Monday, September 7, 2015

Tips and Tricks : AJ Hackett Macau Tower Bungy Jump

I've called it! After the 43m leap of faith in New Zealand (read all about it Here) , I found myself jumping 233m from the Macau Tower, the highest bungy jump in the world currently.

If the bungy is not appealing or too intimidating, you may also opt for the Skyjump (slight deceleration compared to bungy), Tower Climb, and Skywalk (a walk outside the tower for that slight vertigo) activities, but I'll keep that for some other time if I find myself in Macau again.

Just like any AJ Hackett branches you may visit, safety is paramount for all jumpers, the safety features and information pertaining to the jump, cords and FAQ can be found in their website. Located at the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre (around 6 minutes drive from Senado Square), the fastest way to get here is by cab or you can board the bus (MT4, 18, 32 or 33) that all leads to the tower.

Once again I found myself financially wiped out with the bungy jump costed at MOP 3088 (Approximately RM 1680) and the full combo of MOP 3788 (RM 2060). Luckily, since I've jumped with AJ Hackett's before, I was given a waiver of 20% for the jumping cost, in total I've paid MOP 3269 (Jump : MOP 2470 and Video/Photo combo : MOP 799, totalling up to RM 1771). Notable difference between my previous jump and this is that they provided GoPro to capture the video alongside the jumper, pretty awesome addition I must say! Also, you can't really put a price on your safety, no?

It is advisable to pre-book the jump and select the schedule that you prefer, I chose the 12.30 p.m. slot only to complete the jump around 2pm, that's quite a long wait right? A testament to the popularity of the bungy jump itself!

Entrance to tower is separately charged I'm afraid, at MOP 135 for adults (Do check out the other rates and opening hours here). The ticket will take you all the way up to the 61st storey of the tower (although the ticket could grant you limited access to other floors for sightseeing too) for the jump preparation.

If you are a solo traveler like me, you may deposit your belongings at a rental locker for a fee of $30 (for 3 hours) after you have checked in / registered for your turn. Each jumper would be given a red t-shirt (orange t-shirt for the Skywalk and crew) which serves as an easy identification of the type of activity you are participating in.

After the weigh in and changing to the tee and the canvas shoes provided, it was time to the plank! While patiently waiting for your turn, you get the privilege to see a fair amount of people in front taking the plunge, if the wait itself isn't already intimidating.

There would be a chair that allows the Jump Masters (yes, I think this is what they call themselves) to carefully strap the harness and cords on you. They are very friendly and will engage in conversations while waiting for the ropes to be delivered up from the previous jump. They may have a little cruel sense of joke, but it is all good, if you are on the 61st floor, that is half the battle already and probably nothing could stop you. 

Bro Tips : Another notable difference to my jump in NZ is that there is a lever for you to pull after the 2nd bounce so that the rope can slowly descend you down to safety.

... Until you got on to the plank. While waiting for my turn, I've gazed down, so I know exactly what I have gotten myself into. After seconds of GoPro interview and camwhore moment, I found myself half feet on the plank and the count down began. In 5... 4... 3... 2... and...

That was when I plunged. Instinct and impulse took over. And I did it. I really did.

Second time around, it wasn't easier I must say but once the adrenaline rush took over - Scream, Pray or Curse or just do the Scream-Pray-Curse combo like I did. After a floating in mid air for a few seconds, and some awkward failure of pulling the lever, I finally released the lever and I was slowly brought down to the safety cushion.

Unfortunately, after taking one last camwhore shot and still strapped with the harness, I found myself walking towards the exit of the safety cushion, only to be halted and questioned with intimidation by one of the ground staff. He questioned, "Where are you going?", as if I have done something really impulsive to him. Of course I responded that my stuffs are still up the tower, so I wanted to go up? He just gave me a really cold stare and point blank told me to "wait for instruction".

Here's the thing, I speak fluent (if not perfect) English and I would understand his instruction, IF GIVEN. Assuming that I have missed his instruction (cut me some slack, I have just jumped the highest bungy and the adrenaline was still pumping, and I was still visibly excited), he could've told me in the most polite manner, with a fucking smile, "Sir, please wait here until we have unstrapped you". I don't know how this particular staff is trained but attitude is unacceptable. 

