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The 24zig from above

The best known part of the road but that actually is not a part of it.

The 24zig from above

The best known part of the road but that actually is not a part of it.

24-Zig

24-Zig

The 24-Zig road (二十四道拐, Pinyin: Er shi si dao guai) is named after the 24 bends needed to climb out of the valley to the town of Qinglong just past the top. The 24-Zig road played an important role in the supply of China during WW-II.

At present the road is no longer in active use but is still used as a shortcut by motorbikes and three-wheelers.

Not Burma Road

Contrary to popular belief this stretch is not part of the Burma Road, Ledo Road or Stilwell Road but part of the road that connected Kunming (The end of the Burma Road) to Chongqing (The capital of China during WW-II).

The 24-Zig is located near Qinglong town in Guizhou Province and not in Yunnan Province.

Tourist on the 24-Zig
Motorbikes and tourist are now the main users of the 24-Zig.
Tourist on the 24-Zig
Motorbikes and tourist are now the main users of the 24-Zig.
Road sign 24 -Zig.
Sign declaring it a national monument at turn one.

Data on the 24-Zig

The 24-Zig is no longer used as a major road and is since 2006 preserved as a monument. The 24-Zig is now a shortcut on the G320 national road (The G320 largely replaced the original Burma Road) and is only used as shortcut by motorbikes and three-wheelers and incidental tourists.

The road climbs 264 metres from 1296 meters at bend one to 1560 metres at bend twenty-four (866 feet climb from 4252 feet at bend one to 5118 feet at bend twenty-four). The average gradient is around 8% and the distance between bend one and bend twenty-four is about 3.5 Km (2.2 Mile).

Start of the 24 -Zig.
Local guide ready to show you the 24-Zig.

The signs at turn one confirm that this is the 24-Zig. The sign and the bend numbering were placed in 2006 when this stretch of road became a national monument.

 Present day view from the lookout spot.
Present day view from the lookout spot.
Turn twentytwo near the top.
Turn twentytwo near the top.

Since the designation of the road as a national monument the local authorities try to market the road as an attraction. A special road was constructed to the mountain side overlooking the road and one can get the same angel for your pictures as those that made the road famous during the war (Second picture up).

From the new road (The G320) one has a limited view and one can only see bend twenty-two clearly (Above).

Note that the main difference with the war time era are the trees that now line the road.

In 2013 a movie was shot on the road and still some mock-up military installations dot the road. Copies of signs used on the Ledo Road can be found along the road as well.

The 24-Zig is some 370 Km from Kunming via the modern motorway. A trip to the road would normally take two days in which the road is visited on the first afternoon when it receives the full sun. The next morning the road can be visited again to see the road in the morning mist.

24-Zig
The original 24 bends ©1.

24 or 22 turns

The 24-zig got named after the 24 successive turns that this stretch of road made snaking up the mountain. However sometime during the war turn two and three were cut off. To maintain the name two additional hairpin turns were added to the numbering also they are not successive in the series of hairpin turns. The present day turns are numbered and include the new turn one and two. In the new layout turn three and twenty-four are not hairpin turns and turn one and two are not successive with the rest.

(Above) The original situation with 22 hairpin turns in succession.

(Below) The altered situation with turn 2 and 3 cut off also they still can be seen in the picture.

22-Zig
The later vesion with 22 bends ©1.
Overview with bend numbering.
Overview with bend numbering.
24 zig at night.
The 24-Zig at night with car lights and fireworks. ©1

This visual effect was created with an extreme long shutter time on a very dark night from the viewpoint overlooking the road.

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