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The Nujiang River, Yunnan

The Nujiang River has its origin on the southern side of the Tanggula Mountain Range on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It runs through Tibet and Yunnan in China, and then leaves the country at Dehong Dai and Jingpo Ethnic Minorities Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province. Here it enters Myanmar and gains another name, Salween, which at last empties into the Andaman Sea of the Indian Ocean. The Nujiang River stretches 2,816 kilometers and covers 324,000 square kilometers.

As its water is deep and dark, it is called "Naqu" by Tibetans, which means the black river. The Nujiang River is divided into three sections. The upper reaches, from the source to the Jiayu Bridge, take up 50% of the total drainage area of the trunk. In the middle reaches, the Gaoligong and Biluo mountains guard the roaring Nujiang River as it forces its way along, forming the majestic Nujiang River Gorge, the second largest gorge in the world. The lower reaches travel from the Lu River to the Andaman Sea.

The Nujiang is a mysterious river. There are various kinds of bridges that lie across it, including ancient vine bridges, iron chain bridges and modern reinforced cement bridges. Sliding along the bridge is an interesting and exciting experience. The vine or chain bridges are tied to stone anchors on each of the two banks. People secure themselves with a rope, holding to the chain with a bamboo hook or a pulley, then slide to the opposite bank. Sometimes, the local people also bring their farming or fishing equipment and goats with them to slide across the bridge.

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