PS: I have emailed to the manager pertaining to this issue but as per the date this blog entry is written I have not gotten any outcome of the investigation from him, so I have no qualms sharing this experience publicly. 

All in all, that blunder aside, I am definitely looking forward to the next adventures AJ Hackett has to offer. 

USB and Membership Card
Bro tips : Upon completing the jump, I received the USB containing the pictures and videos, and a membership card that allows you to jump for a steady rate of MOP 1,088 for the next three consecutively jumps, and the 4th jump is free. Macau temptation is strong!

Full video of the jump can be viewed here.
Also, the GoPro angle can be viewed here. :)

Discovering : Hong Kong

"Why did you choose to go during the typhoon season?"

That was the frequently asked question I encountered before flying off to Hong Kong. I should be counting my blessing as there were no typhoon and was sunny for the 2 days I spent over there. Having said that, having heatstroke, braving through the influx of obnoxious tourists (yes, they are loud and proud of it) and minor food poisoning was unpleasant during the trip but I did get to at least achieve almost three quarters of what I came Hong Kong for.

High risers - OZO Wesley
Leveraging on the cheap flight return tickets (Thanks AirAsia) to Macau, we landed at 6pm and had a mad dash towards the ferry terminal just to beat the night ferry rate (pricier tickets). Dealt with the one way ticket of MOP 190 (Approximately RM100) headed to Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. The Cotai Jet ferry ride was quite comfortable given that, let's be honest, a ferry ride.

Cotai Ferry
Getting off towards immigration was the introduction to what we experienced the next two days - loud and obnoxious tourists (not to patronize anyone but they definitely weren't the most eloquent people around) from *koff* the Mainland *koff*. Our patience were definitely tested, but we weren't deterred as we survived the immigration and headed to the MTR station to grab a ride to our hotel. The renting of Octopus Card ease commuting through buses and MTR, for $100 worth and $50 deposit (refundable upon refunding the Octopus card in good condition). The subway ride I can definitely relate to Singapore in terms of its fast pace.

We spent some time looking for dinner in Lan Kwai Fong for the night but found ourselves at McDonalds in the end. Mickey D can sometimes be life savers.

The Lan Kwai Fong
Accommodation : OZO Wesley Hong Kong, 22 Hennessy Road, Wanchai Hong Kong

The following morning we met up with a local friend in Hong Kong for a char chan teng (茶餐廳, because really, you can't just come to HK and miss going for a char chan teng breakfast). Char chan teng breakfast can be pretty generic - with the usual suspects of toasts, milk tea, egg tarts etc. The trick here is, just go to the less main stream ones to enjoy your breakfast without the need to rush or being pried by strangers (yes, sharing tables is common here).

Char Chan Teng breakfast
Visited a couple of cafes along the way, with most of them sharing the common traits of compact but never shy of their own personalities for coffee and Instagramming of course.

Cupping Room, 32 Swatow St. , Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
Ethos, 93, 97, 99  Hill Road, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong.

Back to being generic tourist mode, we then brave through the bustling Central (中環). Aside from the night scenes of Lan Kwai Fong, several notable places that you can find yourself lost at include 
  • The famous stairs you see at TVB dramas, Duddell Street (check out the old school Starbucks there)
  • Rustic charms of Hollywood Street (Antique street located around it too)
  • Walk along the Mid-Level Escalator
Hollywood Road
Mid-Level Escalators
Of course, no visit to an oriental, Chinese heritage country would be complete without visiting at least one temple, the one we visited was Man Mo Temple (文武廟) for worship of the civil or literature god Man Tai / Man Cheong & the martial god Mo Tai / Kwan Tai.

Man Mo Temple
One of the lunch that you should definitely try as well is the Wonton Noodle (雲吞麺). The wontons are generous in size, and the noodles are much chewier (almost like a ramen texture) compared to how Malaysians were to cook them.

Recommended visit : Tsim Chai Kee (沾仔記), 98 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong.

