If you have a few days in Chiang Mai and you want to get out of the city and do something a little bit different and a little bit adventurous, the Flight of the Gibbon Zip-lining experience might be just what you’re looking for.
After almost a week and a half enjoying Chiang Mai, we thought we should head out and see some of the surrounding countryside. The Flight of the Gibbon Zip-lining experience is ideal for this because it takes place high up in the trees in a rainforest outside of Chiang Mai.
Flight of the Gibbon will pick you up from your hotel (or Airbnb apartment in our case) in a minivan with the rest of your group. The drive up into the rainforest takes around an hour or so depending on traffic. Just before you reach the reception centre you change minivans for the final few kilometres.
Once at the centre you sign the obligatory waivers and put any larger items you won’t need in one of the provided lockers. It’s fine to take cameras and small handbags. Just make sure they are secured carefully.
Getting Kitted Up
Then it’s over to meet your guides who will help you put on your harness, bandana and safety helmet. We had three guides for our group of nine people. The harness goes around your legs and over your shoulders and gives you complete freedom to move around while on the zip-lines, including going hands-free for those “flying” poses!
To get to the first zip-line station we rode the minivan to a nearby rainforest area and then walked up a hill past a few houses and along a path into the rainforest. It’s a moderately steep walk of a few hundred metres which should be fine for anyone who is moderately fit. Along the way the guides stopped and pointed out some coffee and tee plants and talked about how they are used by the local people.
How to Zip-line?
Once we reached the first zip-line, the guides gave us a safety demonstration of the do’s and don’t of zip-lining. Two of the guides head across on the zip-line first so that they can catch you at the end and unclip you. The third stays behind to clip you on safely and then comes across once the last of the group has zip-lined. The guides communicate with each other to make sure that only one person is on the zip-line at a time. They are very safety conscious.
Zip-lining is actually quite easy. Once you’re on the zip-line, you can choose to either hold on to the strap below the trolley for security or if you’re feeling more comfortable you can let go and fly hands-free.
Your harness can spin 360 degrees and some people (i.e. me) seemed to spin around more than others. With a bit more experience you can apparently learn to control this rotation.
The guides are really friendly and provided us with lots of encouragement and laughs while at the same time making sure that everyone enjoyed the experience safely. At all times you are either clipped onto the zip-line or clipped onto a safety wire so that you can’t fall off the platform. You never need to worry about attaching your harness to the zip-line or safety wires because the guides always take care of that for you.
Types of Zip-lines
The zip-lining experience lasts for about two hours. It consists of multiple zip-lines of varying lengths and heights above the ground. You also have a few swinging rope bridges to walk across and two opportunities to do some abseiling.
If you are doing the experience with your partner or friend there are a couple of zip-lines with parallel wires which allow you to zip-line together. On one of these, I went alone a few seconds after one of the guides and he kindly filmed me with our Go Pro. We got a great video out of it.
Zip-lining is not particularly strenuous. The only time where you exert energy is on one of the lines where you land on a rope net and have to climb up a metre or two up to the platform above you. Other than that you can pretty much just relax and enjoy the experience.
The last part of the experience is an abseil down an enormous tree which is really cool. You then have a short walk back across a river to the minivan which takes you back to the reception area. You then enjoy a well-deserved lunch (accompanied by live music).
At several points along the experience Flight of the Gibbon takes photographs of you zip-lining and abseiling and you can choose to purchase those at the end (they have various options at different prices). We chose to get all of our photos sent to us via a Dropbox link which was quite handy.
A Final Waterfall
On the way back to Chiang Mai the minivan stopped at the local Mae Kam Pong waterfall. This is quite a nice waterfall and at the time we visited it was flowing quite heavily. There are a few flights of stairs that you can climb that take you up the hill alongside the waterfall.
After that, it’s back to the van and back to Chiang Mai. Flight of the Gibbon drops you back off at your hotel.
Check out our Video
Here’s a short video of our ziplining experience so that you can see just how awesome it was.
Here are a few tips for safely enjoying your zip-lining experience:
- Always listen to your guides
- Before you start the experience, mention any pre-existing medical conditions on the waiver form. That way your guides are aware of them.
- Don’t mess around with the harness yourself. Ask your guide if you need help adjusting your it.
- Don’t unclip yourself from the zip-line or safety wires. Only your guide may do that.
- Lift your legs when you are jumping off the platform.
- Lift your legs as you near the end of the zip-line so they don’t hit the platform. Once on the platform, quickly stand up straight. This allows your guide to unclip you from the zip-line and clip your safety line onto the platform.
- Don’t grab the zip-line with your hands and keep your hands away from the trolley mechanism.
How much does it cost?
The Flight of the Gibbon experience costs 4199 Baht per person. You can book your tickets online here.
Flight of the Gibbon kindly hosted us for the afternoon. However, all opinions in this article are our own. We wouldn’t recommend the experience if we didn’t enjoy it.
To experience the Flight of the Gibbon, you’ll want to base yourself in Chiang Mai. Use the search box below to find a nice place to stay in Chiang Mai: