Escalators at China's mountainside tourist spots spark online debate

By Hoang Phong   October 27, 2023 | 10:00 pm PT
A number of scenic spots in China's Zhejiang province have recently installed escalators to make it easier for tourists to climb to the mountain top, stirring debate among web users.

Videos of hordes of people 'climbing' to the top of Tianyu Mountain in Zhejiang on elevators have gone viral on Chinese social media in recent weeks.

Located at the south bank of the Thousand Island Lake in Zhejiang province, the Tianyu Mountain has an altitude of over 350 meters but it poses challenges for kids and the elderly to reach the mountaintop due to its rugged mountain trails.

The escalators, which opened last year at a cost of $2.2 million, span 350 meters and cost 30 yuan ($4.50) per person, so that it takes only 10 minutes instead of nearly one hour as before.

The escalators aim to offer convenience for those unable to climb to the mountain top.

"I absolutely support this idea of a mountain escalator. Everyone takes what he needs. Those willing to climb the mountain just go on climbing. But for me, I prefer to use the escalator," one person wrote on Chinese social platform Weibo.

"I haven't walked a single step to scale most of the mountain, and I haven't missed any scenic spots," one visitor told South China Morning Post.

However, others argued the escalators destroy the natural beauty of the region.

"Don't you see the escalators take away from the natural beauty of the mountain?" one person wrote on Weibo.

The original purpose for building the elevator is to solve the 'traffic problem' in climbing the mountain, a worker surnamed Xu with the city tourism development company in Chun'an county told China Daily.

This was not the first time China has built mountainside escalators to serve tourism.

Three years ago, a 104-meter-long South Sky Ladder in the Shenxianju Tour Zone in Taizhou of Zhejiang Province opened to tourists.

Escalators or cable car services leading to the top of famous tourist attractions have become popular in recent years, offering convenience and safety.

The world's longest escalator system is Hong Kong's Central Hillside Escalator Link. The 800-m long system of covered moving walkways carries commuters between the Mid-Levels district and Central Market close to the waterfront on Hong Kong Island.

Tianmen Mountain in China's Zhangjiajie, which inspired the setting for the movie Avatar, has a steep cable car which takes tourists to and from its peak.

A video shared on Chinese social media site Douyin shows tourists line up waiting to take the elevator to the top of Tianyu Mountain in China’s Zhejiang province.

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