Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010, Day 353 - Chiang Mai, Day Five

We had a super early day today. Having retrieved Manuel from his volunteering with the elephants it was decided that if he wasn't too tired we would try a day of zip-line adventuring with Flight of the Gibbons.

At a little after six o'clock we were picked up and taken at breakneck speed back up into the mountains. Upon arrival we were fitted with harness and helmet then back into the van for a short ride to our starting point. Down a winding set of stairs cut into the stone we made our way to a wooden platform where we were given a two minute safety talk and then one-by-one clipped to a steel cable leading off into the jungle.

The primate namesake of the company with a baby.

A view of the jungle we would be zipping through.

A typical platform.

Can you see the distant platform at the end of the line?

We flew from one tree to the next, each engirdled with a small deck that could barely fit all eleven people including our two guides. The trees were strung with additional safety lines to which we were clipped until it was our turn to zoom off to the next tree. Some lines were short, others long and the angles varied, some so steep there were nets to keep us from flying face-first into the trees that anchored the lines.

Brad is zooming!

One of our heroic guides.

The safety net with one of our guides to catch you in case you're out of control at the end of this long steep line.

Just to give you a sense of scale...

Some trees were connected by sky bridges.

One tree even had an Elvandar-line set of stairs spiraling around it.

The same tree viewed from the other end of the zip line.

Over thirty platforms and hours later we abseiled a couple hundred feet out of our final tree to the jungle floor where we were given water and a moment to rest before heading back toward our starting point. They provided us with a bit of lunch and then took us further up the mountain to a spectacular waterfall reachable only by climbing what seemed like an endless number of incredibly steep stairs.

The sunlight filtering through the canopy on our final descent to the jungle floor.


The start of the waterfall.

Huge banana plants!

And for all of the arachnophobes.

Then we rebounded the van and went hurdling down the mountain again and into Chiang Mai. After arriving we rested in our room for a while before Brad and Manuel headed off to an afternoon of pampering at a spa whereas I went into the city to do a little bit of Christmas shopping to make up for my absence.

Bank account suitably diminished and being the worse for wear from the early morning I headed back to our accommodations to have dinner and call it an early night. Tomorrow we're going on another bike excursion. I do hope it is better than our rather unspectacular trip in Bangkok.


  1. OK...I was all set to say this is what I want to do...and then I saw the spider! Thanks Jeff!