Honghe Bridge

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Honghe Bridge
Yuanjiang River Bridge
Yuanjiang, Yunnan, China
540 feet high / 165 meters high
869 foot span / 265 meter span


The Honghe bridge is one of 4 massive continuous rigid-frame bridges that opened in Western China’s Yunnan province between 2003 and 2009. Three of the bridges are similar in height while only the Honghe bridge carries 4 lanes of traffic. Located about 120 miles (193 kms) south of Kunming on a modern highway that will eventually extend to Bangkok, Thailand, the Honghe is the highest bridge on the route, rising 540 feet (165 mtrs) above the Yuanjiang River. Within Vietnam the waterway is called the Red River and the two names are interchangeable. As awesome as its height is, Honghe is equally impressive for having one mother of a main span, stretching 869 feet (265 mtrs) between the centerline of the piers. There is no beam bridge anywhere in North America this large.

On the southeast side of the bridge there is a privately owned Honghe visitor’s center, park and bridge overlook with a cultural center, meeting rooms, walking paths and a playground. Or as the official center brochure states, “The ‘World’s Highest Bridge Scenery’ embodies traveling & touring, consuming, entertainment, restaurant, hotel, meeting and other functions”. While I never did notice the hotel, this unusual place did have a succession of 3 suspension footbridges that leap down the hillside to several viewing spots overlooking the bridge and river valley. Most bridges in China are simply named after the river they are crossing. Honghe is unusual. It was named after a regional cigarette company that pays a licensing fee. For reasons unknown, a Google map search simply will not go to Yuanjiang so just look for the G213 Yuyuan Expy crossing of the Yuanjiang River.

If you want to get down to the river and see one of the monstrous piers up close, there is a very rough dirt road that descends to the Yuan river. It will not be easy to find without asking locals for directions. The road finally ends at a river bridge crossing that is closed to traffic. You can walk across this bridge and follow a riverside path to the Honghe bridge. Be sure to say hi to the old man living in the house right under the bridge!




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Honghe Bridge Elevation



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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A local farmer lives right under the Honghe bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

An aerial view taken soon after completion. The Yuanjiang River level is much lower in the winter.



Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Honghe Bridge construction view circa 2002


A view of the Honghe bridge soon after completion. The Yuanjiang River runs red. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com



Honghe Bridge sign. Not quite "The Highest Bridge in the World" - not even among the 100 highest!


A map of the Yuanjiang / Red River in Southwest China and Vietnam.


Welcome to the Honghe house! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


One of several suspension bridges that descend down the hillside at the visitors center. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Honghe Bridge visitors center brochure.


Honghe Bridge visitors center brochure.


Honghe Bridge plaque with all the facts and figures. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

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