Hussaini Hanging Bridge, Pakistan
One look at the Hussaini Hanging Bridge should be enough to tell you why this is one of the most dangerous bridges in the world. Hussaini Hanging Bridge is one of many precarious crossings in the remote and rocky region of Upper Hunza in northern Pakistan. The rope bridge hangs over Borit Lake, and looks like it could collapse into the wild waters below at any moment.
The rope bridge is both long and poorly maintained. The decaying planks that form the walkway are few and far between, whilst the cables that keep it all in the air do nothing to inspire confidence. Strong winds shake the bridge whilst you cross it, adding to its danger. That another decrepit bridge, this one in an even worse state, is strung up alongside just adds to the sense of drama.
Crossing the 399 steps of Hussaini Hanging Bridge is a nerve breaking experience, yet it still attract hundreds of hikers each year looking for an adrenaline rush. Northern Pakistan is an isolated location, high in the mountains and far from assistance. Just bear in mind that should anything go wrong here, no-one is coming to help.
Monkey Bridge, Vietnam
Said to be named after the stooped posture that must be adopted in order to cross safely, Vietnams Monkey Bridges are reserved for the agile and courageous. These traditional crossings span countless streams and gullies and, whilst local people pass across without a second thought, those unfamiliar are advised to exercise extreme caution upon attempting a crossing.
Popular in the Mekong Delta, with its numerous waterways, the typical Monkey Bridge consists of a single bamboo log, laid over the stream or river in question, with a flimsy handrail to cling on to. Yet there are many variations, with some crude bridges made from coconut trees, and handrails not always present in extreme examples.
Called Cau Khi, Vietnams famous bridges are renowned for being dangerous and difficult to get across. Do not want to risk plunging into the water below? Take our advice and leave these for the locals.
Quepos Bridge, Costa Rica
The Quepos Bridge has got two alternative names -- the Bridge of Death and the Oh My God Bridge. Needless to say, neither one inspires much confidence.
Linking Jaco and Quepos on Costa Rica's Central Pacific Coast, this fragile structure dates back to the 1930s, built to aid the thriving banana trade upon which the local economy's fortunes have been built. Unfortunately, little (or nothing) appears to have been done to improve or upgrade the crossing during the subsequent decades.
The bridge is narrow, although this is the least of its problems. The road surface is constructed from planks, although these are not nailed down and, unsecured, the wooden beams rattle and move with each vehicle that is driven across. Bikes and cars head over here on a regular basis, as well as heavy trucks and lorries, with each crossing taking its toll on the decaying structure. Quepos isn't called the Bridge of Death for nothing. You have been warned.
Mekong River Crossing, China
The mighty Mekong River rages in parts, its white waters frothing and its strong currents fearsome. Despite the dangers, local people continue to take their lives in their hands, crossing on narrow cables that are strung from one bank to the other.
With sturdier bridges few and far between here, there is often little choice for those who need to get to the other side. It's a terrifying sight -- but one that is not unusual in these parts. Finding a proper bridge can mean trekking for several hours and attitudes towards taking such an extreme approach to crossing the fast-flowing waters are relaxed.
Such is the Mekong River's immense power, there can be no question that one false move here could prove to be fatal. Take our advice on this one: leave it to the locals and don't be tempted to take a chance.
Millau Viaduct, France
The Millau Viaduct ranks amongst the tallest bridges on Earth. It rises high above the low-lying clouds, climbing more than 1,100 feet into the southern French sky. It's not one for the faint of heart and you'll need a head for heights above all other things in order to make the remarkable crossing.
Taller than the Eiffel Tower, Millau spans the spectacular gorge valley of the Tarn River - an important route between Paris and Spain - and the imposing viaduct can be seen from miles around.
It's also long, measuring more than 8,000 feet from one end to the other, yet the bridge's vast supporting columns touch the valley floor below in just nine places, a feat of modern engineering. The winds can sometimes be strong here, just adding to the drama. Just can't face it? Take comfort in the fact that you're not alone.
