Taking on the Macau Tower Bungy

When Virgin Atlantic recently got in touch with Sassy Hong Kong (a website I – and that Charlotte used to – write for) to issue a challenge for someone to take on the Macau Tower bungy jump, I threw my hand up to do it. As the team’s token Kiwi and having bungeed twice before – both times at the Auckland Harbour Bridge site in New Zealand – I figured it was a good opportunity to brush off some cobwebs, get the blood pumping and heart racing.

Then I crunched the numbers…

While the Auckland Harbour Bridge jump is 40m high (and pretty scary), the Macau Tower site dwarves that by standing at a whopping 233m! Not only did I realise it was more than five times the height, I discovered it’s the current title holder of highest commercial bungy in the world (my hands get sweaty just typing those words). I immediately freaked out. What was I thinking signing up for something so extreme?! So high?! So extremely high?!

Once I got my head around the task that lay ahead, I locked in the time and date of the jump and the countdown began…

In the days leading up it, I become increasingly nervous. I tried psyching myself up by reading reviews and watching as many videos of people doing it as I could. I kept imagining what it would be like when it came time to stand on the edge of the platform. Unlike a skydive (where you’re strapped to the instructor and therefore don’t actually make the decision to jump out of the plane yourself, you just get taken for the ride), with a bungy it’s all down to you to jump, step or fall off the ledge. And the moment when you make that decision is intense.

After telling anyone who would listen about my impending jump, the big day finally arrived.

The Macau bungy site is managed by AJ Hackett. For those unfamiliar with the brand name, AJ is in fact the man who invented bungy jumping – the godfather of the sport. Did I mention he’s Kiwi too? Anyway, it’s needless to say the technology, safety and professionalism makes for one slick operation.

Macau Tower Bungy 1

There’s no mucking around when you reach the observation deck of the Macau Tower. With dance music pumping, things happen pretty swiftly once you’ve been registered,   weighed and suited up in the harness. The team is awesome. Not only are staff relaxed, friendly and insanely knowledgeable (they have detailed answers for every bungy-related question under the sun), the set-up process makes you feel really secure.

After watching four people (successfully) jump ahead of me, it was my turn.

Macau Tower Bungy 2

With my harness pulled tight, I tried my best to keep it together as I shuffled out to the edge of the platform. I was told to stay calm and – rather than jumping – to fall forward as though I was landing on the end of a bed. My plan was to avoid looking down at this point, but curiousity got the better of me. I started screaming as soon as I locked eyes on the ground below. A few more safety checks were carried out and then it was time: 5,4,3,2,1 BUNGY!

Macau Tower Bungy 3

It’s best to let the video do the talking from this point but I will say, IT WAS A MASSIVE FREE-FALL. It was long enough for my brain to register what was happening about halfway down – a very weird realisation to have mid-drop. It’s hard (almost impossible) to explain how it feels to be completely aware of falling.

And then it was done. I had done it! And I’d survived! The rush was insane –a feeling of complete, adrenaline-induced euphoria. It was absolutely awesome.

So, do I think you should take the plunge too? Short answer: YES!

If you’re an adventure seeker and in need of a thrill that revs the system, the Macau Tower bungy is a way of pushing your limits in a really safe, controlled environment. The sense of satisfaction once it’s all said and done is indescribable. Given how scared I was in the build-up, if someone like me can go through with this, I think anyone can – and I challenge you to give it a go. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience (and pretty cool to say you’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt for conquering the world’s highest bungy)!

Thanks to Virgin Atlantic for making this happen. To check out what else they recommend doing in this corner of the world, check out this great article.

E x

An adapted version of this post originally ran on Sassy Hong Kong

BGBC supports Movember

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It’s Movember eve and we’re getting set to ring in another Movember. With official campaigns in Hong Kong and Australia (the home of this hairy campaign), we’re registered and ready to fly the Mo Sista flag throughout the month.

For those unfamiliar with how Movember works, let us run you through it. Held in November each year, it’s a month-long global charity event that encourages men (Mo Bros) and women (Mo Sistas) to support the active growth of moustaches in order to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. Simple!

Changing one’s appearance naturally prompts people to ask why (especially when a Mo isn’t normally part of their everyday look). Guys essentially become walking, talking billboards for the campaign and their moustaches spark conversations about men’s health that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. People can donate to the Mo-growing efforts of those taking part, helping raise vital funds for men’s health.

Now, because men are the ones who grow the Mos, you might be sitting there questioning how girls can get involved. The reality is, Movember wouldn’t be what it is today without the support and inspiration of the Mo Sistahood. In a nutshell: behind every great Mo Bro, there is almost always a greater Mo Sista.

