The new exclamation point in Macau is the Macau Tower, built on reclaimed land at the southernmost portion of the Macau peninsula. Its needle-like silhouette can be seen all over Macau and in neighboring China, too.
With Gordon Moller of CCMBECA New Zealand as principal architect, the Macau Tower was completed in December 2001. It tops out at 338m, making it by far the city’s tallest structure and the tenth tallest freestanding tower in the world.
You will need to determine the difficulty level of your lofty excursion here. Stand near the elevator doors for the experience of looking outside while riding up or down the elevator. The indoor Observation Lounge on Level 58 (223m high) may seem tame enough, but this opinion may change as soon as one notices the glass sections built into the floor deck. The thick glass is structurally sound, so you can walk on these windows while staring straight down to the plaza level and the shaft of the tower itself. As fun (or frightening) as this is, do not forget to stare out at the marvelous views of Macau. Enjoy gazing at the Pearl River Delta region of mainland China and the South China Sea from here, although you will need a very clear day to spot any part of Hong Kong. The outer rim of the tower is helpfully marked with the main compass points. Next, go up to the Outdoor Observation Deck at Level 61 (233m high). This platform is open-air, but you are caged in, so there is no possibility of falling off the edge.
For a more challenging visit, try one of the activities established by the bungee-pioneering New Zealand outfit, AJ Hackett Adventure Zone. At Level 57, the Skywalk involves an exciting encircling walk along a see-through metal grated platform 216m above ground. The Skywalk X takes this a step further, as you move atop the outer rim with no handrails or glass partitions to hem you in. At the same elevation as the Outdoor Observation Deck, this rim has a comfortable width of 1.8m, so you will not be too disconcerted unless you wander to the absolute edge. Before stepping onto the rim, your guide will harness you to the overhead rail safety system looping the exterior. You are accompanied along this walk by the guide, who will allow you to pose and perhaps sit on the edge if you are up to it. Skywalk X was a great thrill and not particularly scary for me, as I had full confidence in my guide and the integrity of the safety equipment. I declined to try the Mast Climb, involving a 100m vertical climb to the absolute tip of the tower. Other challenges nearer to terra firma include various versions of walking, climbing, zipping, and jumping.
One admission fee gives you access to the observation levels, but any extracurricular activities do involve additional costs.
(Continued in Part 2)