The Puxiu Bridge (普修桥) is located in the Dong village of Huangdu (皇都侗寨 sometimes also written 黄土乡), just thirty kilometers in the south of Tongdao 通道, a small town in west Hunan province and a base to exploring Dong ethnic villages.
It is one of the most impressive Wind and Rain bridge (风雨桥) in the Dong corridor (an area that includes southwest Hunan province, southeast Guizhou and north Guangxi province) along with the Yongji bridge of Chengyang and the Huilong bridge near Hengling (横岭) village (see my article about Tongdao 通道).
The Puxiu Wind and Rain bridge was originally built during the 8th year of the Jiaqing Emperor (嘉庆) of the Qing (which is the scholarly Chinese way of saying “the year 1804”) and was renovated in 1984.
The bridge rests on three blue-stone piers and the upper structure is entirely made of wood. It is a typical Wind and Rain bridge that you can find in any Dong minority or Miao minority villages of Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi.
Inside each of the three pavilions, there is an altar dedicated to Dong and Taoist gods. One altar is dedicated to Dong ancestral deities, another dedicated to the Emperor Guan (关帝), the Taoist god of brotherhood and righteousness. The third altar is dedicated to Wenchang (文昌), the god of culture and literature.
The corridor is roughly 60 meters long and flanked with red beams all the way. The ceiling is painted green and let the visitor to see the inside structure of each pavilion.
The central pavilion is the highest and the most impressive. It stands high over the roof, like the head of the dragon that protects the village.
The style of the bridge entrances matches Huangdu lower village gates. The bridge’s however are adorned with phoenix and dragon carved in a metal sheet.
In December 1934, the Red Army crossed the Puxiu bridge (普修桥) during the Long March. This episode in the Chinese Red Army is known as the “Tongdao Transfer” (通道转兵) and helped Mao Zedong get to Liping (黎平) for the Liping Meeting (黎平会议).
How to get there
The Puxiu bridge is located 30 km south of Tongdao in western Hunan province. If you come from the north of Hunan province (like Zhangjiajie National Park or Fenghuang old town), you will have to go to Huaihua (怀化) where there are direct buses from the west bus station (西站). With the new Huai-Tong highway (怀通高速公路), the travel time between Huaihua and Tongdao takes only 3 hours now.
If you come from the south, Guilin/Yangshuo or Chengyang bridge area in Guangxing province, there are two buses daily that departs from each bus station of Sanjiang (one early morning and one early afternoon). The journey last two hours on a mountain road.
From Tongdao to the north : there is one bus every one and half hour to Huaihua and they stop in Qiancheng (黔城).
From Tongdao to the south : there are two buses to Sanjiang if you want to go to Chengyang bridge area or further south to Guilin/Yangshuo or the Longsheng rice terraces.
From Tongdao, you can either hire a taxi (around 50 to 70 RMB) or take a local bus from the regional bus station located on Saishang Road (赛上路) by the Saishang bridge (赛上桥) in the south of the town.
Where to stay
In front of the bus station, there are a few hotels that are not too bad (depending on your standard), but they are convenient if you want to take a bus early morning. I tried the Tongdao Binguan (通道宾馆), but I was told that ‘they are not open to foreign guests’ (不对外开放).
The bus station is located in the new part of town. If you want to try to find other hotels, you will have to try the town’s main street, Changzheng Road (长征路). When facing the bus station, take Chengdong Road (城东路) on your right, cross the bridge into Jinrong Street (金融路), turn left into (长征路).