Today was another adventurous day.
I signed up for a day of ziplining with Skyline Adventure.
Here in Chiang Mai there are quite a few different companies offering zip line packages. After reading reviews and comparing the companies I finally went with this company mainly due to the fact that they’re a newer and therefore less known company.
Why choose a lesser known company over the established ones?
Simple. Less people. Less waiting. More fun.
It also helped that this company boasted the most ziplines (28) and platforms (48) and 3 long ziplines of 400m, 450m and the final one at 900m.
There are also 4 abseils of 20, 25, 30 and 50 meters. What’s an abseil you ask?
Um, it’s just another way to scare the crap out of someone who’s scared of heights.
Have I mentioned that I’m scared of heights?
Yeah, not quite sure why I keep signing up for these things but I paid my 2000 baht ($70) and I was going.
Anyway, back to the abseils. They hook you up to a rope and slide you down a hole in the platform down to a platform below.
The scariest thing for me though were the 4 different 100m sky bridges. Even though my safety line was always hooked on and I was walking across with both hands on the edges of the bridge it was still pretty harrowing.
The bridges are damn rickety and it’s like they designed them to be as scary as possible by leaving planks out or criss crossing them. Seriously, criss crossing them? Why?
Anyway, sorry, got off on a tangent there…
Back to the zipline adventure…
So there are 4 different start times – 6:30, 8:00, 9:30 and 12:30. They pick you up at your start time and then return you 7 to 8 hours later.
I was so happy to see a later start time option as I find when the activity start times are around 8 in the morning I’m just so tired during the day as I just don’t get enough sleep.
I didn’t take the 12:30 start though because I didn’t really want to return at 8pm in the dark. Nope, 9:30 was the perfect start time.
I got to sleep in for a bit, sit down and have a full breakfast in the courtyard of the hostel before the van picked me up.
Our group were 10 people – myself, a Polish couple, a couple from Germany, another one from China, a local couple, and a dude from Singapore.
The drive to the zipline area was a full hour and a half but the long ride was eased by the style and comfort we were travelling in.
The 10 seater van we were in was air conditioned and our driver popped in a DVD movie for us to watch on the way there.
So, before we knew it, it was 11:30am and we had arrived at the forest.
We got hooked up in our safety gear, harness and helmet and were each given a little water bottle holder complete with a snack of 3 cookies.
There was never a time where I felt unsafe as our 3 guides were meticulous in making sure our safety rope was always clipped in, even when we were just standing on a tree platform.
I’ll admit, leaping off onto the first couple of ziplines was pretty scary for me. I mean, once I was zipping in the air I was fine but it was that conscious decision to walk off a perfectly safe platform into thin air that kind of got my heart racing.
In fact for the first half dozen or so platforms my heart was racing so much as I approached the edge and got ready to go off the platforms.
But then I was alright with it. I knew I was safe and I was actually looking forward to getting off the platform and flying through the air.
Except for those bridges and abseils. Ick!
Most of the ziplines we were attached in the front so you would just hold onto the ropes in front and glide down the line in a sitting position.
Then there were a couple of superman ziplines.
On these lines they gave you option of front or back. If clipped to the back your hands now have nothing to hold onto so you just grab the harness on your chest and jump off the platform. This way you literally fly through the air as your release your hands from your harness.
Pretty damn cool!
At just after 3pm after almost 4 hours of ziplining we crossed the raveen back to base camp via a 900m zipline. It actually took a full minute to get across and it was pretty damn exhilarating.
At the camp we unhooked all our gear and went next door to get some lunch. By now we were all staving and chowed down to their buffet of rice, veggies, some spicy chicken dish (i didn’t have) and watermelon.
Hell, I just needed the watermelon.
Soon we were back on our way.
I think the whole van pretty much dozed on the way back bringing back fond memories of a similar van ride back from Plitvice lakes in Croatia during my Euro Trip last year.
The best part of the day though was that when I returned in the early evening I wasn’t hot and sweaty and I wasn’t drained of energy.
Spending the day under the cover of trees kept the sun at bay today and it was a nice change to actually be fresh in the evening.
I only had this one night left before heading north to Chiang Rai tomorrow on my way to Laos and I wanted to do something.
A few people in the hostel were going to watch Thai boxing at 9pm but I also wanted to go see the Art in Paradise art exhibition.
Someone last week had shown me cool photos of themselves with the 3D art and this place instantly became a must see for me.
The art exhibition was open from 9am til 9pm but I just felt if I went tomorrow morning I’d be too rushed as I was also catching a bus around noon.
So, I nixed the Thai boxing and decided to head to see art illusions instead.
At 7pm I grabbed a tuk tuk and for 70 baht ($2) he took me about a kilometer outside the gate to the entrance.
Going at night is great because the place isn’t crowded and you don’t have to wait to take a photo with people always being in the way.
In fact when I went at 7pm there were only 5 other people in the whole place.
I paid my 300 baht ($10) and went inside.
Now I hadn’t really thought this through because the whole idea is that you have photos taken of you interacting with the various 3D art illusions on the walls.
Problem was I had no one to take photos so for the first little while I just snapped photos of the various pieces imagining what my pose might be with them.
And then I happened upon Julian and Julika (yet another couple from Germany) who offered to take photos for me.
For the next hour we toured the building together and they obliged in taking about 60 photos with me posing with the different art.
Yup, 60 photos.
There was alot of cool photo opportunities.
At 8:30 we were done and said our goodbyes.
They left on a scooter and I walked down the street looking for some street food.
I came upon a cool little setup in a vacant parking lot where they had a bunch of tables setup in the middle surrounded by a half dozen different street food stands.
I, of course, was drawn to the pad thai cart but also out of the corner of my eye I saw one offering different barbequed meat skewers.
I ended up getting both – vegetable pad thai (35 baht, $1) and two skewers of pork (20 baht, 70 cents).
Awesome dinner! I could seriously have this every night.
Another tuk tuk ride back to the hostel and I was in for the night by 9:30pm.
The hostel was actually deserted as I guess alot of people had gone to see the Thai boxing judging by the mass amounts of empty beer bottles on one of the tables in the courtyard.
In the bed next to me was someone new, Willa from San Francisco, a self professed nerd.
Ah, my kind of person.
We chatted for quite a while and before I knew it, it was closing in on midnight.
And that was my day… and what an amazing one at that!