China's vertigo challenge for the strongest stomachs

30th May 2013

China's vertigo-inducing Chang Kong Cliff Road on Huashan Mountain provides trekking holidays for the strong of stomach.

It was built over seven centuries ago by hermits seeking "immortals" they believed were living deep in China's Shaanxi Province mountains.

The dizzying walkway is only a foot wide (30cm) and clings to the vertical cliff edge.

One misplaced step would send pilgrims plunging thousands of feet down into the valley.

Nowadays, any tourist on tailor-made holidays for extreme adventure seekers brave enough to navigate the path has to wear a special safety harness.

Huashan Mountain - one of China's Five Great Mountains - is 90 minutes' drive from Xian.

Most holidaymakers take a day tour, usually taking a cable car to North Peak and walking for an hour on the summit.

Some people leave Xian at midnight, climb the mountain by foot, and arrive at the East Peak summit to savour the succulent sunrise.

Huashan Mountain's five peaks have vivid names.

The south one (the highest at 2,154.9 metres or 7,070ft) is called the Peak of the Wild Geese (Luo Yan Feng); the east one, the Peak of the Rising Sun (Zhao Yang Feng); the west one, the peak of Lotus (Lian Hua Feng); the Central one, the Peak of the Jade Maiden (Yu Nu Feng); and the north one, the Peak of the Cloud Terrace (Yun Tai Feng).

Holidaymakers out to conquer the peaks can enjoy temples, shrines, pavilions, terraces, statues, food stalls, hawkers, granite paths and forested margins along the way.

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