Your first question most likely will be, just how close do we get to the gibbons on this tour? Don’t worry you won’t be within close range of wild animals on the Flight of the Gibbon, Chiang Mai’s thrilling rainforest canopy eco adventure. The site is located at the pristine village of Mae Kampong (pronounced “Gumpawng”) on the edge of a gorgeous national park 37 kilometers outside of Chiang Mai city lies on the border of Jae Zorn National Park. With little in the way of development the surrounding ecosystem remains incredibly intact and it is recognized as a hotspot of bio-diversity. Rare to see these days is the climax old growth forest supporting a huge range of plant, animal and bird life. At 1,300 meters above sea level this hill station is commonly 4 - 5 Celsius cooler than Chiang Mai - what better way to cool down while you’re having fun!
The method of transportation through the tree tops is via a zip-line (also known as a flying fox, zip wire, aerial runway or tyrolean crossing) that consists of a pulley suspended on a cable mounted on an incline. They are designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to traverse from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable, usually made of stainless steel, by holding on or attaching to the freely moving pulley. Zip-lines come in many forms, most often used as a means of entertainment. They may be short and low, intended for child’s play and found on some playgrounds. Longer and higher rides are often used as a means of accessing unusual areas (a rainforest canopy for instance) or found at outdoor adventure camps where they are usually one element on a larger challenge or ropes course.
The drive from the city takes about 40 minutes east of Chiang Mai city. The tour starts in the morning at 8.30 am or 9.30 am. Guests can have a cup of fresh mountain grown coffee in a village kiosk. Each person on the tour meets each other. On that day there were Dutch, Thai, Israeli, American and Singaporean in our group. The ages ranged from 64 years old to 14 years old.
We were helped with all the belting up and hiking helmets and transferred to the first platform in the village. After listening to the safety procedure instructions, off each one sailed via the zip wire. What a thrill that was flying over stream, valley and onto the platform 30 meters high in a tree. After three platforms, the group hiked for a while and then back to the zipwire. After about two hours, the group de-belted and walked in the forest for another 30 minutes that includes a stop at a waterfall.
After that long walk in the fresh air, everyone looked forward to a meal of Thai food. The specialty dishes of the area can be ordered ala carte. The area is known for growing black oolong tea. The older leaves of the plant are fermented for “miang”, a chewing snack, still popular from the days of ancient Lanna. The fermented tea leaves are added to minced meat that is known as “laab miang” with chilli peppers added. The cook will prepare without peppers if she is requested to do so. Another tasty dish is kai jeow miang, “omelet with miang leaves”. Both are very delicious and the cook is so pleased to receive compliments the guests on the tasty dishes.
Then, there’s a big decision to return to Chiang Mai City or to stay in a homestay in the village. Experience the culture of the local people, they are ready to show you the way of life from a bygone era. Hang out at the teahouse and shoot the breeze or stay overnight in their homestay scheme _ the villagers have put together a package where you can choose any participating house, bungalow or homestay that you like the look of. The price is 550 Baht per person per night and includes 3 home cooked meals and accommodation. If you want to savor Thailand, this is not to be missed. You’ll get all the details before the day is through. Contact Tel. 089-970-5511 or visit the Flight of the Gibbon website at www.treetopasia.com.
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