Located in the World Heritage site Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Bailong Elevator is a glass elevator, built onto the side of a huge cliff. Its name means “Hundred Dragons Elevator”. It stretches 335 meters high (1099 feet) and looks like a giant dragon soaring up to the sky. Construction of the elevator began in 1999 and it opened to the public in 2002, costing 180 million yuan. On 16 July 2015, the elevator was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the highest, the fastest, largest-load outdoor elevator in the world.
Bailong Elevator can take 50 passengers per ride, giving it an hourly capacity of 4000 passengers. It runs 5 meters per second and takes about 66 seconds from top to bottom. Its operating hours are from 08:00 - 17:30 on normal days, and from 07:00 - 20:00 on public holidays, like National Day. It may be closed in severe weather. Ticket costs: CNY 72 for a single trip and CNY 144 for a round trip.
Why build it ?
Shorten travel time: Yuanjiajie is another world natural heritage site, with high cliffs and deep valleys. Previously, tourists had to take more than three hours to drive on a dangerous mountain road to Yuanjiajie. It took more than five hours drive from the foot of the mountain to Yuanjiajie scenic spot. Since Bailong Elevator has been accessible to visitors, the time has shortened to 66 seconds, which is considered a miracle. Bailong Elevator, greatly shortens tourists’ travel time and does away with the need to stay overnight on the mountains.
Connecting with other attractions: The construction of Bailong Elevator allows people to go sightseeing up the mountain during the day and stay overnight at the foot of the mountain. So it provides convenience in transportation for visitors. Moreover, passengers can appreciate peerless scenery from the elevator, including World Bridge of Yuanjiajie, Wulong village and Yangjiajie etc. The elevator integrates Mount Tianzi, Yuanjiajie, Golden Whip Stream as a single entity, solving traffic bottleneck problems in this scenic spot which had bothered visitors for many years.
Protect the environment: As it used to be very inconvenient to go sightseeing by day and go down to stay overnight, tourists had to stay on the mountains. Hence, there used to be plenty of hotels, guesthouses and other accommodation facilities on the mountain. At peak travel season, many tourists came to stay on the mountain, which seriously damaged the environment.
The government had to spend a lot of money to deal with trash and other damage, and it also took measures to remove hotels and other overnight facilities to protect the environment. Today, thanks to the construction of Bailong Elevator, tourists do not need to stay on the mountains, meaning that many overnight facilities are unnecessary and can be removed from the scenic area. It helps effectively to protect the environment.
Economic benefit: The operation of Bailong Elevator brings great economic benefit for locals. After running for four years, the number of employees has risen from 30 to almost 200. It enhances local tourism industry as well as job opportunities.
Breaking News - A “Spider Man” Climbed Bailong Elevator
On 18th May, 2015, dare-devil climber Jean-Michel Casanova successfully climbed the 564ft outdoor section of the elevator, with no help from any machinery, safety net or safety equipment. There was no net to catch Casanova if he fell, no safety rope connecting him to the structure. All Casanova needed was a pair of green and black sticky sneakers to aid him on his ascent. It took him 68 minutes and 26 seconds to complete the 564ft challenge. The elevator consists of a shaft inside the mountain and a steel structure outside the mountain. Casanova climbed the steel structure on the outside. This news shocked the world!
How to get there ?
Obviously, tourists need to get to Zhangjiajie city first. There are flights, trains and long-distance busses available. Zhangjiajie Hehua International Airport has flights to destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Nanjing, Nanning and Yinchuan, as well as Taipei and Busan. Train routes extend to Guangzhou, Beijing, Zhanjiang, Changsha and Wuxi. The highways extend in all directions, and there is a superhighway connecting Changsha and the city. New roads connect the city center to a number of scenic areas, making travel by car very convenient.
From downtown: After arriving in Zhangjiajie city, tourists can take the bus in Zhangjiajie Center Bus Station to Wulingyuan area directly. The travel time is about 45-60 minutes and the bus fare is CNY 12. A taxi from Zhangjiajie city to Wulingyuan entrance takes also 45-60 minutes and costs about CNY 100. From the airport, there are regular shuttle busses, departing every few minutes to the Wulingyuan area directly, which is about a one hour ride.
Inside the park: There are four bus routes and two of them stop at Bailong Elevator. One is Mountain Down Bus, which is from the Wulinyuan entrance to the Bailong Elevator. The other is Mountain Top Bus, connecting the Bailong Elevator with the Tianzi Mountain Cable Way. All buses are free but don’t have numbers or English signs. Tourists can ask the driver for help when waiting at the bus stop.
1. Landscapes may be hidden by the heavy mist on rainy days.
2. Do not bring pointed articles.
3. People with heart disease, acrophobia, psychosis, drunkenness and depressive disorder are not advised to take the elevator.
4. Do not jump or run inside the elevator.
5. Be patient and wait in line if crowded, as it is a popular scenic spot.