When we were in Thailand, we celebrated Rich's twenty-eighth birthday. And when I asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate, he quickly responded with... zip lining.
I immediately panicked. I am not good with heights and I didn't particularly fancy testing my limits for thrill-seeking! Boring? Probably. But
Flight of the Gibbon is where zip line adventuring meets conservation experience. Yes, really. It involves swinging over five kilometres of zip lines, through some thirty stations - some as high as fifty meters above the forest floor. My initial reaction to these numbers emblazoned across the brochure was concern over safety. Asia isn't known for its strong safety record and I wasn't about to propel myself off a platform into the jungle unless I knew I was 100% safe. Luckily, Flight of the Gibbon has an impeccable reputation for safety with full safety briefings being given, top-notch equipment being used and rigorously trained staff on hand throughout. I can say I felt completely safe throughout... if a little terrified!
Like with most excursions, transport arrived to collect us from our hotel in the morning and from the word go we knew it was a professional job. The van collecting us was most definitely the plushest ride we had in our six months travelling! Once we arrived we were fitted in our harnesses and helmets, given a full safety briefing and met the other six people coming up with us. And then it began! We were driven to the starting point and after a short walk were met with our first platform. I will put my hands up and say I was pretty terrified! But after the first couple of zips I was getting into the swing (geddit?) of things and started to really enjoy myself. The feeling of flying through the trees is incredible! We had a couple of zips that were a little different from the others; one was the longest at 800 meters, a couple we did as pairs which was really fun and another you had to dive in to. That one was really terrifying and I'll admit I needed Rich to push me off the platform! But fear aside, it was an amazing experience and one I wont be forgetting in a hurry.
We were also lucky enough to spot some gibbons during the walks between stations - as I mentioned at the start this is also part conservation project. With the help of visitors to FotG, they have been able to re-introduce gibbons in to the forest. Our guides were able to point them out to us and give us some information about their behaviours, eating patterns and lifestyle. I do love a bit of fact-finding alongside my adrenaline rush!
How much? The website and promotion material clearly states that FotG does not engage in a 'race to the bottom' and they will not compromise on safety just to reduce cost. We paid 3,999 baht (£80 in April 2016) per person. Not cheap, but in my view worth the expense. It's not Thailand's #1 tourist attraction for no reason! They also have sites in Bangkok, Koh Phangan and Siem Reap (Cambodia).