Think you’ve checked off everything on your travel bucket list? Here’s one more for you to conquer— the ‘longest journeys’ in the world. From a 130m-long escalator ride to an upcoming non-stop 19-hour journey in the air, you can now stretch your grand odyssey out for as long as you can.
Spanning a startling 1,648kms, China’s Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is the longest rail bridge in the world. This bridge is the winner of this title by a long chalk, as its nearest contender, the Changhua-Kaohsiung Viaduct in Taiwan, is more than 70kms shorter.
The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge hosts a high-speed rail line that runs between Shanghai and Nanjing in eastern China’s Jiangsu province. Supported by 9,500 concrete pilings, it crosses low rice paddies and a portion of the Yangtze RIver Delta, with a couple of miles of the bridge hovering above the open waters of Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou. It took SGD$11.6 billion, 10,000 people and four years to build.
China is also home to the longest bridge over water, the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge. Constructed with 450,000 tons of steel, which is enough for almost 65 Eiffel Towers, this bridge is reported to be sturdy enough to withstand the impact of a magnitude 8 earthquake. However, Louisiana still holds the official Guinness World record for the longest continuous overwater bridge as their Lake Pontchartrain Causeway spans 39 kilometres without the curves that the 42km-long Jiaozhou Bay Bridge has, and hence covering a greater distance of water than the latter.
The longest metro escalator can be found in Russia. It takes you a full three minutes to ride this at Park Pobedy metro station – it measures up to 130m long and operates at a depth of 68 meters, with 740 steps.
Outdoors, the world’s longest pedestrian escalator is the one in Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels; built to ferry office workers from the lower sections in the Central district to the apartments in the hills above, it stretches for 800m over several segments. Meanwhile, the world’s longest sightseeing escalator is situated in China’s Enshi Grand Canyon in central Hubei province. This jagged ride entails a 18-minute journey along the scenic mountainside, stretching a total of 688m.
LONGEST NON-STOP FLIGHT
Currently, the honour of providing the longest non-stop flight goes to Qatar Airways’ 17.5-hour Auckland to Doha route which covers a total of 14,535km. Following closely behind is Qantas’ 17-hour flight from Perth to London which launched earlier this year.
However, it’s time for both airlines to step aside this October, when Singapore Airlines will fly passengers on a 19-hour journey from Singapore to Newark, New Jersey on the new Airbus A350-900 ULR (Ultra long-range) aircraft. Equipped with enough fuel to conquer the 15,300km trip, it’s designed with higher ceilings, larger windows and lighting specially tweaked to reduce jet lag. With fares from SGD$2,200, the service will only accommodate Business and Premium Economy class passengers, seating a total of 161 people instead of the usual 253.
LONGEST STRAIGHT ROAD
Highway 10 in Saudi Arabia is an approximately 256km-long road which entails a tedious 2 hour drive, according to Google maps. Judging by its scenery — or lack thereof — it could very well win the award for being the most boring drive unless you’ve got a thing for staring at 162 miles worth of barren desert land and cactus. Linking the city of Haradh, which is famous for its abundant supply of oil and natural gas, to Al Batha near the UAE border, Highway 10 is as straight as the Pope except for that little bend right before it ends at Al Batha.
The next longest straight drive is Australia’s Eyre Highway; there’s a portion called the “90 Mile Straight” which measures approximately 145.6 km.
LONGEST TRAIN RIDE
According to Guinness World record, the longest train ride with no transfers is 10,214 kilometres long on the famous Trans-Siberian line from Moscow, Russia to PyongYang, North Korea, in slightly more than a week. However, as there are very rigid rules regarding foreigners’ entrance into North Korea, an easier ride would be the 9,289 kilometre journey on the same railway to Vladivostok.
This railway journey, which would take about a week to conquer, is expected to be even longer, with Japan’s hopes of linking London and Tokyo in the future. If the Trans-Siberian Express does indeed reach the northern tip of Hokkaido as planned, it would be possible to travel from London to Tokyo via the Eurostar from London to Paris, then the Paris-Moscow Express, the Trans-Siberian Express, and finally the high-speed bullet train from Hokkaido to Tokyo.
As of 2016, Switzerland stole the limelight from Japan as home to the world’s longest rail tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel.
This 57km-long tunnel is also the deepest in the world, at a depth of 2.3km as it zooms from the towns of Erstfeld in the north to Bodio in the south, deep underneath the Swiss Alps. Dubbed Switzerland’s “construction of the century”, it took 17 years to build and costs around SGD$16 billion to construct. Norway holds the trophy for the world’s longest road tunnel with the Laerdal Tunnel, located in Aurland in West Norway. It takes a whole 20 minutes to drive through the entire length of the 24.5km-long tunnel; it cost SGD$208 million to build.
Its hefty cost probably stems from its colourfully-lit caverns that are designed specially to alleviate fatigue and claustrophobia. This tunnel is split into sections – one of them was actually used as a wedding ceremony venue – with rest stops built in between them.