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Look Down If You Dare: ShiLinXia Glass Platform

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China is a place where the old meets the new. This wonderful combination of traditional with modern aspects makes China a truly amazing place to travel. China is famous for its many glass suspension bridges and glass walk ways. ShiLinXia Glass Viewing Platform is one such impressive feat of engineering. Standing 400 metres high over a 768-metre deep valley the glass viewing platform is not for the faint hearted. The spacecraft like design is in stark contrast with the natural rock formations of the ShiLinXia Scenic Area, which is part of the Jingdong Stone Forest Gorge (also referred to as Pingu Stone Forest Gorge or the Pingu Huangsongyu National Geopark) located a mere 96 miles from Beijing.

 
___________17_.jpgIf you want to have a little adventure this weekend I highly recommend a visit to Pingu. The climb to the glass viewing platform is not an easy task. I’d recommend visiting in the morning so that you can climb at leisure and fully enjoy the view. Of course you can either climb the whole way through or take a cable car halfway. It seems like a never ending climb up the uneven stone steps that lead to the platform. Make sure you take plenty of water along with you especially if you are planning on visiting during summer. A good coat of sunscreen is essential too. 
 
The sheer size of this amazing structure will take time to sink in and the climb is no piece of cake either. You might need at least one pit stop if you are a regular climber and several if you are a novice. I’d recommend a visit when the temperatures are a bit less harsh and cooler. But luckily, all the fatigue and tiredness you feel as you climb your way up the rocky pathway will all disappear when you reach the top. The beautiful scenery of mountainous landscape, lush and green is a welcome sight. 
 
The ShiLinXia Glass Viewing Platform, with its spaceship like design that seems straight out of a sci-fi movie, is quick to grab your attention. Supported by a giant arch- hoop tower, the actual circular platform is partially held up by a series of cables much like a modern day bridge. The glass sightseeing platform juts out 33 metres out from a cliff. This is 11.4 metres longer than the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the US. A straight walkway with more than two dozen glass panels lead to the glass overlook which spans across 36 bulletproof panels of glass. The entire structure is made with a combination of titanium and steel reinforcing the stability and safety. Visitors are required to wear special shoe covers before stepping on to the glass platform. 
 
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If height is not your forte you might find the entire experience a bit nerve wracking. All that’s separating you from a 400 metre vertical drop is a glass panel -- which is admittedly not the most comforting thought. However if you are a bit of a daredevil, the sheer daring of experience is sure to give you the ultimate adrenal rush. The climb down is comparatively much less tiring -- you return just a little bit braver and a lot more exhilarated.  
 
There are plenty of little restaurants around the park to choose from after the tiring yet satisfactory climb to the ShiLinXia Glass Viewing Platform. These serve a variety of local cuisine made fresh from local ingredients. Other than food if you want to spend the night here there are many comfortable inns that provide rooms to guests at very affordable rates. If you are travelling on a budget, you can book a double room with an attached bathroom for around 100RMB for the night. Make sure you plan your trip and head out in the morning. The park is not open late and you must keep that in mind when making your travel preparations. If you are a student remember to take your student ID to get a discounted entrance ticket. 
 
The ShiLinXia Glass Viewing Platform is a remarkable example of human capability combined intricately with modern day technology. It is a testament to how nothing is impossible and a definite box to tick off on your China travel list.
 
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