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Vietnam opens glass bridge with gobsmacking views across gorge

AFP, May 3, 2022 6:30PM Kids News

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Visitors stand on the walkway section of the Bach Long glass-bottomed bridge in Vietnam's Son La province on April 29. The new tourist attraction is suspended some 150m above a lush, jungle-clad gorge. Picture: Nhac Nguyen/AFP media_cameraVisitors stand on the walkway section of the Bach Long glass-bottomed bridge in Vietnam's Son La province on April 29. The new tourist attraction is suspended some 150m above a lush, jungle-clad gorge. Picture: Nhac Nguyen/AFP

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Whatever you do, don’t look down! Vietnam has a new attraction for tourists who have a head for heights, with the opening on Friday of a glass-bottomed bridge suspended* 150m above a lush jungle.

The Bach Long pedestrian bridge – whose name translates to “white dragon” – in northwest Son La province snakes around dizzying cliff faces before spanning a dramatic* valley between two peaks, hitting a total length of 632m.

media_cameraVisitors were quick to walk across the newly opened bridge on Friday. Tourism officials hope international visitors will be just as enthusiastic about the new attraction. Picture: Nhac Nguyen/AFP

The floor of the bridge is made of tempered glass from France, making it strong enough to support up to 450 people at a time, while giving them a spectacular* view of the greenery in the gorge* far below.

“When standing on the bridge, travellers will be able to admire the beauty of nature,” said bridge operator spokesperson Hoang Manh Duy.

media_cameraThis aerial photo shows a portion of the newly constructed Bach Long glass bridge that sits 150m above a lush, jungle-clad gorge. Picture: Nhac Nguyen/AFP

The company said it was the world’s longest glass-bottomed bridge, surpassing* a 526m structure in Guangdong, China.

Officials from Guinness World Records are expected to verify the claim next month.

Vietnamese tourism chiefs are looking to lure visitors back after two years of Covid-19 shutdowns that kept out nearly all foreign travellers.

In mid-March, the country ended quarantine for international visitors and resumed 15 days of visa-free travel for citizens from 13 countries.

media_cameraVisitors take photos on the walkway section that hugs the cliffs above the gorge. Picture: Nhac Nguyen/AFP

Vietnam is set to host the Southeast Asian Games in two weeks, with more than 10,000 athletes and sports staff from countries in the region on their way.

Bach Long is Vietnam’s third glass bridge.

“I hope the bridge will lure more domestic and international tourists to our area,” local resident Bui Van Thach said after walking across it.

media_cameraThis young visitor looks like she hasn’t quite made up her mind as she crawls on the Bach Long glass bridge on its opening day last Friday. Picture: Nhac Nguyen/AFP

GLOSSARY

  • suspended: to hang above or across something
  • dramatic: exciting, impressive
  • spectacular: breathtaking, amazing, an incredible thing to see
  • gorge: deep, narrow valley with steep sides, often with a river or stream at the base
  • surpassing: exceeding, going beyond others

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What does “Bach Long” mean?
  2. How high above the jungle is the glass-bottomed bridge?
  3. How long is the bridge?
  4. Which country did the glass used in construction come from?
  5. How many athletes and staff are headed to Vietnam and why are they coming?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Tourist attraction for nature
Think about your town and surrounding area and all the beautiful parks, reserves and natural habitats.

Think of one particular spot or area that could be possibly turned into a natural tourist attraction, to bring visitors to the area, similar to this glass-bottom bridge over the jungle in Vietnam.

Work with a partner to design and sketch your new tourist attraction involving an element of nature. Try and make it fun, interesting and something people will pay money to come visit and experience.

Present your sketch and ideas to the class.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Design and Technologies; Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
What happens if more than 450 people stand on this bridge? If 451 people sneak on, will it collapse?

Think about some of the mathematical and engineering concepts that must have been considered in building this amazing bridge and list them below.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: Mathematics; Design and Technologies; Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Show don’t tell
Can you just imagine being on a glass-bottom bridge 150m over the jungle? Would you be scared or excited?

Using your senses, imagine what you can see, hear, touch, taste or smell as you venture across the bridge.

Include emotional language to help describe your feelings.

Try not to simply just tell us, use description instead. Instead of saying “the wind was blowing a little”, say “a gentle breeze brushed past my body”.

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