Needing to experience as much as possible in Chiang Mai I signed up for a one day trip for The Flight of the Gibbon. It was advertised as
"The Ride of Your Life" and certainly lives up to its name, in fact the advertising was a little understated as I have never had such an awesome experience in my life! The day started for me at 9am when a brand new VIP minibus picked me up from my hotel in Chiang Mai (The Centara - very good value) and drove me to the rainforest in the mountains just outside Chiang Mai in about 50 minutes. The road was good but quite windy. The short drive took us to an altitude of 1,300m, the first thing I noticed as I stepped out from the van was how cool it was - crisp and fresh. The second thing was the village of Mae Kompong - I have travelled extensively in Thailand and have never seen a village so clean and pretty, all the houses were brimming with flowers.
We had a cup of organic fresh coffee and we were kitted out with our safety harnesses and off to start our adventure!
The guides (two of them) went thru the safety procedures, basically we had to be clipped in at all times to the safety cables by one or both of the two safety lines we had attached to our harnesses. We had a rather funky bamboo brake and a state of the art running gear which was attached to a thick steel cable which ran from the valley floor to a gigantic old tree some way of in the distance. The guide let us go and we were off, zipping into the dense forest canopy. We then had an extraordinary 2km journey using these zip lines and skybridges, sometimes abseilling down from mighty 1,500 year old trees. The whole experience was more than cool - we saw plenty of wildlife and lots of flowers that would not be possible to see from ground level.
The whole route we followed a river which was providing us with breathtaking views and great noise as it tumbled over the rocks.
After the ride was over they took us to a great old Thai restaurant in the village where we had "no choice lunch" Absolutely delicous! Followed by a quick look round the village, we saw basket weaving, massage and some other stuff.
I was now looking forward to the waterfall trek, it turned out to be an easy walk up beside a gushing fall, there were seven levels or pools which would be great to swim and splash about in but it was a bit too cold for me.
I thoroughly reccomend this trip to anyone - it was great. The cost was 1900 baht including pick up from my hotel and I saw many agents advertising it although one of my fellow" Fliers " said they booked on the internet and paid less than me, but I don't Know about that.
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