PHUKET: Keeping with the idea that people and modern primates were once related by a distant cousin, I’d like to make a comparison.
Humans are social like primates, we use tools like they do and we have the same urge to swing recklessly through the tops of trees for sheer amusement.
Such amusement is available in our back yard (a place where gibbons have tree hopped for generations) at Xtreme Adventures park off Chao Fa West Road, near Wat Chalong. The park operates several zip line and climbing courses that range in difficulty.
If you’d like to walk a tightrope just to see, or you want to do something with a bit of a kick, then Xtreme Adventures is the place to be.
At 1,900 baht for admission it isn’t the cheapest way to get your thrills in Phuket, but it is definitely one of the coolest.
The low season offers the perfect time to go looking for some adventure. The location is set amidst a quiet, beautifully forested area, and the park itself isn’t visible until you climb up the face of what feels like a near vertical hill.
Once safely up the hill I met with my guides, who numbered many since there were only five people at the park that day – just a British couple on holiday with their young children.
First, we were all given strict instruction on how to operate our harnesses. The harness looks a bit like a swing diaper. Each harness has two carabiners (for safety) attached, as well as a zip line pulley – the thing that travels atop the wire.
I know it may seem like there’s a lot to remember, but trust me, once you’ve done it a few times it becomes second nature.
Everyone say it together: “always attach the safety line first”.
After proving to my guide Khun Paragorn Sapakdee, of Supanburi, that I could handle the test course, we set off up the mountain to begin.
There are three courses available: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Where Xtreme Adventures Phuket differs from another zip line I’ve been to in Orlando, Florida, is that you are not always sliding down a wire from top to bottom.
Our course involved technical climbing that demanded serious balance and agility (we chose the advanced course). We performed maneuvers such as walking on wires, scrambling through nets and climbing up the face of a twenty-meter tree as you might a rock climbing wall.
It was great fun, albeit, a bit of a work out as well – especially, if you’ve chosen the advanced course. At many points we were reliant on upper body strength to hold on.
As the day progressed (I went from 10am to noon) my guide and I grew competitive in a friendly way, seeing which of us could complete the course faster or more gracefully.
It can get hot out there so go early. The park struck me as a great place to have a fun time with your children – at least those over ten-years-old or so.
At one point the young daughter of the British couple couldn’t hold back a terrified scream (she was in no real danger) and I couldn’t help but chuckle.
The park is open Monday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm. No reservations are required, just show up and have fun.
For more information visit xtremeadventuresphuket.com.
— Chris Hudon
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