Of all the places to visit in Macau, if it’s an adrenalin rush that gets you going head for Macau Tower. AJ Hackett’s is the face that launched a thousand flips, and the gob-smacking (metaphorically speaking) Macau bungy jump he devised from the top of the Macau Tower is poised 233m above the ground – making it the highest bungy jump in the world.
No matter whether you’re a bungy virgin or if you’ve jumped before, standing on the edge of the platform, suited and booted, it’s difficult to appreciate the panorama that encompasses the city, the sea and the People’s Republic of China stretching away to the north. Your thoughts are entirely concentrated on what is immediately below.
Macau Bungy Jump
Everyone is told that the bungy cord has a breaking strain of 2.2 tonnes – that’s strong enough to hold an elephant. But, at the back of your mind, there’s always a smidgen of doubt.
“Yeah, I hear you, but what about if…”
There again, it’s the element of danger that keeps people queuing up for a bungy day after day. That, and the sheer exhilaration of flying through the air with the greatest of ease.
Are you sold on the idea yet?
Need to know more? Watch this video for insights into the psychology of the jump.
Mechanics of the Macao Tower Bungy Jump
In order to make the Macau Tower bungy jump a reality, a specially designed bungy cord, as well as guide cables, and a recovery system had to be developed.
Hackett and his team masterminded the new design and testing of all equipment, coming up with a final result which is referred to as the second-generation bungy cord.
Essentially, its design is sphere-shaped, making it larger at the top than at the bottom, so allowing a jumper’s weight to be evenly dispersed over the entire length of the cord when jumping from 233m above the ground.
As jumpers accelerate toward the ground, the bungy slows their progress, then rebounds them back up.
The guide cable system ensures they do not make contact with the tower and allows bungy jumps to take place in nearly all weather conditions, apart from typhoons. The prime concern is safety.
Who operates the Macau bungy jump?
The world’s highest bungy jump had a curious genesis.
On a visit to Auckland, New Zealand, Macao casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-Sun was so impressed by the city’s landmark Sky Tower that he commissioned a similar one to be built in Macao.
It opened in 2001, and five years later AJ Hackett himself – together with film star Edison Chen Koon-hei – made the first jump from the tower, giving it a well-earned place in the record books.
The procedure for jumping at Macau Tower is dominated by the paramount need for safety.
After riding up in the lift, jumpers are weighed, checked for loose items, and carefully briefed on what they need to do.
Every bungy jumper at Macau Tower is secured by two points of contact, with a traditional foot tie around the ankles as well as a waist harness.
Does bungy jumping hurt?
The staff are utterly professional, exuding confidence and calm, friendly and reassuring, and well used to answering every question under the sun.
Q: “Will I hurt my back?”
A: “Nope, the cord’s made of elastic and stretches with you – you’d feel more of a bump jumping off a chair.”
Q: “Will my retina detach?”
A: “Nope, the effect’s the same as if you sneeze.”
Q: “Are you sure it’s safe?”
A: “We’ve done more than 2.5 million jumps around the world over 25 years, and never had an accident – the odds are pretty good, eh. Now, relax.”
The memory that sticks in every jumper’s mind is the moment when they step up on the platform and the phrase “thin air” suddenly assumes an incredible potency.
Nobody gets pushed off, no matter how long they dither, and indeed most jumpers take a leap into the unknown immediately at the end of the countdown: “5,4,3,2,1 – BUNGY”.
It’s contrary to everything you’ve ever been taught. Yet you do it. And plummeting through space, even though it lasts only seconds, is something that stays with you for the rest of your life. You’re flying.
Benefits of bungy jumping
If the moments before a bungy jump are filled with trepidation, and the jump itself passes in the adrenaline rush of a lifetime, for hours afterwards you feel not so much on top of the world but as if you’re soaring above it.
“I’m alive – and it feels incredible: breathing, seeing, feeling, in fact, I am aware of every single one of my senses.”
Add to that the feeling of achievement – not quite an Olympic Gold Medal, but very close.
You’ve diced with a close cousin of death, and come out the winner. If you can bungy jump, you can do anything.
Not for nothing is it said that bungy jumping is the equivalent of five years of therapy.
And if you’ve done it before, there’s always the option of taking a leap in the dark, as night bungy is available at Macau Tower from 6 pm in winter and 7.30 pm in summer.
Other Macau Tower attractions
AJ Hackett Macau also offers the Macau Skyjump, Macau Tower Climb and Skywalk Macau. The Macau Tower buffet is an impressive spread with amazing views.
Macau Tower Skywalk
The Skywalk seems downright sedate compared to the bungy jump and while there are no handrails and there’s nothing between you and the ground below, there are safety harnesses to ensure no one ends their holiday disastrously.
The Skywalk entails circumnavigating the exterior of the tower on a two-metre wide platform.
It’s not too scary until you decide to walk to the extreme edge of the structure and peer down to the ground way below.
During such moments, you appreciate the great faith we place in technology and the overhead harness and straps that keep you on the straight and narrow.
The whole exercise is a 15-minute, knee-wobbling adventure and after a few photos to immortalise the momentous event, most adventurers are more than happy to return to the safety of the public viewing area of the tower.
Macau Tower Mast Climb
Another adventurous activity at the Macau Tower is the Mast Climb (from the 61st floor at 233m to a height of 338m).
Once again, participants are strapped on so it is all safe.
Armchair travellers will enjoy safe and spectacular elevated views from the Macau Tower over the historic city below, the South China Sea and mainland China.
The lunchtime buffet served here is highly recommended but preferably after attempting any of the thrill-seeking activities.
More bungy jumping questions
Who invented the bungy jump?
Bungy jumping is a relatively new sport. AJ Hackett from New Zealand did the first bungy jump from Greenhithe Bridge in Auckland in 1986.
What is a bungy jump?
Bungy jumping is an extreme sport where you jump from a bridge or a tower with an elastic rope tied to your ankle. The rope stretches to allow you to bounce back up and not hit the ground.
If you’re travelling with the family, here are more things to do in Macao for kids. Macao has a growing collection of new Macau hotels and luxury resorts and a Macau nightlife is vibrant. Check out Macao’s hippest neighbourhood – Taipa and wander the back streets to discover the city’s European charm.