Gear up, clip in and step off the platform. That’s all there is to zip-lining, right?
Not so much in Laos, where everything runs a bit slower and more relaxed. Getting to the site, for instance, was a 2+ hour adventure out of Vientiane, including a van, a transfer to another truck at a random turn-off and eventually a 20 minute boat ride up the river which was one of the high points of the day.
Puttering up the river we passed lots of locals, including these women fishing:
There was a lunch break and then some hiking; you have to get to the top of the canopy somehow. And the views along the way were nothing to sneer at.
From there it really was just a matter of getting the gear on and jumping off the platform, trusting that the wire would hold and that the ride would be worthwhile. It did and it was!
There was more to the day than just the zip-lines. The path through the trees also included "obstacles" of a sort, challenges to get past as we moved between the zip-line runs. They were both fun and a bit difficult, though we all made it through OK.
The longest of the runs was over 180 meters; the highest was 37 meters off the forest floor. That’s something like 20 seconds of flying, spinning and dodging the occasional errant branch. And there were a bunch of "flights" during the afternoon.
There were also a couple spots where we had to change elevations, with the guides lowering us down. Not nearly as exciting, but some great views as we did it.
And then it was back on the boat and back down river. More time to check out the locals and just relax before the van ride back into town.
Overall this was a great way to spend the afternoon. We knew that we’d be desperately bored in Vientiane and got lucky wandering past the kiosk downtown for Green Discovery Tours. It didn’t take long for them to get us signed up for their tour going out to Nam Lik. And their team was incredibly professional, helping and encouraging where needed, focused on safety and able to have a ton of fun while doing it.