I have previously spoken about my times participating in some blood pumping activities while travelling around South East Asia. The first two I’ve written about can be found here Taking my breath away and here A wonder filled world. This last piece is about the first of our hair raising adventures.
It was our last day in Thailand before we had to meet up with our travel group doing the G Adventures tour of Cambodia and Vietnam and so we boarded the tuk tuks with all of our belongings. To say they were cramped is an understatement but we only had ourselves and our heavy packing to blame. We weaved through the city of Bangkok headed towards a little hotel where we would board a bus to take us out of town and into the Thai Jungle. Our bus driver didn’t speak much English so we just assumed this was the right place to be and we waited for the rest of the people to join us. Once the Chinese family had joined us we were on our way. The trip to the park was long and boring and the traffic of Bangkok didn’t make it any easier on us. We were under a time crunch as it were to be able to get back into town before the group meeting at 6pm that night. Entering into that meeting late is a story for another time.
After a solid hour in the back of this mini bus playing all sorts of ridiculous games we arrived at the Khao Kheow Open Safari in the Chonburi province. I am not a huge fan of zoos in any form and truth be told I wasn’t even aware this was part of our tour. The zoo itself wasn’t spatially inept so the animals seemed fine and all the larger animals – mainly African – were in open space habitats so that was nice to see and the highlight was by far the feeding of the giraffes. Never the less I was excited to hear lunch was provided (not as excited as the animals in the below pictures) and we’d soon be moving onto bigger, more humane things.
Lunch was lovely, a traditional Thai dish (for the love of me I can’t remember what it was) over looking a beautiful lake that had all sorts of activity sets built into it. It was pretty clear that if zip lining wasn’t your thing then the park probably had something for everyone else. After lunch we found ourselves full and signing waivers before beginning our adventure. You hop back on the bus to go a little off road in order to wind your way up the mountain and from there it’s a hike by foot into the jungle where you are met by rather confident looking Thai men, four of whom turned out to be our guides for the day. I do not remember their names and come to think of it I don’t know if we were even given them. Nevertheless, they strapped us into our harnesses and explained the rules, thankfully their English was superb.
I have to say we looked rather swanky in our get ups and thankfully they had one that fit me. Once everyone was safely set up they led us up the mountain. I don’t want to brag but us four aussies blitzed even the guides up the hill and we definitely gave Australians a good reputation – either that or they think we walk up far too many mountains. We started to realise half way up the hill that we would be seriously high up once we started zip lining down into the jungle, and I remember the nerves kicking in just a little. They didn’t last long as our guides were truly fantastic about keeping the energy high and everyone relaxed. Honestly they were the true highlight of the whole thing and without them the experience would have lost something special. They definitely received a handsome tip from all four of us.
Once we got began zip lining the nerves were replaced by awe. It was both exhilarating and amazing being able to hang from the tree tops and see the beauty of Thailand all around you. Make no mistake though we were high above the ground and if you chose to look down to sake your curiosity your stomach tended to remind you just why you shouldn’t do that. I have since found out that it’s the highest zip lining course in the world. Quite the achievement! We had to tip toe around one platform as they discovered a poisonous snake hiding under the boards, and the guides found it hilarious to tell you as you leapt off the platforms that they either hadn’t strapped you in properly, or that they were cutting the cord on you and to say bye – like I said, they were truly fantastic guys and I didn’t think it possible to make people laugh in such a dangerous spot, but they did it consistently.
You zip through 8 km worth of jungle, from tree to tree, until eventually you wind yourself back at the guide centre. All in all it takes up to about 2 hours to complete, possibly a little more, but if you have a day to yourself in Bangkok and feel like something a little more exciting than the Golden Mount or the Paragon complex I have to say this was worth every cent. We bought it as part of the Adrenaline bundle offered by G Adventures, but I’m sure you can find yourself some affordable prices if you look into it. Give it a go, you won’t regret it for a second! Just make sure you tip the guides at the end, they don’t work for much but they’re worth far more than their wage.