Chiang Mai is one of the most relaxed places you could hope to visit. The Old City has a very chilled-out vibe, making it easy to unwind and slip into an easy pace of life with no worries. But does that mean visiting Chiang Mai is just about slow-paced days spent by your resort pool or leisurely strolling around markets? Definitely not.
When we’re travelling, Matt and I love to try out adventure activities wherever we can. It’s always a great way to make a really cool memory about the place you’re visiting and do something a bit out of the ordinary. When we got to Chiang Mai we couldn’t wait to get out to Flight of the Gibbon headquarters and get stuck into it, zip lining through the treetops of the Thai jungle. Let me assure you, it did not disappoint!
What is Flight of the Gibbon?
It is a zip line course set deep in the Thai rainforest with some 5km’s of zip lines to play on, including the longest zip line in Asia at 800 metres (1/2 mile). There are 33 different platform stations and 3 hanging sky bridges and 2 rappel descents to try out too. You get to do a little bit of hiking and the knowledgeable guides will teach you about wildlife and vegetation along the course. There’s also a chance to see Gibbons in the wild!
How does it work?
You book yourself in and the team organise a pick-up for you at your Chiang Mai hotel or resort. They collect you between 6:30am and 7am and drive 55 minutes to Gibbon HQ, being shown a safety video along the way. Once you arrive you fill out your personal details form then get strapped into a harness, helmet and all the other gear you need. You jump back in the car and drive out to the start point where the guides take you through a second safety instruction, showing you what to do and what not to do.
After the safety instruction is complete you clip onto the first zip line and get underway! Before you know it, you’re buzzing through the treetops, hooting and yahooing, with a huge smile plastered across your face.
Is it safe?
There’s a chance you may have concerns. Maybe images of a really run-down course show up in your mind, you could even be picturing the zip line course to be a few vines strung up between trees and the guides to be little kids. Flight of the Gibbon is none of those things!
While I can’t guarantee anyone’s safety, I can say that felt completely safe the entire day. There wasn’t a time where I was uncomfortable or felt like the guides weren’t looking out for me. Their attention to detail, experience and attentiveness made it easy to relax. The lines, to me, looked to be in excellent condition and I never had moment where I felt afraid for my safety. It was all extremely professional and well thought out.
Whizzing through the treetops like a jungle King
After the first few zips you start to get your confidence up and instead of clinging onto the rope for dear life, you start to relax into it. Before you know it you’re flinging your arms into the air and really getting into it.
Aside from the straight zip lines there are a few others too and the guides find ways to make fun. There are two lines where you’re clipped in with your friend and zip along tandem, there’s also a superman zip line where you dive off, clipped to the line by the harness at your back. The guides have a bit of fun with it too, making some of the shorter lines really fun (I won’t ruin it for you by telling you what they do).
I also really liked how there was other stuff too, not just the zip lines. There are two stations where you rappel down, some really cool bridges you walk over and you get to do a little bit of hiking too. It really breaks it up nicely and keeps things interesting.
After you’ve conquered the jungle
Once you’re finished you jump back in the car and head back to Gibbon HQ. They have photographers along the course so you can buy your images for a few dollars if you like. Then you head across the road to lunch at a local restaurant, including in your booking, which is really delicious!
Afterward you get back in the car and take a short drive to a local village of a few houses. Your guide will show you the trades of the locals and you’re able to buy a few things if you wish, but there’s no pressure on you. After spending some time talking to the locals and wandering through their village you head up to the Mae Kampong Falls, which is a short hike away. Then it’s back in the car and back to your hotel.
For me, the proof was in the look on my face all day. I had a huge smile across my face all day and could not stop laughing and smiling. On some of the lines I just couldn’t help but let out an excited hoot, it was so much fun you just can’t help but yell out with joy and excitement. The entire day energised me, especially our wonderful guides who made everything fun and interesting for us, while keeping us safe and comfortable. It was a fantastic day and a great travel memory for us.
Flight of the Gibbon is definitely something I would recommend as a must-do for people visiting Chiang Mai. The whole day goes from about 6:30am to 3pm and by the end of it you’re pretty tired and in need of a nap, which is a great feeling! There’s no previous experience necessary and age isn’t a factor either, we had a huge range of ages in our group which made it even more fun. It was definitely a Chiang Mai highlight for me!