing scenery of the spectacular network of canyons trumping the Grand Canyon in Arizona in terms of size. The scary part? It is a walkway consisting of—get this—wooden planks! Dare to stand on this suspended walkway and be dwarfed by boulders and cliffs of massive scales?
6. Bamboo Bridge in Cambodia
Cambodia is known for its abundant indigenous materials, including locally grown bamboo that the locals utilize for a wealth of projects. The Koh Pen Bridge, which stretches 300 meters across the Mekong River and connects the Koh Pen Island with the mainland, is considered the longest bamboo bridge in the world. It is made entirely out of wire-strapped bamboo and is strong enough to carry small vehicles. While that sounds really promising, those who’ve walked on the Koh Pen bridge swear the walkway doesn’t seem to be as sturdy as the locals claim it is. Let’s see—a bridge made completely out of bamboo that sits over a great river? The worrywart in us can’t help but wonder if it’s only a matter of time before the entire thing collapses!
5. Kotmale Footbridge in Sri Lanka
The Kotmale Oya River in Sri Lanka spans 70 km long and flows through villages and plantations. To be able to get across without dipping themselves in the muddy and rough river, people built the Kotmale Oya footbridge. The kicker? It’s made of wooden boards which aren’t exactly built to last, at least considering its exposure to violent torrent and other elements. It isn’t very well maintained either, making it look utterly flimsy and unstable. While the railings have been reinforced with steel rods, it’s easy to see how the footbridge itself has decayed over time with huge holes in them, making it difficult to even imagine crossing it. The bridge has become a tourist attraction particularly for those who live on the edge, so to speak!
4. U Bein Bridge in Myanmar
Would you dare to stand on a 160-year-old footbridge made of teakwood? Myanmar boasts of its every own—the U Bein Bridge. It spans 1.2 kilometers over the Taungthaman Lake in the Amarapura area. The teakwood bridge, considered as the longest and oldest of its kind in the world, was built in the 1850s. The 1,086 pillars stretching out of the lake are intact for the most part, although some of them have been replaced with concrete. The remaining pillars, however, have apparently decayed. Even as it proposes to be an unsafe footpath, the U Bein Bridge is drawing visitors who seek to set foot on the historic bridge. To these daredevils, nothing beats the rush and excitement that this dangerous and unstable footbridge brings.
3. Eshima Ohashi Bridge in Japan
Japan is known throughout the world for its spectacular structures. The Eshima Ohashi Bridge, which spans across Lake Nakaumi, leaves spectators in awe. Connecting Matsue and Sakaiminato prefectures, this rigid-framed bridge rises to allow ships underneath to pass. While the idea is definitely nothing new, the Eshima Ohashi stands out because from an angle, it rises so steeply with cars ascending along with it, and drops just as sharply. In fact, the rest of the world calls it the rollercoaster bridge! Despite the fact that the bridge is completely safe and thankfully, not a bit dizzying, it does make us rethink driving in the area. The thought of being atop this mile-long bridge as it rises and falls makes us want to never even be there.
2. Puente de Ojuela Bridge in Mexico
One of Mexico’s goldmine greats has left a trace of history through the Puente de Ojuela Bridge. This suspension bridge located in Mapimí, in the state of Durango was completed in 1898 and was declared a tourist spot in 1991. It spans 217 meters and stands at a height of 327 feet with a massive ravine below it. Over time, steel cables were added to the bridge to reinforce it. Tourists and locals agree that the most interesting part of the Puente de Ojuela is that it connects Mapimi to the abandoned landmine. The bridge is definitely proof of the Mexicans’ knack for fine planning and structural engineering. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that the historic bridge leads to a ghost town. It’s a creepy pathway that makes for a year-round Halloween spot.
1. Deception Pass Bridge in Washington (when it’s foggy)
The Deception Pass Bridge in the state of Washington was built in the 1930s. The name alone is suggestive of something unpleasant, making it incredibly attractive to adventurers. Connecting Whidbey Island and Fidalgo, this two-lane, arched steel bridge in Deception Pass State Park is 1,486 feet long and sits 180 feet above the water. Over the bridge is the Washington State Route 20. On a sunny day, it offers a scenic and splendid view. Foggy days are the exact opposite. Driving through the historic landmark on a foggy day or walking over the narrow pedestrian lane offers a terrifying view of the waters directly below the bridge. Some would say the idea is almost like a scene from a horror film. Certainly, this crossover is for those who enjoy a frightening and hair-raising experience.
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