Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge, China
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Inspired by the beauty of nature, Israeli architect Haim Dotan purposefully designed the world’s longest and highest glass bridge to essentially disappear in the face of the surrounding scenic canyon of Zhangjiajie, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge comprises 99 panes of triple-layered transparent glass and stretches almost 430 metres across, connecting two cliffs and is suspended a staggering 300 metres above the canyon below.
Sydney Tower Eye Skywalk, Australia
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This observation deck in the city centre will let you capture the Coathanger smack, bang in the middle of your panoramic Sydney Harbour photographs. The 45-minute Skywalk tour includes a journey onto two glass-floored viewing platforms so you can look almost 300 metres down onto the city when you’re finished soaking up vistas across the horizon.
Emirates Spinnaker Tower, England
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A spin on the London Eye is probably on your bucket-list but if heights are your thrill-seeking weakness, there’s a lesser-known rival just an hour and a half south of the capital. Spinnaker Tower, which looms over Portsmouth Harbour, stands at 170 metres – a full 40 metres taller than London’s glass Ferris wheel equivalent. The glass-floor viewing deck, sitting at 100 metres above sea level, is not for the faint-hearted.
Langkawi SkyCab, Malaysia
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Stretching across the 550-million-year-old Machinchang Range on Malaysia’s Langkawi Island, this gondola ride gives visitors panoramic views over part of the island’s UNESCO-listed Global Geopark. Look down – way down – while riding a gondola with a glass bottom for a completely different perspective of the ancient flora 708 metres below.
Market Square Tower Pool, USA
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Hanging a seemingly precarious 40 floors above downtown Houston, the swimming pool at residential apartment block Market Square Tower is not for the timid. There’s only a 20-centimetre plexiglass panel between you and a 152-metre drop – an illusion so gut-wrenching, it’s certain to plunge acrophobics into a frenzy.
Bicheno’s glass bottom boat, Australia
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Glass-bottomed boats might be associated with technicolour coral reefs but this Tasmanian vessel gives a unique insight into the depths off the state’s east coast. Busy schools of mullet, ethereal Lion’s Mane jellyfish and silky stingrays are just some of the creatures you can expect to spot making their way through the green-tinged water, as well as seafaring objects that have come to rest on the ocean floor.
Tokyo Skytree, Japan
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Japan’s Tokyo Skytree is 350 metres tall and if you ascend to Floor 340, you’ll get to see exactly how high up you’ve travelled. Twenty stories short of the top Tembo Deck, six square metres of the floor are constructed from reinforced rectangular glass panels so you can gaze at the teeny cars scurrying along that far away road down on the ground.
Oneeighty Pool, Indonesia
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Taking a dip at a great height seems an impossible feat but not if you’ve checked into Bali’s oneeighty° in Uluwatu. At the precipice of the hotel’s cliff top club called, fittingly, The Edge, six metres of the inbuilt pool extends out into the air, dangling swimmers 150 metres over the roaring Indian Ocean.
Step into the Void, France
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This attraction is all about the drama. Known as Step into the Void, the Aiguille du Midi Skywalk in the Chamonix Valley, France, encourages iron-stomached adventurers to do just that. This glass box – three glass walls, a glass roof and a glass ceiling – gives unrivalled views of some of the continent’s snowiest and highest peaks. Don’t fear if there’s a snowstorm raging around you – the cube’s 12-millimetre panels are made from three layers of glass and are built to hold up against 220-kilometre-per-hour winds.
Adelphi Hotel pool, Australia
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Look skyward next time you’re strolling down Melbourne’s Flinders Lane and you might spot the shadowy outline of an Adelphi Hotel guest enjoying a plunge in this sky-high swimming spot. A rectangle of sparkling glass, supported by three red beams, juts over the edge of the hotel’s ninth floor so that freestylers can tumble-turn above the city when they reach the end of their lap. Image credit: Nagarjun Kandukuru (CC BY 2.0)
Grand Canyon skywalk, USA
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Though it’s worth journeying to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the Skywalk at Eagle Park is an essential pit stop on any visit to this natural wonder. The horseshoe-shaped platform is positioned more than one kilometre above the floor of the canyon and extends 20 metres from its rust-coloured edges. And if you think that’s scary, spare a thought for the workers who dangle on ropes below the structure to periodically clean it.
East Taiheng Glasswalk, China
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As if braving a transparent walkway 350 metres above the ground isn’t frightening enough, the minds behind the mountain-clinging East Taiheng Glasswalk in China’s Hubei Provence have a rather cruel sense of humour. As you make your way across the stomach-churning path, a series of ‘cracks’ form underneath your feet, leading you to think you’re seconds away from plummeting to the earth. Our advice? If you can’t keep your nerve, try to keep a sense of humour.
Ngong Ping 360 cable car, China
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Stationed on Lantau Island off the coast of Hong Kong, this cable car leaves from Tung Chung, stops on Airport Island and climbs 5.7 kilometres towards the Ngong Ping plateau. Book a crystal cabin and you’ll get uninterrupted views of Tung Chung Bay and the verdant expanse of Lantau North Country Park below.
The Edge, Eureka Tower, Australia
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After you’ve made it all the way up to Skydeck 88 – the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere – you can jump inside The Edge, a glass cube that slowly slides out from the building proper, placing you a terrifying 300 metres above the city. If your palms aren’t sweating, you ain’t human.
The Heights, USA
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What’s in a name? A hint to its most notable feature, as far as this Manhattan bar is concerned. More than 30 floors up from East 31st Street, Arlo NoMad’s rooftop watering hole serves cocktails with a side of scenery – towards the edge of the bar’s balcony, the concrete floor gives way to a stunning glass floor, revealing a bird’s-eye view of a bustling New York street.
Great Barrier Reef boats, Australia
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Not up for snorkelling? Then steal a glorious glimpse of the colourful underwater party going on beneath your feet. Scores of tour companies offer excursions on these see-through ships; some allow you to jump off for a swim and others will let you simply recline and watch the sea get about its fishy business below. Just remember not to panic if a curious reef shark bumps the glass with his nose – he definitely can’t get in.
Coiling Dragon Cliff walkway, China
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Think walking along a path 300 metres above the ground and perched on the side of a cliff is the ceiling of scary? Well, you’d be wrong. The Coiling Dragon Cliff walkway that swirls around Tianmen Mountain in Hunan Province, China, is also made of glass so brave trekkers get a direct view of the valley below. But at 1.6 metres wide, there’s enough room to hold hands with a walking buddy who will calm your nerves.
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You’ll have to specifically request to be spooked into height-induced vertigo at this heart-racing attraction. The John Hancock Building, rising more than 300 metres above the metropolis of Chicago, has a section that ‘tilts’ visitors from a vertical to horizontal position, slowly dipping eight brave souls at a time into a forward falling position, giving unmatched views of the city.