Op Khan and The Flight of the Gibbon, Thailand

We are continuing to have a thoroughly enjoyable time, here in Chiang Mai. We have been to a different restaurant every evening – much cheaper than buying the ingredients and cooking at home! We have even eaten at the Night Bazaar. This has changed dramatically since we were here in 1997; they have developed an air-conditioned indoor section with a food court and entertainment of traditional Thai dancing. (See photo)

We have also experienced dining Thai-style at a Khan Toke restaurant – sitting on the floor at low tables while dancers perform for our entertainment. We were very proud that we managed to sit on the floor for the whole evening, although getting up afterwards was an effort!

On Thursday we visited the Op Khan National Park where we followed the nature trail along a natural gorge caused by erosion of the cliffs on either side of the Mae Kjan River. After hiking along the bank, David and Glynn swam in the river to cool off while Harry, Margaret and I found a cool spot to wait for them. Afterwards we went to the National Park Restaurant for lunch, there was no menu however, as the only dish on offer was – I’m sure you’ve guessed it - Cow pat Moo!!

Yesterday, David, Glynn and I decided to do the touristy thing and venture out to the mountains for the Flight of the Gibbon experience. Their promise to allow us to “view jungle life from a perspective previously reserved for a select group of researchers” was too tempting! They have a two-kilometre stretch of tree houses, platforms, cables and sky bridges high up in the canopy of a 1500 year old rainforest which forms the dramatic backdrop to the village of Mae Kompang.

When we arrived at the village we were given a lunch of green curry and introduced to the other five people in our group, a family of three from Malaysia and two young Irish girls, who looked at us rather doubtfully as the guide apologised to them for including us in their party. They were good sports, however, and soon warmed to us - especially when they discovered that David exhibited the best style whilst traversing the wires!

Before we could set out, we were strapped into a harness (not good from the posterior angle!) and fitted with a hard hat, then presented with an angular piece of bamboo. Glynn thought we might be going to do a spot of water divining, but we were told it was the brake!

We were all quite nervous at the first of the fifteen stations, but once we had zipped along the first wire we gained in confidence. The brake only has to be used on the steepest of the wires and we were instructed to pull down on the cable with the bamboo as we approached the platform.

The first time we had to use the brake, I didn't pull down hard enough and so slammed into the guide as he waited to secure my landing. So the next time I pulled down much harder and didn't make it to the platform at all, and was left dangling in the air! Fortunately, the guide came down the wire and attached me to his harness and reeled us both in – to much merriment all round!

Occasionally the land fell steeply away below us and we had to rappel down enormous trees, with the aid of a friction rope, in order to arrive level with the canopy again.

We were in the hands of the guides, but we felt really safe as they were very professional and had all sorts of safety procedures in place (although I did wonder what ‘elf and safety would think of it). It was such fun and we all said we would do it again with no hesitation!

Me, dangling from the wire, high up in the trees

The intrepid Glynn enjoying 'The Flight of the Gibbon'!


  1. I definitely posted a comment here the other day... no idea what happened to it!

    Very jealous of you Flight of the Gibbon experience! Sounds fantastic! What a pity everyone was too busy laughing to take a photo of you hanging in mid-air!

    Enjoy the last few weeks of your trip! We are all looking forward to seeing you soon

  2. If you click on the photo underneath the one of the bus, you will see that it is me hanging on the wire! See you soon. Tell John the chips are on their way!

  3. Raewyn, I´m sure you had a great time at the beach in Hampden. We were thinking of you all!


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