Bungee jumping is a simple concept, so it may surprise you to know it wasn’t invented until 1979. The first jumpers were in England and ended up getting jailed for what was then an illegal stunt. However, it didn’t really pick up steam until the 1980s in New Zealand, when an entrepreneur named A.J. Hackett began commercializing the sport. His company still owns and operates some of the world’s tallest bungee jumps, but they’ve spread across the globe. Hackett is known for being the first person to jump from some of the world’s tallest bungee jumps, including the Eiffel Tower (which you’re not allowed to bungee off, by the way) and Macau Tower.
In the last 40 or so years the sport has exploded in popularity, likely because it combines an extreme thrill with accessibility — you don’t need any experience or particular skill to bungee jump. You’ll be able to find a place to bungee jump almost anywhere in the world, whether you’re in Las Vegas or Laos. And while any free fall will probably feel like you’re dropping thousands of feet, the world’s tallest bungee jumps offer something different: a few extra seconds of free fall, and the insane bragging rights that come with leaping into pure nothingness.
Check out some of the world’s tallest bungee jumps below. And don’t worry — they’re almost entirely safe.
Lake Taupō, New Zealand
It’s not anywhere near the world’s tallest bungee jump, but it’s definitely only of the world’s most beautiful — oh, and most daring, since every jump ends with a dip into the lake. That’s right — you’ll dip below the surface before (quickly) popping back up at the end of your jump. It’s 154 feet above the water.
Niouc Bridge, Switzerland
At 623 feet tall, the Niouc Bridge is the tallest bridge in Switzerland. But what makes it an epic place to bungee — aside from the views, of course — is that you’re jumping off a suspension bridge, not a fixed structure. So if you were hoping to feel secure and stable before making the jump, think again. The bungee operator is open summer and fall only, starting in April.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia
(Jump starts at 1:50) It’s not the world’s tallest bungee jump, but it may be the only place where you can bungee jump and not know exactly what country you’re in. Victoria Falls is on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and you’ll jump off the bridge that crosses it. You’ll jump around 300 feet and free fall for about four seconds.
Verzasca Dam, Switzerland
If the Verzasca Dam looks familiar, it may be thanks to 1995’s GoldenEye in which James Bond himself leapt off the top. Now, anyone can make a similar jump for around $300 USD. The top of the dam is about 720 feet above the bottom, so safe to say, your drop will be less than that — but you’ll still fall for a full seven seconds.
Volcano Bungee: Pucón, Chile
While it’s not the world’s tallest bungee jump, you can’t make a list of extreme bungees and not include this one. Not only will you jump from a helicopter, but you’ll jump directly toward the opening of an active volcano. At just under $16,000, the six-day package is quite pricey, but it does include several other outdoor adventures and your food and lodging.
Rio Grande Bridge: New Mexico
With a 600-ish foot drop, bungee jumping off the Rio Grande Bridge is the longest bungee fall you can take in the US. The bridge is 680 feet above the canyon below and because jumping off the bridge is highly regulated, it’s expensive — around $500 per person. But it may be worth it for serious jumpers. Bungee Expeditions is the local outfitter.
Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa
At 708 feet above sea level, there was a time when the Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa was the world’s tallest bungee jump. While it’s been bested, it’s still among the tallest. It’s fairly affordable at under $100, too.
(Jump starts at 1:40) While it doesn’t technically count as bungee jumping because of the mechanism used (you’re on a device that slows you as you fall, as opposed to a traditional bungee), it’s still a heck of a rush. You’ll drop 829 feet off the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. It costs around $145, and they offer a 20 percent “liquid courage” discount that includes a free shot if you dive during happy hour midweek (3-5 PM).
Macau Tower: Macau
At just over 764 feet, a leap off Macau Tower was the world’s tallest bungee jump until 2018. It’ll set you back MOP $2,888, or around $357 USD, to do a midweek jump. That includes a certificate of completion and a T-shirt, but if you want photos or videos of the experience, it’ll cost anywhere from $50 to $340 USD extra. You can also do a nighttime bungee in the winter.
Zhangjiajie Bridge: China
Called the Zhangjiajie Bridge but better known as the “glass bridge,” this impressive structure crosses the “Grand Canyon of China.” And because it has a glass bottom, you’ll see the bottom of the canyon nearly 1,000 feet below very clearly. It claims to be the world’s tallest bungee jump (as do many on this list), but this one actually is, with a drop of 853 feet. And the scenery isn’t too shabby, either.
The first version of this article was originally published on October 15, 2012 and has since been updated to reflect current records.