One of the easiest, most effective ways ladies can play their part during Movember is not stand in the way Mo-gress – don’t be the girl that hates on the ‘tache. Tell your boyfriend or husband you’re cool with him registering to take part in the campaign, and encourage the other men in your life – dad, brothers, friends, colleagues – to do the same. The more Mos, the better!

Keep tabs on our Mo Sista happenings via our Mo Space.

Mo on!

E & C x

Sydney Weekends

It’s only been three weeks since I relocated to Sydney but I feel like I’ve never lived anywhere else! As well as ticking the touristy boxes, I’ve been lucky to explore the ‘local’ side of Sydney too. I’m still getting my feet on the ground – finding the best places to get waxed, my favorite coffee sports and, of course, weekend getaways (something we love at BGBC!) – all of this I will share with you in due course… but, for now, I thought I’d share my first weekend with you; consider it a sneak peak of what’s to come! Sydney Friday night drinks – Palmer and Co Whoever told me that Sydney was going to be “dull” or “boring” having come from Hong Kong has obviously never ventured to this fabulous underground hangout. With waitresses dressed as flapper girls, this speakeasy hot spot with amazing cocktails will have you coming back for more. Friday night dinner – Mr Wong’s I was already craving Chinese food when I stepped off the plane, so I was kindly taken to Mr Wong’s – Sydney’s latest Cantonese favorite that is scoring big with foodies. The food and the atmosphere were incredible – I’m still thinking about the deserts! Think a less pretentious China Club with drinks and dinner to match. Booking isn’t possible so get in early (or late). Saturday – Yoga In an attempt to sweat out the night before and prepare for another night of food, I ventured to donation based yoga studio, Barefoot Yoga, in Paddington. Perfect if you’re in town for a short period or looking to get into yoga, this studio ticked all my yoga boxes! Saturday night – Njij Sushi  More Asian food! Admittedly, all I have had since I arrived is Asian. I live right next door to Din Tai Fung which is dangerous for all involved. A sushi snob, I’m always very wary of “foreign” sushi. Canned tuna and mayonnaise just don’t do it for me, but Niji Sushi hit all the right spots with authentic and super seafood delicious options. Pop into Missy Sippy next door for a few cocktails after dinner. Sydney Sunday – Bay Run and brunch One of the many reasons I moved to Sydney was to breathe fresh air and live a more active lifestyle. With the Bay Run just up the road, I ventured to Balmain for a 7k loop around Iron Cove Bay followed by the most amazing brunch at Ungaro Raw. Sydney Sunday evenings tend to wrap up with multiple Skype sessions so I can brag about how much fun I’m having. So far, I really can’t complain! More to come as I get my feet on Aussie ground… C.x

Hong Kong hike: Lion Rock

Until last weekend, something that had been on my Hong Kong ‘to do’ list for way too long was to hike up to Lion Rock.

Whether you live in Hong Kong or are just passing through, this hike is exceptional and definitely worth doing. It’s easy to get to the starting point via the MTR, the trail is well-maintained, AND the view is out of this world (you’ll be scrambling to capture the outlook from all camera angles).

Lion Rock Hong Kong

If it sounds like your sort of thing, here are the directions we followed, courtesy of Hike Hong Kong.

E x

Brilliant Borneo

I recently returned from 10 action-packed days in Malaysian Borneo – also known as Sabah. For those unfamiliar with the island (the largest in Asia, as a matter of fact), it’s a mecca for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers alike.

From 30m below sea level to 4,095m above, Borneo ticked all the boxes. In case it happens to be on your travel hit list (if it’s not, it should be), here are some tips for making the most of this Malaysian gem…

Scuba diving

One of Borneo’s biggest draw cards is its dive spots – the most famous being the oceanic island of Sipadan. Words can’t really explain how magical the diving is here. From countless turtles and reef sharks, to brilliantly coloured coral and huuuge schools of barracuda and jackfish (seriously, they were like big fish tornadoes), it was hard to take it all in as there was just so much going on and countless things to see.

A limited number of permits for Sipadan are issued daily which means booking in advance is essential. We booked our dives through Sipadan Scuba. They were great: friendly, knowledgeable and had good gear.

Besides Sipadan, there are plenty of other places to dive and snorkel around the Semporna Islands. We spent a day at Mantabuan and, while it wasn’t as full on in terms of marine life as Sipadan, the abundance of coral and tropical fish made it an amazing place to explore.

