“Going ape’ in the trees of Chalong

PHUKET: Phuket’s new Xtremadventures park offers a full-on arboreal experience.

Zipping, climbing, crawling, balancing and swinging through the trees of Phuket is no longer left to the domain of the monkey.

The island is now home to an adventure park unrivaled by others in size and an innovative first in all of Asia. Xtremadventures Phuket – owned by Frenchman Gilles Bassi and a partner – was opened in Chalong this June.

“When I came to Phuket, I realized there was nothing like this, so I thought it would be great to have one,” Mr Bassi said.

The park is made up of 69 stations ranging from “very easy” to “challenging”, and Asia’s very first “Accro Spider”, which makes use of nets to catch people when they fall. The venue is ideal for young children – all the way down to four years old, Bassi said.

Adventurers testing the rest of the park must use a harness, and a combination of caribiners, ropes and a pulley.

Under the constant eye of professionally trained staff, guests must clip on to safety lines before having a go at the challenges: You can walk a tightrope, swing from platform to platform, soar on a flying fox, attempt “Asia’s highest tree climb” (25 meters) and zipline back to Earth.

How far you want to go depends on you, but this lanky, 192-cemtimeter primate can say that “challenging” does mean “challenging”.

Experienced climbers will note that the safety equipment and quality of the park are top-notch, with all gear imported from France.

Bassi enlisted the help of his friend-cum-business partner Raphael Jamgotchian who was a partner in what is now France’s largest tree adventure park.

Raphael and a French team built Extremadventures Phuket over 2.5 months. It was then certified by a team from Ceres Control France, which is required for all such parks in EU countries.

“I absolutely did not want to play with safety – if people want to have good fun, it must be done in 100 per cent safety,” Bassi said.

All ten staff members at the park have been trained by Raphael in special safety and rescue procedures, Bassi added.

For information about the park and discounts for residents (expats included), visit their website or call 076-383689.

— Nicholas Altstadt

Thai Life

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