U Bein Bridge, Myanmar
Rickety, ramshackle and with no handrails to hold, Myanmar's famed U Bein Bridge requires great nerve to cross. Spanning more than one kilometre over Taungthaman Lake, not far from Amarapura, this ranks amongst the country's foremost tourist sites. As a result, it is busy, always thronging with sightseers and souvenir sellers alike.
It is this immense foot traffic that presents the greatest danger, with the ancient bridge coming under increasing strain from those keen to cross.
U Bein was built in 1850 using teak salvaged from a former royal palace and, although great efforts are being taken in an attempt to preserve the structure, there can be no question that the 1,000 pillars that support the bridge are decaying badly. The longest teak bridge on Earth is also the oldest -- and it shows. Take a trip, but don't linger too long and never get too close to the edge.
Canopy Walk, Ghana
Suspended high in the trees in Kakum National Park, Ghana's Canopy Walk offers a fresh perspective of the lush green jungles of the country's Central Region. The view from up here is spectacular, it's true.
But that makes it no less frightening, and those courageous enough to step out onto the narrow walkway don't tend to hang around. Given the drop, it's perhaps best not to look down. The Canopy Walk is 1,150 feet long, with separate sections strung between seven trees.
It's constructed, in the main, from rope, and is a simple structure. With termites working their way through the wooden planks, and the supporting ropes doing little to inspire confidence, you should do a thorough risk assessment before committing to this. Not one for the faint of heart, no-one will judge if you decide that it's sensible not to take the chance.
Musou Tsuribashi Bridge, Japan
Japan’s oldest suspension bridge is also its scariest. Located deep in the country’s Southern Alps, the ramshackle structure dates back to the 1950s.'Musou Tsuribashi’ literally means ‘Matchless Suspension Bridge’ in Japanese.
That the dilapidated bridge hasn’t been well maintained during the subsequent decades is all too obvious, making it a health and safety hazard. It’s constructed – in the main – from rope, wire and thin wooden boards that are well spaced out in places and does little to inspire confidence.
Just getting here is a challenge, with Musou Tsuribashi far from the beaten tourist track. You’ll need to climb high into the hills, with little to cling on to, other than a series of chains bolted to the rocks, before taking a step onto the decaying platform that looks ready to crumble at any moment. It’s narrow and it wobbles, and the risks here are obvious.
Langkawi Sky Bridge, Malaysia
Suspended from a 82 metres high single pylon that emerges from the lush jungle, the Langkawi Sky Bridge is built on top of the Machinchang mountain, a spectacular sight offering breath-taking views of the island and sea.
The bridge hangs at about 100m above ground and it can accommodate up to 250 people at the same time. It swings out over the landscape to give visitors a unique spatial experience, and to bring them into otherwise unattainable locations, above virgin jungle with spectacular views. Notably, in contrast to a straight bridge, where the end is always monotonously in sight, a curved bridge offers spectacularly changing perspective.
Needless to say, the views are amazing from up here, but those without a head for heights might find the experience terrifying as the platform seems to move with each step you take. However, the magnificent surroundings might help you overcome the initial fear and enjoy the experience.
Titlis Cliff Walk, Switzerland
Strung between imposing rock faces in the spectacular Swiss Alps, the Titlis Cliff Walk is the highest elevation suspension bridge in Europe. It's a stunning sight, although terrifying for those preparing to cross the immense chasm that lies below.
Located almost 10,000 feet above sea level, just getting here is a challenge, although the greatest test awaits those preparing to set foot on the narrow platform. It's 100 feet from end to end and, and weather conditions can change quickly up here, heavy snow being an ever-present danger for those heading up Mount Titlis.
At the summit, the route leads you through the glacier cave via an underground tunnel and on to the viewing platform at the south wall window. The suspension bridge stretches from here to the Ice Flyer glacier chair lift station. The views into the abyss below are breathtaking, but to cross the bridge, you'll need nerves as strong as the steel cables from which it hangs.
