Flight of the Gibbons: A Plus Size Zip Lining Adventure In The Jungle
A whole other country ago (I am currently in Kuala Lumpur) I found myself one Saturday morning getting up at an ungodly hour. Okay, 6 AM isn’t that bad but still… and to make it worse it was a downpour. Yet, somehow Sean and I were out the door in time (I’ve learned that I need to tell Sean an earlier time in order to leave by the actual time we need to leave). It was the day we would be zip lining in the jungle at the Flight of The Gibbons in Thailand.
Nerves and Anxiety
Waiting for our transport at the Au Bon Pan having a mediocre croissant, I felt myself getting more and more anxious. No, not about the fact that I was gonna be very high up in the middle of the jungle zip lining. I was getting anxious about the harness. Despite knowing I met the weight limit with quite a difference between me and the number, I was scared the harness wouldn’t fit around me. I was re-living my fear that I talked about in my MIC essay.
I had mixed feelings and I was so fucking excited but I was also so fucking anxious. The night before I spent hours online trying to find pictures of other bigger people zip lining. Paranoia had set in that the safety harness wouldn’t fit on my body. I couldn’t really find any useful information for me about the harness dimensions. So when we arrived and they said that we had to wait due to the weather, I was relieved and thought, it’s okay. If it’s canceled, it wasn’t meant to be.
Let Me Get Into My Own Head
As part of the Gibbons experience, you also get to explore the Open Zoo. We went around and full-disclosure I did not like it. I wish I had just hung out at the restaurant instead. In fact, I would have preferred to pay MORE to skip it. The animals seemed fine but I just have mixed feelings about Zoo these days. It made me feel funny and sad, especially for the elephants. I understand why they do it, they want to make you feel like you are getting your money’s worth but honestly, I rather pass.
When we did make it back, we learned that we had been given the clear to fly. Nerves appeared again and I got quiet as we got back into the van. Bless Sean as this ain’t his first rodeo. He knew what to say and the spot on my back that I liked rubbed as we drove deep into the jungle.
We walked up these makeshift stairs to the hut and I saw them. Those harnesses. And well, they fit. The guys at the experience were so lovely and didn’t make me feel anything about being a bigger girl. If anything, I was the one who was making a big deal about it.
Full disclosure it is a bit tight on the chest part (but boobs) but once you are buckled in it loosens up you are fine. So after being strapped in, my helmet secured (they give you bandanas to wear underneath) and one last sip of water. I WAS READY. I had been so focused on my anxiety of not fitting that I kinda forgot about the actual activity itself. Which was zip lining in the jungle…
Oh Wait, I Gotta Zip Line Now?
It meant being at the top of high trees and zipping through the jungle like Tarzan and Lady Jane…
I have a love-hate relationship with heights. They scare me senseless but I will almost always be the first one to peek over the edge or jump off of boats. It is fear that I have but is one that I can get over with a bit of adrenaline. Flight of The Gibbons is considered one of the best zip lining companies in Southeast Asia and safety is their priority. Getting their start in Chang Mai a few years back they opened up a second location in Chonburi. It’s a popular day trip for those staying in Pattaya and in Bangkok. It is about a 2-hour drive. Just long enough to figure out why you decided to zip line but not enough to talk yourself out of it 😛
Before we even started the ten-minute trek to the first base we were given a safety lecture and tutorial. The ranger guides clearly knew what they were doing and were funny. It definitely helped ease me into it. They could tell I was nervous and as such, I was a target to make jokes at but also they constantly reassured me it would be fine. There is something about being scared and enjoying every minute of it. For the next hour and a half, it was a mixture of being utterly terrified and loving it.
There was one platform (each one gets longer and a little bit faster) where the wind picked up so the tree swayed. We swayed hundreds of feet up from the ground and it was beautiful. You could see all the other trees moving in the sky. It was awesome. You also do some abseiling which I was scared shitless to do because somehow I ended up being the first in the group. I am one of those people that like to see someone try something first. Nevertheless, I did it and it ended up being one of my favorite parts of zip lining!
The Speed Limit
So that was it. It was a great way to spend one of our last days in Bangkok. Despite being hella sore the next few days it was worth it. As a plus size traveler, I enjoyed myself. If anything having more pounds on ya meant at times you went VERY VERY and did I mention VERY fast. The Rangers knew what to do and don’t be too scared to try it! Feel free to message me privately for more info or to answer any questions!
- Wear comfy clothing and sunscreen
- Pray for clouds cause it actually makes it much cooler
- Selfie stick and a charged phone/GoPro
- Don’t be an idiot and wear shoes that will stay on you and also help you hoist yourself up on the platform
- Money for tipping your ranger guides (200-500 baht will do)
- Don’t expect a great lunch at all so bring water and snacks
- Make friends with your group, it helps break the ice and makes a world of a difference
- It is expensive but worth it when you think of the upkeep of the equipment and the guides