Samui Wining & Dining
UP AND AWAY !
Soaring through the jungle canopy on a zip line is a great way to see Samui’s interior.


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Sometimes, lying on the beach, you’ll see a sea eagle soaring above, riding the thermals and checking out the scene below. Then it disappears into the jungle, and you have to wonder what it is they see from up there. If your curiosity gets the better of you, just book a canopy adventure with Skyfox Super Ride, located in the southeast of the island, near the Namuang waterfalls.

        Not all visitors to Samui are aware that the jungle interior is equally as breath-taking as the island’s beaches. If you’re keen to see more than blue seas and white sand, and if you’re even marginally an adrenalin junkie, then a zip line canopy tour is a must-do activity.

        Canopy tours originated in the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica, where biologists devised a system of cables and platforms to explore and study the previously inaccessible upper forest canopy. This soon evolved into a successful form of adventure and eco-tourism, raising awareness of the plight of the world’s endangered rain forests. The Skyfox canopy tour on Samui has been constructed in accordance with strict civil engineering

standards, and built by a team of professionals who’ve built zip-line rides in Europe, Indonesia and Australia. The equipment used is imported from France, and safety is a top priority, with the strong cables being inspected every three months.

         Your canopy tour starts with being kitted up with full safety harnesses, pulleys, ropes and helmets. You’ll feel as though you have enough safety equipment to climb Everest; all that’s missing is an oxygen mask. For anyone who suffers from vertigo or is afraid of heights, you should find this reassuring enough to quell the butterflies in your stomach. The very competent guides check and re-check your safety gear, and give instructions on the do’s and don’ts s of whizzing through the air on a cable high above the ground. Six cables connect the zip-lines, which gradually get higher from one to the next, and make up a total of 600 metres over the six stations. Two guides escort each group. One leads the way, and waits on the next platform, while the other sends each adventurer on their way, gliding through the air like a flying fox (hence the name Skyfox). When you reach the other side, the first guide is there to safely clip you to the platform, while you wait for the others. In this way, you’re always clipped onto either the cable and a second safety cable, or the platform on which you’re waiting. Even when you’re climbing the steel or rope ladders to reach the platforms, the safety clip is always in place.

          As you zigzag through a pristine indigenous forest, do try keep your eyes open, as the scenery is spectacular as is the abundant bird life. You have time to catch your breath on each platform, which is a good time to take a photo of your fellow zip-liners as they whizz towards you at full speed. By all means bring your camera, but be sure to secure it safely while you’re flying through the air.

          If you’re brave… but not so brave… there’s a point where you can turn back before the last two lines, which are the highest and most exciting - or frightening! But remember, as the saying goes… “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the conquest of it”.

          Skyfox operates two trips per day, and each lasts around 3.5 hours. Considering the safety features, it’s an activity suited to all ages from 10 years to senior citizens, as long as they’re able to climb the ladders. The cost is 1,700 baht per adult and 1,100 baht per child, which includes transport to and from the attraction, and iced water is provided. It’s advisable to wear longer shorts, or you’ll get a pinch from the harness where, well… where you’d just rather not get pinched. As you’re in the jungle, insect repellent is also a good idea to keep those mozzies at bay.

          And if you’re not quite ready for the fun to end, stay on for a swim at the Namuang 2 waterfall. Here, for 200 baht per person, you can also enjoy water slides into the freshwater pool at the bottom of the waterfall. It’s a great way to cool down after all the excitement, and Skyfox is happy to delay your transport home for an hour or so while you do this.

          We’re more likely to regret those things we haven’t done, than the things we have done, so if you find yourself in the jungle of Samui, be sure to try swinging through the trees, because as another inspirational quote rightly states, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming – ‘Wow, what a ride!

          

 Rosanne Turner


 


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