Vitim River Bridge, Russia
It's hard to believe that anyone would attempt to drive across the rotting Vitim River Bridge, yet for those seeking adventure and excitement in Siberia, it often proves a challenge too great to resist.
Once a rail bridge, the structure has long since fallen into disrepair, its wooden platform decaying and its dangers all too obvious. The bridge measures just six feet across and is not much wider than most modern motor vehicles. With no rail or barrier, there's little to stop drivers plunging into the freezing waters below.
Siberia is cold, really cold, and, to make matters worse, the bridge is often covered with snow or, worse, a thick layer of ice that just adds to the danger. Some 1900 feet from end to end, once you're on, there can be no turning back. Definitely one to avoid, but if you simply cannot resist, our best advice is to take it slow and steady.
Puente de Ojuela, Mexico
Image: Isaac Salvador Pérez, Wikimedia Commons
Few bridges are more terrifying than this - a ramshackle structure that spans a deep canyon in Durango, in decrepitude for decades and certain to scare those who come here to cross.
The bridge was designed in 1898 by the famous Roebling brothers, who also designed the Brooklyn Bridge to link Mapimi and the gold mines that, for a time, brought prosperity.
Puente de Ojuela is no longer as popular as it once was. The region's precious metal mines exhausted, the bridge was neglected and left to decay. These days, there is little reason to set foot onto its perilous platform unless you want to visit Ojela city's ruins. Yet, this high bridge appeals to extreme sports enthusiasts or fans of photography, attracted by the canyon's greatness.
Passing through it gives a feeling of weightlessness, thanks to the open design of the construction and an impressive height. Jagged cliffs located around add thrill, so adrenaline rush during a walk across the bridge is guaranteed.
Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado
Colorado's Royal Gorge Bridge is immense, the highest suspension bridge in the United States and one that isn't for the faint of heart.
Spanning a vast canyon close to Canon City, the bridge is suspended 956 feet above the wild Arkansas River and, whilst the views are spectacular, those of a nervous disposition will not want to linger long. So deep is the gorge here that the Empire State Building could fit beneath the bridge.
This is a popular location for tourists, with a thriving amusement park amongst the attractions here, but the rides on offer cannot match the sheer terror that stepping foot onto the wooden planked walkway tends to provoke. Royal Gorge Bridge measures 1260 feet from one end to the other, and there's no question that you'll be relieved when you reach the other side.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Florida
The Sunshine Skyway has a dark past. It opened in 1987 but it is the second bridge of that name on the site. The first bridge, opened in 1954, collapsed in 1980 after a supporting column was struck by a giant freighter during a storm.
Buffeted by 70 miles per hours winds, the out-of-control ship caused the bridge's southbound span to collapse, with 12oo feet of the road surface falling into the wild waters below. Several vehicles - including a Greyhound Bus - went with it. 35 people died. The surviving span was partially demolished and converted into a long fishing pier, and the current bridge was built.
No such tragedy has occurred here since, but sharing a name with its predecessor, the present bridge has a reputation for danger that has proved difficult to shake. Spanning Lower Tampa Bay, and linking St Petersburg and Terra Ceia, the Sunshine Skyway is a bridge that is much used. But given all that has passed here, you won't want to linger long, and crossing during bad weather is not recommended.
Seven Mile Bridge, Florida
The name says it all. Seven Mile Bridge is long, exactly 10,888 metres (6.79 miles) long. Located in the Florida Keys, this feat of engineering links Knight's Key with Little Duck Key and forms a vast network of bridges that span the beautiful waters here. Scenic it might be, but committing to a crossing can be a daunting experience. Once you're on, you just have to keep going.
There are two bridges here -- the original, which dates back to 1912, is now restricted to cyclists and pedestrians, although a large gap in the structure means that a full crossing is no longer possible.
The newer bridge teems with vacation traffic and, although this is much safer, certain risks endure. The sea bed is soft here and, for all its modern engineering, the bridge still sits on the foundations of a much older predecessor. Need to get across? Take a deep breath -- and take your time.
