Imagine being suspended hundreds of feet in the air above hard rock or raging waters; all that is keeping you suspended in the air is a wooden board, a taut rope and your balance. You prepare yourself for disaster: if the rope gives way or if your foot slips then death seems inevitable; but in the meantime you are paralyzed.
Being afraid of heights might be a debilitating fear but these terrifying bridges are enough to inspire vertigo in anyone. Terrifying as they might be, however, there is simply no other choice, for without crossing you will never reach the other side. Here are ten of the most terrifying bridges in the world.
10. Ghasa, Nepal
Just looking at pictures of this stupendous rope bridge is enough to make you feel distinctly uncomfortable; it might be moored down but is that ever enough? As a mountain nation in the center of the Himalayas, Nepal contains some truly stunning vistas. The downside to that is that those vistas must sometimes be crossed. If you can believe it, hundreds of animals are moved across this bridge every day. In fact, it was built in order to cut down on the animal traffic passing through the nearby town of Ghasa. If the animals aren’t worried, are you?
9. Living Root Bridge, India
Believe it or not, this 100-year-old, 53-foot bridge is made from the living roots of trees – but would you be willing to trust it with your life? The bridge was constructed over a period of 20 years by manipulating the living roots of a Banyan tree in order to intertwine and extend them until they were able to bear the load of a human being.
8. Rope Bridge, Peru
If you don’t like the idea of stepping out over a terrible drop on unstable boards, then you might be even more unhappy about this rope bridge in Peru. There’s nothing to hold you up in the air but strands of tightly braided grass rope – and below you the rocks. Should a thread come loose, you might be in for a nasty surprise…
This nearby rope suspension bridge, called Keshwa Chaca, has been built in the same fashion, following a method that has been in use since Inca times. The bridge is rebuilt strand by strand once a year – a truly terrifying building project!
7. Capilano Suspension Bridge, Canada
The Capilano bridge was originally built in 1889. It sits 230 feet above the Capilano river and stretches 450 feet across – and that’s quite something! The bridge is in a 27 acre park and sees many visitors cross its path every day. Recently the bridge was temporarily taken out of action when a Douglas fir tree weighing 46 tons toppled onto it during a severe snow storm, while in another incident a teenager fell to his death from a nearby viewing platform.
6. Kotmale Oya, Sri Lanka
With loose and unsteady boards, this Sri Lankan bridge offers an uneasy passage over the fast flowing Kotmale Oya river. Best watch your feet – otherwise you might be learning a lot more, very soon, about the sharp rocks that line the riverbed.
5. Trift Lake, Switzerland
Have you got a head for heights? This awesome bridge is some 550 feet long and sits 300 feet above Trift Lake, in central Switzerland. It is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the Alps. At its center point you are left hanging in midair, literally hundreds of feet in all directions from solid ground.
While it might look secure, if you did manage to find yourself falling over the edge – well your chances wouldn’t look good.
4. Sarawak, Borneo
Walking along a tightrope is one thing, but have you ever fancied walking along a bamboo cane? Rope bridges might seem precarious, but on this tight platform you are one slip away from falling entirely through the bridge, which is all too easy as the bridge sways from side to side. The bridge is only strong enough to hold two people at a time, and is made from bamboo stems tied together with rope and wires.
3. Lantang Valley, Nepal
Once again found in the rugged mountains of the Himalayas, in Lantang valley in Nepal, this bridge might look secure, but one trip or a strong gust of wind could see you over the edge, falling a great distance onto hard rock.
2. Braldu River Crossing, Pakistan
If you don’t like the idea of a rope bridge or of a bamboo bridge, then you probably won’t like this at all. Passing over the raging waters of the Baldru, the sides of the bridge actually draw together as weight is applied to it – offering a truly terrifying experience. Found in northern Pakistan and made from interwoven vines, the bridge was eventually replaced with a cable bridge, built to allow the construction of a new school.
1. Hunza River, Pakistan
This bridge, crossing the Hunza river, is perhaps one of the most terrifying in the whole world. Should you slip between the sparsely placed planks or through the open sides, there is nothing to stop your fall.
The bridge is situated near the village of Hussaini in northern Pakistan, and the passage across is said to be truly hair-raising on windy days. Just as disconcerting is the ruined bridge which lies parallel to the one in current use.
The original bridge was all but destroyed by floodwaters which hit Pakistan in May 2010, in one of the worst natural disasters the country had ever faced. Now the original bridge remains, quite literally hanging by a thread, while travelers pass over the equally rickety new bridge that runs alongside it.