Day 4 in Chiang Mai was the day when the sense of adventure that M and I possess kicked in, and the activity, the Flight of the Gibbon was so exhilarating and so so much fun, that it deserves its own post, so I can jabber on while I tell you all about it.
First off, this is one of the items that should be on every traveller to Thailand’s “to do list”, and secondly, this was made famous as one of the activities that the contestants in the Amazing Race Asia had to do. Okay – curious yet?
Flight of the Gibbon is a ziplining, skybridge walking and abseiling adventure that takes place under the canopies of the 1500 year old Thai Forest, in Chonburi, about 45 minutes away from Chiang Mai, where you can swing through the forest from tree to tree like the namesake Gibbons do.
We booked our trip from the hotel, however you can do so directly on www.treetopsasia.com. I promise you, it is worth your entire trip to Chiang Mai. They come and pick you from the hotel, and you can have a morning adventure or an afternoon adventure. Thankfully, we had the sense to book an afternoon adventure, given that we were shattered from the trip to Chiang Rai the day before.
On arrival at the headquarters, we took a brief trek up to the Mae Kampong waterfall
…then went back to be strapped in (very securely I might add, with a helmet and a safety harness) and given a briefing on the “how to’s” and the “what not to do’s”, and then off we went, to the first zipline. The first one being a short one is over before it starts, but is necessary to give you a feel of what ziplining entails. In one word -Wow. What a feeling! The adrenaline kicks in as you glide off the platform and literally soar…but you do have to remember to slow down towards the end of the line using a brake that closely resembles a catapult (hopefully they now have better technology to help you brake)!!!!
There are over 5 km of zip lines woven through the jungle, with the longest one taking about 2 minutes to soar from one platform to another, 2 sky bridges and 2 abseils, with the last descent being the “longest”. We zip lined for about 3 hours. If this is what gibbons feel like when they swing from tree to tree – well, the feeling is indescribable. Being up above the canopy, looking down onto the floor of the forest (all the while being safely strapped up) is almost akin to being a bird – feeling free while the wind gushes around you.
The adventure sadly, though 3 hours long comes to an end too soon. I would certainly encourage people to try it out, it is an adventure of a lifetime. (and no, I am not employed or paid by Flight of the Gibbon to advertise their adventure, this is a purely personal experience and opinion). At the end of the adventure, you do get fed with what I would like to believe is authentic Thai cuisine, served at the site in some beat up dishes but the hot food tastes so so awesome after the adrenaline of this adventure, and as it gets cold in Chonburi at night, the cuisine hits the spot.