When you get to a very high place, you see things from a different perspective. We are not talking about the high you have in mind but we searched for the most stratospheric spots across the globe. All destinations require some nerve of steel. Some may require a credit card, some special equipment, and some places a dose of whatever so you will not have vertigo.
Burj Khalifa (Dubai)
We have to start our journey from the tallest building in the world. From the Burj Khalifa, you can see the sunset twice. Watch the sun go down while you are on the ground then take one of the super fast elevators to zoom you up 2,625 feet and you will be able to watch the sun as it is swallowed by the horizon.
The Burj Khalifa opened as 2010 kicked off and its 160 floors is almost a thousand feet higher than the Taipei 101. The price tag of this skyscraper is also sky scraping at $1.5 billion.
The place was first labeled as Burj Dubai but after Sheikh Khalifa of Abu Dhabi injected some funds into the shaky economy of Dubai, the place was renamed to pay homage.
If you cannot wait for the first Armani Hotel that will open in Burj Khalifa this year, you can book a room at The Palace in the Old Town of Dubai. You will have a stunning view of the Burj Khalifa from this hotel resembling Dubai’s traditional village.
Grand Canyon Skywalk (Arizona, USA)
Walking on a three inch U-shaped glass platform is not something for the faint of heart. The Skywalk at the Eagle Point of Grand Canyon in Arizona churns everything you have in your guts at 4,000 feet when you look through the strengthened glass and see the Colorado River.
The Skywalk was a concept of the Hualapai tribe, a group of Native Americans, to attract tourists to the less visited portion of the Grand Canyon. The path is open from the wee hours of the morning until about dusk. They can allow 120 pairs of brave shaking legs to go over the rim of the cliff via the walkway at a time.
You do not need to worry though since the Skywalk is designed for safety with about 71 million pounds holding it to the ground and battling winds of around 100 miles per hour. You will be given some shoe covers to protect the glass floor. If you can not handle it, you might as well ask for a parachute.
There are lodges you can rent near the canyon but if you want to roll and live the life, you can stay in Las Vegas which is just around 120 miles away or about 60 minutes of helicopter ride.
Millau Bridge (France)
Maybe the French people were not in the mood to form a line as traffic gets heavy in their A75 so they decided to build the highest bridge for vehicles in the world to link the main artery of traffic to the southern portion of France.
The Millau Viaduct was designed by Norman Foster who made use of seven monstrous piers to build the bridge at 1,125 feet over the Tarn Valley or imagine yourself 63 feet higher than the Eiffel Tower. The cables of the structure resemble rigs of big ships.
It is quite ironic how the Millau Bridge became a tourist attraction when it was first thought of to speed up the traffic. It will cost you around $9 from July through August to cross the bridge. It can be a lot cheaper during winter. You can also be ala Lance Armstrong but we recommend that you take the bridge from the South going North so you will enjoy a bit of slope.
You can stay at the Chateau D’Ayres, a 17th century structure just 25 miles from the bridge. It will be a good base so you can explore the valley, the cliffs, and the gorges in the Massif Central of France.
Bloukrans Bridge (South Africa)
If being atop a very high structure is not enough for you, try jumping from the highest bridge in South Africa. The Bloukrans Bridge in Eastern Cape is home to the highest bungee jump in the world.
Walking under the span of the bridge to the launch point is really nerve wracking. You might be better off at the observation deck and enjoy a drink if you can not handle the vertigo that may come with the experience. Jumping from the base will take you about 8 seconds to complete the 210 feet drop before being hurled up back by the rope. Just pray that the rope will snap and you will still have your lunch in your tummy when you get back up.
While thinking of jumping off the Bloukrans, you can stay at The Plettenberg which is around 40 minutes away. You can enjoy the great view of the Formosa Bay from one of the 38 rooms of the hotel. It is also a perfect vantage point for whale watching.
Try to focus your eyes on that white scratch looking in the middle of the picture below. Yes that’s the rope with a crazy soul at the end. Notice that you really never go free fall and will not be touching the waters of the river below.
360 Degree Bar & Dining (Australia)
The 360 Bar & Dining on top of the Sydney Tower in Australia is the highest dining experience you can enjoy in the southern hemisphere at more than 1,000 feet from the ground. The design of the restaurant was recently revamped adding to the worthwhile view of the city, the Harbour Bridge, and the Sydney Opera House.
When you book at the fine dining level one, you will also be distracted by the gastronomic delights coming in plate after plate. Enjoy the champagne granite served with the succulent oysters from Tasmania or the harissa infused tataki of tuna.
If you want to burn some calories before taking in some good cooking, you can take the 1,504 steps up to the restaurant. Believe it or not they actually have an annual race for this with the current record set at below seven minutes. Of course, you can always take the very fast elevators which can bring you to the 360 Bar in just 40 seconds.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Course (China)
The battle for the highest golf course in the world is also fierce. Before, there was the Mount Tuctu Golf Club located 14,335 feet above the soils of Peru but this facility was never a hit because players have had enough after the thin air of the first nine holes. In Bolivia, there is the La Paz Golf Club going strong at 10,800 feet.
This one in China is about 10,000 feet high but we stamp it as a winner because of its great name (imagining the legendary Bruce Lee swinging the golf clubs ? ). Aside from the great view of snow capped mountains, the Jade Dragon has also one of the longest golf course in the world with 8,548 yards. Golf hazard here means sand bunker, water hazard, and cloud cover.
You can stay at the Banyan Tree in Lijiang which is just 1.5 hours away from the Yunnan Province. You will enjoy the luxury villas and private pavilions with gardens and pools offered by this hotel and spa facility.
Luna Runtun (Ecuador)
Can you imagine relaxing in the highest spa facility in the world? The Luna Runtun in Baños, Ecuador is 13,000 feet high and you will literally be relaxing on top of mountains.
The name of the place literally translates to Moon Fortress and is said to be the hip party place for an Inca emperor about half a millennium ago. The Luna Runtun today is a place for nature lovers and those who want to engage in activities like forest trekking, river rafting, hiking, and mountain biking.
We must not forget, the spa lies on Tungurahua which is considered to be an active volcano that spits lava and tantrums once in while. These natural activities are also the center of treatment at the spa where your masseur will use volcanic ash, salt, mud, or clay for treatment.
Luna Runtun offers a 30-room hotel that features a great view of the Llanganates National Park, the town, or the great volcano.
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