Finding an activity that is fun and engaging for all the family is a tough ask, but without a doubt, Flight of the Gibbon has done it by mixing the right elements of exciting zip-lining action, reassuring safety procedures and some beautiful views of pristine jungle.
Specifically, Flight of the Gibbon is a 3 km course of 22 zip lines and two abseiling stations built amongst the rainforest canopy in Chompoo National Park, half way between Bangkok and Pattaya. For anyone looking for a fast-paced and fun activity, a day spent swinging from tree to tree might be just what you need. Connected to the zip line park is Khao Kaew Safari, one of the best animal sanctuaries in Thailand with a range of animals living in open enclosures, including elephants, rhinos and, of course, gibbons!
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Flight of the Gibbon is consistently ranked as one of the best – if not the best – adventure activity in the Bangkok area so to find out the ins and outs of this popular day trip the Bangkok.com team headed off to the jungle with much excitement and pockets filled with bananas.
Whether you are coming from Bangkok or Pattaya, a Flight of the Gibbon tour includes transfers in a large mini-van with comfortable, reclining seats. During our 90 minute journey we were shown the first of several safety briefings on a DVD and given a colourful brochure with background information. On arrival at the national park, guests are asked to fill out an insurance form before being taken up the mountain to be fitted for safety gear. The company proudly has a 100% safety record across both their Pattaya location and their original Chiang Mai branch.
There are eight people in our group, ranging in age from 10 to 60+ years old, and the fun loving and friendly guides – or jungle rangers – make an effort to speak to everyone, typical of Thai hospitality. From the fitting area to the first zip line there is a ten-minute uphill walk which might be taxing for anyone short of fitness, although there is a resting area half way up for guests to take a break. On the way there are notice boards displaying information about the importance of natural habitats, the dangers of deforestation – there is a gentle message of conservation and ecology scattered throughout the day, but it is done in an unobtrusive and easygoing way.
Once we are up in the treetops, carabiners and ropes are connected to us at all times making it impossible to fall and the jungle rangers take care of everything; our only instruction is “don’t touch your carabiner and never, ever unclip yourself”. One by one, we have our lines attached to the thick wire line and glide out way through the trees. The experience will get your heart pumping but it’s not what we would describe as a ‘white knuckle ride’. In fact, other than preliminary jitters, everyone in our group fully enjoys it. By the third zip line, everyone is comfortable enough to try superman poses, or lean back and fly through the air with legs above their heads. The zip lines range in length from around 25 metres to 300 metres in length but never run faster than 20 km per hour.
It’s so much fun zipping past trees with the ground rushing by far below and even though we didn’t see any gibbons, we got to experience the freedom of swinging from tree to tree, just like our distant cousins. As well as the zip lines there are abseiling stations, but again the tour guides will do everything and guests just lean back and soak up the changing surroundings from treetop to jungle floor. Flight of the Gibbon is a family friendly activity to delight the more intrepid and still provide enough attentive service and feeling of absolute safety to keep the most cautious guests happy.
After our fun in the treetops, we were driven back down to the safari park and served our set lunch in the open air, lakeside restaurant. The meal is served per person, not buffet, and consists of a Thai soup (in our case chicken in green curry), stir fried vegetables and rice with fried egg. To finish, we each received a plate of cool, fresh fruits. After all our exertion, it’s no surprise we all gleefully polished off our lunch.
The final part of the tour is a buggy ride around Khao Kaew Safari Park, with plenty of opportunity to stop, get out and capture some great photos of gibbons swinging through trees, hippos bobbing up and down and the cutest family of meerkats all standing to attention atop their earthy home. We could have spent the whole day here as there is such a wide and interesting range of animals here but it was time to take our VIP mini-van back to Bangkok. All in all, this is a very professional operation and is rightly proclaimed the best day trip around Bangkok for thrill-seekers, animal lovers and the young at heart.
Flight of the Gibbon
- Opening Hours: first groups start at 06:00 every day. NOTE: Flight of the Gibbon is open every day but may be cancelled in cases of bad weather
- Address: Chonburi, Chompoo National Preserve, near Khao Kaew Safari (Halfway between BkK and Pattaya)