…and now the Jungle Flight

21 03 2010

Yesterday I persuaded Elínborg to join me on a trip with a company called Jungle Flight.  The guys at Jungle Fight have set up a zip wire course in the canopy of the jungle in the mountains beyond Chang Mai, similar to the original Flight of the Gibbon.  The course consists of 33 platforms with 26 zip wires, 2 sky-bridges, 4 abseils and one spiral stair case.  The longest wire is 300 meters long and the highest is 120 meters above the ground.

In the beginning (and the whole day before) Elínborg was terrified of the thought of hanging high up in these wires and the anxiety didn’t lessen when we came on site.  The staff was made up of of guys that, already at just after seven in the morning, acted like a heard of calves in the spring – cracking jokes, all laughing and making noise and didn’t  seem responsible at all.

After brief instructions we went for the first zip wire and when in business the guys were very careful and responsible – although continually making jokes.  Right from the beginning both of us were loving the experience and all fright was out the window.  It was so much fun being up in the canopy and sliding over those wires, enjoying the view.

Gradually we learned more tricks and got more frisky and went head first – Superman style, we went together on twin wires, went backwards and without hands.  The distances, height and speed varied greatly so sliding on the wire never got old.  In between they also had the abseils where a rope is fastened to your back and a guy lowers you down in a Mission Impossible kind of style, down 20 to 40 meters at full speed – a fantastic adrenalin injection.

We had opted for a cheaper option, 22 platforms, but midway through we were offered to upgrade, which we gladly accepted.  I don’t think anyone could pass up on that opportunity being midway through the course.  We were in a group with two Taiwanese girls that were doing the big circuit and that made the decision even easier.

So we had a great day in the forest and all in all it was a great experience and a lot of fun that I hope can shines through in the photos – we would highly recommend this to anyone that has the chance!

Tiger Kingdom and Jungle Flight

20 03 2010

We have just been loving life here in Chang Mai.  First of all it is great to return to some sort of organization after Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.  This time around we really notice how much better off the Thais are – both in terms of organization and money.  Another great thing that we were really missing is the Thai food.  Being back to fantastic red or green curry, tom yum soup and other fantastic dishes is just great!

The first day in Chang Mai we just wandered around the city, trying to get our bearings.  On the second day we decided to take a tuktuk to the Tiger Kingdom, a park with about 30 or so tigers.  We had very mixed feelings going in, you never know how the animals are treated and how things work.

The deal is that you can come and have a peak into one of the cages and then you can buy 15 minutes with one (or many) of four different age groups – newborns, “teenagers” and adults – with the newborns a bit pricier than the others ($15 vs. $10).  We thought long and hard if we wanted to do this, we had seen that if you go in with the adults you are not really petting them, more approaching them from behind and tap on them and it felt very strange to us and not worth the experience – except maybe just getting the thrill of standing next to an adult tiger.

So we opted for seeing the baby tigers since we were there and just to sum up – the experience was amazing!  Once we came into the enclosure where they were kept – by the way they were three 6 weeks old kittens – one of them just ran to Elínborg and right into her lap and he stayed around us the whole time.  The kittens are a bit tricky because they just go where they want and we were not allowed to hold them, fetch them or anything – just be there and if they wanted to play then we could play with them.  Those ten to fifteen minutes with Kankoon (Jack Fruit) were just wonderful and so much fun!

Elínborg with little Jack Fruit

After seeing the baby tigers we were allowed to walk around the part and see the other tigers (through the fence) and what amazing animals they are – so graceful and elegant.

The teenagers

After the whole visit we felt really good and had no second thoughts.  All the animals were born in captivity, they seemed very healthy and well taken care of and seemed happy to us (without a degree in tiger psychology though).

Well this has been long enough, I’ll just post about the Jungle Flight experience tomorrow.