Luang Prabang first class flight(Tad Sae waterfall)

Heartbeats and natural highs on jungle journey

(From Vientiane times newspaper) If you’re anything like me, standing on a mountaintop or at the top of a tall building makes your heart beat rapidly and your legs shake, and you dare not move.

A fear of heights is far from rare, but is also a serious business when one is high up in a rain forest canopy.

I had little time to ponder my fate as I prepared to fly like Tarzan through the treetops in
Luang Prabang province recently.

Contrary to what you are probably thinking, this was not a case of jungle fever getting the better of me.

The answer came in the form of zip lines, also known as aerial runway, mini cable car, or the mighty flying fox.

Fortunately for myself and others who are vertigo afflicted, cables clip into a harness allowing one to swing along through the forest like a modern day Johnny Weismuller.

There are a total of 19 platforms on this particular nature-soaked 1km journey.

The space between tree platforms starts at 35 meters, and then gets progressively longer.

Between platforms 9 and 10 is the longest gap, a distance of 200 meters.

Based in the treetops around
Tad Sae waterfall in Luang Prabang province, the cable run encompasses some breathtaking views.

World heritage-listed
Luang Prabang is well known as one of the country’s most popular tourist sites for experience culture.

Yet the province and the area around Tad Sea waterfall in particular rank highly as one of the most attractive sites for experiencing the natural wonders of Laos.

The flight of nature begins 16 km south of Luang Prabang on Northern Road No. 13.

Take a left onto an unsealed red dirt road, and about five minutes later you will read Ann village. Next, take a boat on the Nam khan river for about five minutes to reach the waterfall.

It is usually in full flow from august to March, the best time to view the cascades and take a dip.

Arriving at the waterfall, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular sight and trees galore. How much water you will see, however, depends on the time of year.
When the water is tumbling over the rocks, the freshness of the scene will relax you.
While that wasn’t the case today, it was still a more than enjoyable trip.

But anyway, back to the task at hand.

After a five minute hike, I was at the start of what promised to be unforgettable journey.

At first, I didn’t dare to swing from a thin cable high above the forest floor, but under pressure from my relative I decided to steal myself for the challenge.

Finally, I decided to join them after being promised that two guide would help me to complete the run in one piece.

Before I knew it, I was strapped in and ready. The first of two guides cruised effortlessly to the next platform, while the other helped us to clip into the harness. My turn was rapidly approaching.

My two relatives took first, leaving a nervous you-know-who attempting to slow his rapidly beating heart. Yet those formerly trustworthy legs of mine would not respond. After no less than seven deep breaths, the encouragement of guides and cajoling of my relatives, I was off.

With my pride at stake, my recalcitrant legs dared to move and before I knew it. I was flying off towards the second platform.

My legs had not yet been cured of the shakes when the guide told me that I now had no choice but to continue.

So I redoubled my courage and set my sights on eventually reaching the 19th and final platform.

While I was busy shaking sweating and agonizing, my two relatives were all smile.

It was clear they were enjoying the challenge of the activity. “It is not difficult,” said one, smiling happily. “It would be even more even more exciting if it was higher”, remarked the other. I have to admit that at this point fratricide crossed my mind.

Yet as I flew from tree to tree on my way to the third and fourth platforms, I was beginning to adjust to the sensation of having nothing beneath my feet.

However, my heart rate gathered pace on the journey from platform 9 to 10, the longest point between footholds.

At this point we had to use a pre-prepared piece of bamboo to help with the braking process.

Our guide for the flight, Mr.Suchat, told us the drill.

“Platform 10 is the only point where most people need some extra braking. Our guide will wait there and call out when you need to brake.”

“ You will pick up quite a bit of speed on this section and if don’t brake you might hit a tree, but it’s not serious.” (“Not serious!?” I thought to myself). It was then the thought of sending him crashing to the forest floor flashed through my brain.

But if you brakes too soon you could also be in trouble.

“If you brake before the guide tells you, you will probably stop before reaching the platform and then the guide will have to go out and lead you in,” he added.

After passing platform 10, the fear in my heart and shaking in my legs completely disappeared and it all started to feel more enjoyable. I also enjoyed lowering myself down by rope to the station below, which is done at four points along the ropeway.

Meanwhile at some stations you have to lift your legs to avoid the tree branches below.

Most of the high stations boast beautiful views when seen from the platforms. Nearing the end of the ride you pass by waterfall.

Within 30 minutes of returning to solid earth, one is able to enjoy lunch at a restaurant overlooking the waterfall. You can also take an elephant ride on a trek through the surrounding jungle.

My suggestion to those of you who are scared of heights: try the lower platforms first and graduate to the higher ones. This will help you adapt to the challenges of the ride.

The Tad Sea flight of nature opened in May.

Guide Mr. Sichat said about 70 people had so far attempted the ride, most of whom had been foreigners.

While it is not yet well known, this adventure activity is sure to gain in popularity, even when a “nervous Nellie” like your writer recommends this first class flight through the treetops in
Luang prabang.

Source: Vientiane time newspaper :
Vientiane times

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