As Tourism on Koh Samui moves with the times, fresh attractions and actiities are emerging every yuear, and one area that appears to be exploding on this island at the moment is adventure sport. Diving has been popular for several years, but more recently we have also seen the arrival of bungy jumping, rock climbing, kiteboarding, quad biking and paintball. The latest, and perhaps most widely accessible of these adventure activities to arrive on Samui, is the Canopy Adventure. Canopy rides have been popular for some time in the world’s rainforests and jungle, which is one reason why Michael Mandell, the managing director of Canopy Adventure Thailand , decided to constuct a site. in the monuntains on Koh Samui. He enlisted the skills of Khun Ashok Upadhya, an engeiner from the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and spent time finding the right Location. He needed an area with plenty of tall, sturdy trees that would provide both the necessary support to find somewhere that was accessible enough for people to reach easily from the beach. Fortunately, he found exactly the spot, in the forest near Mae Nam, and that is where the Canopy Adventure centre is now lacated, amid one of the most unspoilt, natural settings on the island. Experiencing the thrill of a canopy ride is made easy by the fact that Canopy Adventures pick up and drop off all their visitors from their hotel. This also make it possible to insert a few hours of excitement into your day, without having to spend unneccessary amounts of time getting to and from a remote location. You are dropped at the base of small mountain, and as you walk up the track to the office, you feel as if you have been transported to another part of the world. There’s no traffic noise, no crowds, no pollution, in fact all you heear is the sound of the birds, and the gushing water that pours from the nearby ‘ Secret falls ’. The trip involves a fair, but manageable amount of walking, so wear strong shoes. The rest of the equipment is provided on site, and consists of world class Telzl brand mountaineering technology, including a harness, safety straps, carrabeaner climbing clips, and special double wheel, tandem pullyes for a smoother ride down the cable. So lets take a ride.
There are four sections to a Samui canopy ride, and the first run is a gentle slope to get people used to the experience. One guide goes first to demonstrate, then positions himself at the next platform where he can use hand signals to tell the riders to speed up or slow down as ther travel down the cable. The instuctor also explains each section. And will also send a guide down t accompany a rider who si nervous or unsure of the technique. The second run is a lttle steeper and faster than the first, which makes for a real thrill, and by the third run, most people are ready to take in the wonderful scenery as they skim from tree top to tree top like a bird. It’s a truly exhilarating experience being up where humans don’t usually travel, and the spectacular stting adds to the sense of freedom and elation. After a challenging little climb down a set of ladders to reach the lower platforms, the last run is a long, sweeping trip through the canopy, allowing riders to really let themselves go, and even to jump from the platform for extra speed. It’s a fabulous sensation, and one that many people find they want to repeat.