Tsim Chai Kee Wonton Noodles
To end your day, do get to the Temple Street (nearby Kowloon/Jordan) to unleash your bargaining and shopping prowess, followed by the Arena of Stars and Symphony of Lights at Tsim Sha Tsui.

Temple Street Market starts operating at 4pm till late
Keepin' it real here, Arena of Stars is an interpretation of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but with large crowds of *koff*mailanders*koff*. 

The iconic Bruce Lee at Avenue of Stars
Also, the Symphony of Lights in Singapore is slightly more jubilant than the one in Hong Kong, I guess I wasn't as lucky as those who were in awe of the lights presentation prior to my visit. The night view of illuminated skyscraper is undeniably beautiful though.

Nightview Hong Kong
Another meal that is synonymous to the Canton region would be the dim sum. Hearty, bite-sized cuisine served on bamboo steamer, you can't really go wrong with the variety of flavors here. Don't forget the dynamic duo of Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siew Mai (Pork or Prawn Dumplings) and the classic favourites Cheong Fun (Rice Noodle Rolls) and Char Siew Pao (Pork Buns).

Recommended visit : Dim Dim Sum Dim Sum (點點心), various locations.

Dim Sum at Dim Dim Sum
I had high expectations for Mido Cafe after reading reviews that it is a people's favorite when it comes to rustic and classic Hong Kong char chan teng food. Not to patronize the cafe but the food is just not up to what I had in mind, perhaps we Malaysians are indeed the pickiest eaters in the world.

Mido Cafe rustic interior
Upscale market and shopping? Causeway Bay is the area for you, but the main focus when we were here was just for the Hong Kong Gundam Expo, located at the Time Square Mall. 

Gundam v Time Square
Another cafe that was raved in reviews was the Australian Dairy Company, where most Instagram and Blogger peers had agreed that they serve killer scrambled eggs. I had a different opinion though. The eggs were more on the saltier side, and I expected silky, creamy and fluffy scrambled (the likes to what I had in Ronin, Singapore). Plus points - They aced on their milk tea AND their milk pudding (did not manage to try the other famous one, Yee Shun Dairy but I can settle on this). 

To visit : Australian Dairy Co, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong.

The Milk Tea, Milk Pudding and ever famous Scrambled Eggs with Toast
If you have managed to catch the skyscraper panorama at the Tsim Sha Tsui piers, you should also get to Victoria Peak (more famously known as The Peak) for the height view of Hong Kong's skyscrapers. I would love to catch the sunset there (evening) but due to our tight schedule of trying to catch the evening ferry back to Macau, we were there at the late afternoon. 

From the Peak (feat Sharky)
Getting up there, get to the Central station (J2 Exit) and find your way to the Peak Tram Lower Terminus. The return ticket would cost $40 for adult (and $83 if you are visiting the Sky Terrace 428). Attractions at the Peak would include the Sky Terrace 428 of course, and Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. Do note that you may need to return down slightly earlier to beat the rush hour (when we went down, the line was almost ten folds as long to board the tram, likely for those who are waiting for the sunset).

Peak Tower
The Aftermath
  • Foods in Hong Kong could be slightly pricey, with an average of $30 for a decent meal (check out the estimated price of HK food/transportation/etc price here).
  • Participating Hard Rock Cafe (if you are a HRC collector/member) are located in Lan Kwai Fong and the Peak Tower.
Hard Rock Cafe Lan Kwai Fong
  • Getting from Hong Kong to Macau at around 8.15 pm would cost around $200 one way. Bloody pricey -_-|||
  • Try the smelly tofu (臭豆腐), curry fishball (咖哩魚蛋)and egg waffles (鷄蛋仔) - HK's common street foods.
A wild bag of Egg Waffles appeared 
  • HK Dollars (notes only) can be used in Macau but not vice versa.
  • I might not return to HK the soonest, but if I do I would want to visit the smaller islands (Lantau, Lamma etc) and get to Ocean Park and Disneyland. God's willing.
Last Brotips : Have you been collecting the selfies at the MTR stations?