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Tomek Tarzan, me Jane – Ziplining in Laos

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.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

We arrived at the zipline area. Very scenic. Tad Se waterfalls.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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!

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

BTW. I did not pee my pants – despite the obvious I-did-pee-myself body posture.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

The heavier individuals aka Tomek would get this wooden tool in order to break. The speed is a bit unpredictable on the lines.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Familiarize yourself with the zipline route.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

And this is what it looks like for real.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

The platforms were high up in the trees.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Now, after you have secured yourself, the trek to the first zipline tree platform begins.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

We were led by two guides whose definition of angst was routine.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Just another day at work.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

 

Ground zero. Watching Tomek who went first. I was not the least convinced.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Tomek was totally relaxed – just hanging in there.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

The next base was higher up. The longest and fastest line – 400m.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Next challenge. Ziplining together.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

It’s not the best shot but we really are ziplining together here!

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

At that point it was difficult to divide attention for the views.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

While I was getting cold feet…

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

…Tomek was doing the airwalk.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

And the air split.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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.
Down. No.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

One of our guides had our camera and took pictures. Some pictures turned out really nice, some turned out very Bridget Jones

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

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.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Free Fall! Making yourself drop down the platform.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Water – Fall!

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Exclusive PTraveler view.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Tomek navigating through the branches. Gracefully.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Whizzing above the waters of Tad Se.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Crossing the bridge would have been relatively easy, if it wasn’t for the endless pranks of our guides…

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

…who were swinging it up and down.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Bridge variations.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

View on the edge.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Watch our final ride!

 

Reaching safe ground.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Sweaty buy happy.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Somehow we managed to do all the obstacles, but geez did they require guts. We made it. Our guides look pretty relieved!

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Well, what can I say. I might be no Jane but it is good to know I am with Tarzan.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Afterwards. We were all game for a refreshing dip in the waterfalls.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

But no one said anything about freezing temperatures.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

Not to mention the current.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

It was impossible to stand upright without being washed away. The only solution was this…

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

It is kinda strong, right?

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

So we walked around a bit to explore some weird flora of the jungle.

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

 

What exactly are these?

Laos - Luang Prabang and Vientiane

For more craziness in Laos, see you tomorrow!

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