Mount Hua Trail, China
Tourists jostle for space on the Huashan Plank road, wooden beams bolted to a mountainside in China's Shaanxi province, far from the ground below, with little to cling onto.
It's a terrifying experience, yet one that continues to prove popular, with visitor numbers surging and no shortage of those keen to test their courage in the most extreme environment imaginable.
Located one hour from Xi'an, just getting here is a serious undertaking, with rickety-looking ladders to be climbed, narrow ledges to negotiate and few passing points to facilitate the two-way traffic.
The views from Mount Hua are stunning, although those brave enough to step out onto the Plankwalk tend to find that it's best not to look down. There's a small shrine to explore at the end, but do be sure to take care. Huashan is considered one of the most dangerous hikes on Earth, with as many as 100 lives lost on the trail each year.
Montenegro Rainforest, Costa Rica
Located deep in the thick Costa Rican rainforest, with its lush jungle landscapes and exotic insects and animals, this is a crossing that always calls for considerable courage. For one thing, it's high up -- set in the tallest treetops and the spectacular forest canopy. For another, it looks rather rickety.
Fashioned from wood and its well-worn platform missing boards in several places, this is a bridge that is perhaps best avoided. It forms a long network of passages through the trees, with one crossing leading to another, each one as precarious as the last.
The views are stunning from up here, but with the looming canyon below, and the bridges swaying from side to side, the rewards come with certain risks. Be sure to look out for the wildlife, with fierce jaguars prowling and snakes an ever-present danger amongst the thick jungle foliage.
Storseisundet Bridge, Norway
Storseisundet looks more like a roller coaster than a road bridge. Don't like thrills and spills? This might be one to avoid.
With its sharp bends and dips and drops, it’s the longest of the eight bridges that make up the Atlantic Road. Storseisundet is 260 metres (850 ft) long and one of the most spectacular bridges in the world. Indeed, once you start crossing it, you realize that it seems to disappear in front of you as you go.
In addition, the Atlantic road is an area known for high winds, including hurricanes and rain, and huge waves often crash over the bridge, which, despite its size, doesn't escape the constant bombardment. A crossing is then a white-knuckle ride, with the ups and the downs often giving the illusion that the end of the bridge has disappeared into the fierce waters below. Will you be brave enough to cross it?
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Linking the miniscule island of Carrick-a-Rede with the Northern Irish mainland, there has been a rope bridge here ever since 1775. It was first built by local salmon fishermen and, although these days, the focus is very much on tourism, crossing from one side to the other remains the same exhilarating experience it has always been.
Today's rope bridge isn't the original, of course, but to step out onto the unstable platform and make the passage from one side to the other is still a courageous feat.
It's 66 feet from end to end, the narrow bridge hanging 100 feet above the sharp rocks and the wild seas below, and it's always a great relief to make it across in one piece. Feeling brave enough to tackle the void? Just remember that you'll have to cross again in order to return to the mainland as no other route is available.
Eshima Ohashi Bridge, Japan
Eshima Ohashi is nicknamed the Rollercoaster Bridge and it isn't difficult to work out why. Spanning Lake Nakamui, the structure appears dauntingly steep upon approach - the bridge reaches an intimidating 146 feet into the sky.
Eshima Ohashi bridge though is a type of optical illusion; spanning 250 metres, it won't appear as steep when viewing the bridge from the side. Approaching head on amplifies the incline somewhat, but there's no doubt that for those without a head for heights, tackling the crossing is an undertaking that is not to be treated lightly.
Linking the Japanese cities of Matsue and Sakaiminato, the bridge was constructed like this in order to enable large ships to pass beneath on the lake. It's a spectacular sight, and approached from either end, it presents quite a challenge. This is a big dipper that calls for great bravery. Measuring just over a mile from one end to the other, you'll be sure to breathe a sigh of relief when you finally reach the other side.