We Tried Urban Ziplining With ZipCity Macau | The Beat Asia
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The Beat Asia Tries Urban Zip-lining With ZipCity Macau

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Unless you’re willing to put on a wingsuit, zip lining is the closest feeling most of us will ever get to flying. Some zip lines can reach adrenaline racing speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, leaving you with the sensation of wind whipping through your hair as you admire the miraculous bird’s eye view.

With Macau’s borders finally re-opened, Hong Kongers can relish in an unforgettable adrenaline-fuelled experience with the world’s first immersive urban skyscraper zip line.

ZIPCITY Macau first opened in 2021, offering a breath-taking flight above Macau’s Cotai neighbourhood. Riders can enjoy two different types of flights: a family friendly day-time experience, or an evening take-off into a multi-sensory glide through the sky.

Located in Lisboeta Macau, the 388-meter-long journey reaches speeds of up to 55 kilometres per hour, making ZIPCITY Macau the world’s third longest urban zip line. In a well-meaning attempt to overcome my fear of heights, I mustered up the courage to take the plunge with Macau’s mid-rise buildings beneath my feet. Here’s how it went.

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Registration and Briefing

Stepping into the ZIPCITY Macau departure office, we were immediately greeted with bright neon signs and décor that reminded me of a sleek ‘cyberpunk’ foundry atmosphere. I approached the front desk and let the staff know of my appointment.

After a short explanation of the ride and some light-hearted conversation, I signed the electronic safety waiver and received a little band around my wrist in return.

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I was outfitted with a blue helmet and a harness that looped around both of my legs – collecting my weight at the hips. A small block rested on my belt, which was explained to me as where the camera would be attached - more on that later.

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The ziplining instructor walked me through how to sit and place my hands during the flight, with my harness clipped to a dummy line. Essentially, I was practising how to sit on a swing, pulling my weight down to my buttocks despite being strapped in through the thighs. Once I got the basics down and proved to myself that I wasn’t about to be a liability, we got ready to head up.

Going Up

We were then escorted by a lovely staff member, Heidi, and the zip line instructor to board one of two elevators that reached the departing platform. The ride up was longer than expected and I was brimming with anticipation, 60 meters up was starting to feel like lightyears away.

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As we reached the grated departure platform, we caught a clear view of the Lisboeta scenery, a landscape that I was soon to a part of. I recalled what the zip line instructor had told me and took a few deep breaths to calm myself down. Heidi had advised me with a reassuring smile to look far and wide, instead of directly below.

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After being secured onto the line, I was told to ‘sit’ on my harness like I had done during the practice and let my feet dangle. As I inched closer to the edge, I could feel myself being held back by a clipped rope behind me. “We’re going to play some music to send you off” I remember hearing, and the next thing I heard was a booming, bass-filled countdown.

Taking Flight

…Three. Two. One. I shut my eyes and felt my body lurch forward. Gravity eased me down the line slower than I had expected, before gathering speed as I continued to cascade down the line.

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The wind picked up. My hands and face tingled at the touch of the crisp breeze. I began to slowly rotate on the line to face the instructor, Heidi, and my co-worker, who had a half-horrified half-gleeful expression on her face, camera in hand.

As they grew smaller, my focus shifted on peering out as far as I could – with my eyeline touching the ends of Macau. I looked at all the little buildings, and the neighbouring tall buildings, imagining what I must have looked like to the ant-sized people below.

I continued to rotate on an axel – as if the line was guiding me on where to look. I felt like a camera slow-panning in a circle, soaking up the foreground of my legs and my sweater flapping in the breeze, and then the far-far-background of an entire city carrying below and around me.

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As I continued to pick up speed, I decided to take my hands off the seat-handle for a split second to see what it felt like. What was somewhere between a 1-to-2-minute flight seemed to go in slow-motion, and I could really revel in the fact that I was... flying!

With only a few meters left to the landing platform, I prepared myself for the break mechanism – which was explained to me as ‘a bit of a jolt’. Bracing, I swung to a stop before I was slowly reeled in by the staff on the other side.

Landing and Post-Flight Adrenaline

As soon as my feet made contact with the landing platform – I felt a tinge of mourning at the fact that I was, unfortunately, born flightless. A part of me wanted to go again, but I also didn’t want to cheapen the almost spiritual revelation I had just experienced.

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I made my rendezvous with everyone on the lower arrival shop, which showcased ZIPCITY branded T-shirts, water bottles, hats, and more. After taking my gear off and shopping with our eyes for a little bit, we bid a cheerful farewell to ZIPCITY Macau.

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Not even 10 minutes after we had left the venue, I received a ping on my phone and opened my email inbox. There sat a Dropbox link to the footage and images that ZIPCITY Macau had thoughtfully curated for me to keep. The camera stick attached to the little brick on my waist had caught me among the clouds, going as far as the edit the whole flight footage with music and wide shots. I could even download high-definition stills from my time in the sky. Even if I never flew again, at least I could always revisit this memory of having flown once before.

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