Yunnan Jianshui Double Dragon Bridge head
Home Yunnan Travel Guide Jianshui Travel Guide Jianshui Attractions Double Dragon Bridge in Jianshui: A Timeless Architectural Marvel

Double Dragon Bridge in Jianshui: A Timeless Architectural Marvel

A key landmark of Jianshui County in Yunnan, the Double Dragon Bridge is located about 5 kilometers west of Jianshui Ancient Town. It was originally built during the Ming Dynasty, and later expanded and restored several times in the Qing Dynasty. By combining a three-arch bridge and a fourteen-arch bridge into one, the current configuration of the bridge boasts a total of 17 arches, hence is also known as the Seventeen-Arch Bridge.

With three elegant pavilions adorning its structure, the bridge creates a picturesque scene and stands as a masterpiece of ancient bridge structure in Yunnan, and even China. Don’t overlook it on your Yunnan travel itinerary if you are interested in ancient architectural marvels in China.

Fast Facts of Double Dragon Bridge

  • Location: Baijiaying Village, Xizhuang Town, Jianshui County, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan
  • Size: 148 meters long, 6meters long and wide
  • Time Needed: 1-2 hours
  • Highlights: exquisite stone carvings, elegant pavilions, and picturesque natural scenery
  • Suited to: History enthusiasts, architecture lovers, photographers

Overview of Double Dragon Bridge

On the first sight of the Double Dragon Bridge, you will be impressed by its grandeur. With the entire structure being built from massive stones, the bridge exudes a majestic presence, boasting a total length of 148 meters, and a consistent width and height of 8.6 meters. Since the bridge spans over both Lujiang and Tachong rivers, just like a dragon flying freely, hence its name Double Dragon Bridge.

The entire bridge is supported by six large wooden pillars which are testament to the skilled craftsmanship of former bridge designers. Each of the pillars is about 60 centimeters in diameter and 25.7 meters long, providing robust support to the magnificent structure above.

What makes the bridge more eye-catching are the three antique pavilions. These pavilions are all intricately designed, combining the essence of China’s ancient pavilions. Their overlapping eaves and interlocking corners are all meticulously crafted. Besides exploring the architecture essence, visitors can also ascend the pavilions for stunning panoramic views of the surrounding fields.

Why Visit Double Dragon Bridge

An Architectural Masterpiece

The bridge is an architectural masterpiece combining artistry, practicality, and architectural engineering. This kind of ancient bridge example is unparalleled anywhere else. In ancient days, it served more as a barrier to mitigate river flooding and promote trade between local villages. Today, despite the war and hundreds of years’ passage, the bridge still retains its timeless charm thanks to the exquisite stone carvings, majestic structure, and elegant pavilions.

Yunnan Jianshui Double Dragon Bridge
Intricately carved stone balustrades beautiful pavilions

Unique Natural Landscape

The bridge is located at the confluence of the Lujiang and Tachong rivers, spanning over both rivers. Walking across the bridge or ascending to the pavilions, you can get a rare chance to admire the magnificent view when the two rivers converge.

Early in the morning or at dusk, when the colorful sunlight paints the sky with rich hues, the Double Dragon Bridge becomes even more charming under the embrace of the rich hues. The captivating reflections of the bridge, ancient pavilions, and sunlight on the water enhance the scenery more, perfect for photography.

Photography tips:

Capturing the sunrise or sunset scenery here is truly fantastic. To capture the straight-on photo of the symmetrical structure, you may need a medium to long focal length to avoid the tree branches and other obstructions on the river banks.

Appreciate the Architecture and Touch the History

Besides the stunning scenery around the bridge, appreciating the architectural style and elements is also enjoyable. Walking on the polished bluestone slabs on the bridge, you can vividly touch the past history, imagining how the ancient people crossed the bridge and bustled about their lives.

Also, you can immerse yourself in the ingenious design of the bridge arches, or the numerous exquisite stone carvings, all of which are testaments to ancient artisans’ craftsmanship.

Best Time to Visit

Within a day, the early morning and evening are the most beautiful times for the bridge when it is bathed in the slanted rays of the sun. These are the perfect times to capture the beauty of the bridge and its surrounding natural views.

Regarding the seasonal weather, generally, spring and autumn are the best seasons when Jianshui County and the surrounding areas experience pleasant climates and delightful scenery.

Despite the low temperatures in winter, it is the low season, when you can enjoy the architectural splendors and history with less interruption from other visitors.

Summer is the peak season in this area, attracting large crowds and experiencing high temperatures.

How to Get to

There are direct high-speed trains from Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and many other major cities in Yunnan to Jianshui, enhancing its easy accessibility. After arriving at Jianshui Railway Station, you can take either a local bus or a taxi to get to the bridge. Additionally, you can take the narrow-gauge train to reach the Double Dragon Bridge, as it is one of the stops along the train route.

Attractions Nearby Double Dragon Bridge

  • Jianshui Ancient Town: A well-preserved town with a history of over 1,200 years; featuring traditional ethnic dwellings, ancient temples and towers, and fascinating cultural relics.
  • Zhu Family Garden:  A stunning example of traditional Chinese architecture; featuring exquisite gardens, wood carvings, and elegant courtyards.
  • Swallow Cave: Home to thousands of swallows, hence its name. Features a stunning underground river and awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Tuanshan Village: Home to hundreds of ancient folk residences in Yunnan’s traditional architectural style.

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