China tourists take a leap in world's highest bungy jump


WULINGYUAN, China, July 30 (Reuters) - Straddled between two cliffs in China's Hunan province, a 430-meter glass-bottomed suspension bridge offers the world's highest bungy jump from a footbridge.

Visitors to the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge can take a leap from a height of 260 meters, a stomach-churning way to take in the views of the surrounding Wulingyuan wilderness, a UNSECO World Heritage site.

The area, a popular international tourist attraction, is famous for its quartzite sandstone pillars and peaks extending into the clouds, along with deep ravines and gorges.

The bungy jumping operation opened at the end of 2020, delayed by restrictions imposed by the Chinese government because of the coronavirus pandemic, which included some of the world's toughest border restrictions.

Operator Jonni Deaker said business had been building slowly as domestic tourists began to return to the region.

"We are probably averaging twenty jumps a day at the moment, which is pretty good for a jump this size," Deaker said, adding he was confident of a solid July-August holiday season.

To compensate for the lack of foreign tourists, the cost of a jump has been cut by around 40% to RMB 1998 (roughly US$306).

The pedestrian bridge, designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan and opened in August 2016, was once the longest glass-bottomed suspension bridge in the world.

Jumping into the abyss below might be terrifying for some, but Deaker believes the sheer height makes it less intimidating than smaller jumps.

"Because it's so high, it actually makes it easier", Deaker said. "When you're this high, it's kind of like skydiving."

Reporting By Mark Chisholm; editing by Jane Wardell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.