Tomek Tarzan, me Jane – Ziplining in Laos
As if life isn’t painful enough. I have entered a new level of risk and fear. And I am not talking about flying China Eastern, nor Southern.
Flying is an understatement.
I went ziplining.
Let me make it clear — I love to stay with both feet on the ground. I am from the ballet and yoga division. I don’t engage in adventure sports. I don’t raft, dive, parachute, bungee jump. Not voluntarily.
Ziplining is a verb that does not appear in my repertoire. And yet, in Laos, I was hanging in the jungle, attached to a rope. Call it
fear fun of a lifetime!
Laos is the place for adventure tours and ziplining is just one option on the activity list. We decided to test our bodies on something new and booked a zipline adventure at and above Tad Se waterfalls – with free time for a bath afterwards. It was 35 USD each for the transport (van from/to hotel and Lao long boat), including ziplining.
The tour started out easy. With a long boat ride to get to the waterfalls.
We arrived at the zipline area. Very scenic. Tad Se waterfalls.
The zipline team gave put us in gear which came deep down the crotch, to produce a nasty V line, additionally to a compulsory safety helmet in construction-work-orange, under which I was to stuff my hairdo. Talking no fashion sense whatsoever. All ya need is balls!
BTW. I did not pee my pants – despite the obvious I-did-pee-myself body posture.
The heavier individuals aka Tomek would get this wooden tool in order to break. The speed is a bit unpredictable on the lines.
Familiarize yourself with the zipline route.
And this is what it looks like for real.
The platforms were high up in the trees.
Now, after you have secured yourself, the trek to the first zipline tree platform begins.
At that point I knew that I had gotten myself into
trouble adventure. That slippery ladder was rather traumatising and I was only the first 10 minutes in.
We were led by two guides whose definition of angst was routine.
Just another day at work.
Ground zero. Watching Tomek who went first. I was not the least convinced.
Safe to say, I ain’t no Jane. After the first round, I thought they were going to have to get a cherrypicker to bring me back down. And back home.
Let me tell you right here, so you can make up your mind about this: There is absolutely no bitchin-out-possibility. There is no return once you leave the first platform. You have to do them all.
Tomek was totally relaxed – just hanging in there.
The next base was higher up. The longest and fastest line – 400m.
Ready, set, freak out! One freaky thing is arriving at the tree platform full speed and having to stop solely with your feet coming against the tree. I sometimes used my made-up double-break-technique, feet bouncing off the edge of the platform first, then against the trees – and always kept my knees bent to bounce off speed effectively, rather than breaking them overstretched.
Next challenge. Ziplining together.
It’s not the best shot but we really are ziplining together here!
Just a day before I had read some tripadvisor reviews and about a girl who somehow started to spin out of control on the way to the platform, crashing into the tree at the platform, unfortunately breaking her leg.
At that point it was difficult to divide attention for the views.
While I was getting cold feet…
…Tomek was doing the airwalk.
And the air split.
Watch some zipline action and our guide performing his show-off stunts.
Now, the greatest fun for our guides was to drop us down to a lower platform. I was thinking: Across. Yes.
Our friendly guides would drop us about half way and then suddenly pull up in mid-fall, making our stomachs visit our throats. Still, I never really felt gutsy. It felt more like jumping down a cliff three times in row during one fall. Oh, the joy.
One of our guides had our camera and took pictures. Some pictures turned out really nice, some turned out very Bridget Jones…
Apart from endless adrenalin kicks, ziplining also provided me with a range of unflattering pictures of myself. A face only a (my) mother could love.
Free Fall! Making yourself drop down the platform.
Water – Fall!
Exclusive PTraveler view.
Tomek navigating through the branches. Gracefully.
Whizzing above the waters of Tad Se.
Crossing the bridge would have been relatively easy, if it wasn’t for the endless pranks of our guides…
…who were swinging it up and down.
View on the edge.
Watch our final ride!
Reaching safe ground.
Sweaty buy happy.
Somehow we managed to do all the obstacles, but geez did they require guts. We made it. Our guides look pretty relieved!
Well, what can I say. I might be no Jane but it is good to know I am with Tarzan.
Afterwards. We were all game for a refreshing dip in the waterfalls.
But no one said anything about freezing temperatures.
Not to mention the current.
It was impossible to stand upright without being washed away. The only solution was this…
It is kinda strong, right?
So we walked around a bit to explore some weird flora of the jungle.
What exactly are these?
For more craziness in Laos, see you tomorrow!