Monday, 28 March 2011

Jungle Monkeys

One of the labels that I certainly wouldn’t apply to Jules and myself would be ‘thrill seekers’, but while in Chiang Mai we were tempted by what they call the ‘jungle flight’ experience. Early on a fine and sunny morning we were picked up and driven for an hour outside of town, high into the local mountains. We were around 1000 metres above sea level when the car stopped in a tiny village. There we were met by our instructors, who provided us with a harness and helmet ready to ‘fly’ between the tallest of trees in the forest. This involved hanging by our harness from a series of ‘zip lines’ and flying through the air between a course of wooden platforms or stations. After trekking on foot further into the jungle, we could hear the hoots and screams of other people who were already on the course. They were either loving it or having the fright of their life, we weren’t quite sure! After a quick safety briefing we were handed one important final piece of equipment …a hooked wooden stick! The theory was that when you were flying along at high speed, around 20 metres above the ground, this would act as your brake upon reaching the on coming tree. In the chaos of high-speed flight, you would quickly hook the stick over the cable and pull down hard with the effect of slowing you down. We were soon about to test the theory and to my surprise Jules opted to go first, jumping bravely off the platform as if she had done it a thousand times before. As we advanced, the stations became more and more challenging, coinciding with our growing confidence and we were soon flying through the lush forest like a couple of monkeys. While this was all good fun for us, our guide also pointed out that this tourist activity provided much needed support to the local villagers, who were not only employed by the company, but also paid an annual rent for the trees selected for the various stations. The whole operation appeared to be very eco-friendly with the course sitting naturally within the environment, allowing the natural habitat to continue to flourish. As we finished the final steep ascent we felt a sense of satisfaction that we had not only managed to conquer our nerves, but in an adventurous way had the opportunity to look deep into the jungles of Chiang Mai. Later, sitting back in the tiny village and eating the delicious Thai lunch that was provided, we could brag of our exploits with the other tourists and count ourselves as true jungle thrill seekers.

1 comment:

  1. That looks like great fun. I am kinda surprised though. i didn't think that would be your sort of thing, but good on ya' for doing it. I'm jealous.