Borneo - Sipadan 3

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Borneo - Sipdan 2

BGBC tip: invest in a GoPro or good quality underwater camera before you go (especially if you’re planning to dive Sipadan). The visibility is just too good not to capture all the amazing things you’ll see!

Getting to Semporna: After flying to Kota Kinabalu, we caught an internal flight to Tawau (approx. 50 minutes). From Tawau airport, we caught a taxi to Semporna for RM80 – the drive took just under an hour with no traffic.

In terms of safety (Semporna has been in the media recently due to pirate activity in the area), we felt very safe during our few days there. Security has been heightened on many of the islands (expect to see armed guards patrolling the beaches) and dive boats are clearing the water before dusk. Although we opted to stay on the mainland in Semporna, we had friends who stayed on Mabul Island – they also said they felt secure throughout their stay.

Orangutans and proboscis monkeys

I could rave about Borneo’s primate population for days but I won’t – I’ll let the pics do the talking. The orangutans are an absolute must-see. If you have time, the proboscis monkeys are pretty entertaining.

We hit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in time for the afternoon viewing session; there are two feedings per day, one in the morning at 10am and the other at 3pm. While food is set out for the orangutans, there is no guarantee they will show up to eat it (they’re not captive). We were lucky to see at least eight roll in to chow down. A couple of them came in really close – it was amazing.

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Borneo - Sepilok 2

Further down the road, you’ll find the proboscis monkey sanctuary at Labuk Bay. We didn’t know too much about these guys before we saw them other than the fact they have crazy-shaped noses (that’s the G-rated way of putting it). Completely unique to Borneo, these monkeys are weird, wonderful and well-worth the bus ride (which conveniently departs from the orangutan rehab centre car park) to see.

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There are lots of accommodation options in Sepilok – some better than others. We stayed at the Sepilok Jungle Resort and loved it. Along with being comfortable, clean and kitted out with a nice pool, the resort has a great open-air restaurant and is less than five minutes’ walk to the orangutan rehab centre.

Getting to Sepilok: While there are regular buses, we decided to catch an internal flight to Sandakan (approx. 30 minutes). From Sandakan airport, we got a taxi to Sepilok for RM130 – the drive took about half an hour.

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Mt Kinabalu

If physical challenges are your thing, then climbing Mt Kinabalu will be right up your alley. With Low’s Peak summit sitting pretty at 4,095m above sea level, the views from the top are spectacular and totally worth working up a sweat to experience.

Based on friends’ recommendations, we opted for the two days/ one night package (booked through Amazing Borneo, which I highly recommend). Strictly speaking, this option sees you depart early in the morning to climb to the Laban Rata hut situated at 3,272m on day one. You then eat dinner and rest at the hut before departing around 3am the next day to reach the summit in time for sunrise. Afterwards, you descend back to Laban Rata for breakfast before making your way down the rest of the mountain. After chatting to our guide (who said seeing a sunrise was unlikely based on weather conditions), we ended up doing things slightly differently by reaching the summit in one day. Although it was hard on the legs, I was pleased we made the call to power up the mountain because (once the cloud cleared) completely and utterly breathtaking. We woke at our leisure then next morning and reached the bottom before midday.

Borneo - Mt Kinabalu 1

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If you’re considering doing the climb, here are a few things to take note of:

  • Make sure you’re reasonably fit; walk/hike regularly before setting out to do Mt Kinabalu to ensure you don’t get injured and can actually enjoy yourself. There are hardly any flat bits to recover on – it’s literally straight up and straight down. Prep those pins!
  • Take warm clothes; Low’s Peak summit is FREEZING and exposed to wind from all directions! Invest in good thermals and a decent windbreaker. Gloves and a hat are essential too.
  • Consider trekking poles; we didn’t use these but if you have dodgy knees then I’d strongly recommend using these (especially for the descent)

Kota Kinabalu

As Borneo’s capital city, chances are you’ll fly in and out of Kota Kinabalu. To be completely honest, the place didn’t wow me. Given we were mainly keen to just chill by the pool following our Mt Kinabalu jaunt, the Hyatt Regency was a great place to stay. The waterfront night market (which fires up late afternoon) is definitely worth a wander. We (surprisingly) stumbled across an amazing little Italian restaurant further along the board walk: Gusto Food & Wine. Located right on the water’s edge, this joint is definitely worth checking out if you find yourself craving a calzone instead of mi goreng!

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Borneo is a place that truly wowed me. It’s definitely worth venturing to if you ever have the chance.

E x