|Reaching new heights at Phuket Tree Adventure|
(Dear grandma, he's wearing a safety harness.)
My announcement that we were going to Phuket, Thailand was met with a total lack of enthusiasm from the kids. We'd been away from Penang for 6 weeks, and all they wanted to do was hang out in their tropical island home, not on a different tropical island. (It's a very hard life we lead.) So, I took my own advice and included them in the trip planning hoping to stir up a little interest. That's how we found ourselves high up in the trees at Phuket Tree Adventure, a.k.a. Xtrem Aventures, a recreational ropes course with plenty of high elements. My oldest boy loved climbing oak trees back in Austin, and the tall, skinny palm trees of Malaysia have proven to be very difficult to scale. This was his big chance to spend the morning in the treetops. It was suited for his younger siblings, too.
The session began with outfitting my son and hubby with safety helmets, gloves and harnesses. No helmets were big enough to fit hubby's cranium which is large even by Western standards. He just perched the largest one on top, strapped it on, and hoped for the best. A quick training session just a meter off the ground showed them the ropes. (Sorry, couldn't help myself. I had to get that joke in here somewhere.) They were supposed to use the two carabiners clipped in opposite directions on the safety rope and never have both unhooked at the same time. When my younger two kids saw them zipline a few feet off the ground, they really wanted to give it a try, too. But I had other things in store for them.
|This zip-line is just his mama's speed.|
Phuket Tree Adventure isn't just ziplining, though. It's a ropes course requiring upper body strength, balance, and plenty of courage. If you've stayed up all night partying, perhaps you should stay away.
Hubby's height helped out when climbing up a tree using handholds or stepping from disk to disk to get to the next platform. My son's size, however, was better suited to scampering through the hamster tunnels between the trees. My boy took great joy turning around every now and then to tell his dad, "You're going to love this one. Ha ha ha!"
|Not just another walk in the park|
Four different courses are rated from Easy to Difficult to Challenging. Although kids as young as 6-years-old are allowed on the course with a continuous belay system, my hubby was glad all the kids didn't come along. For one thing, there's no way I would have gone, so he'd be single-parenting in the treetops. They younger one could have done the two easy courses but even my taller than average 9-year-old would have had trouble reaching with his arms and legs on the difficult course.
|Swinging from tree to tree|
Hubby said he wasn't afraid until the last element on the Challenging course. Being in a tree 40 meters (120 feet) above the ground isn't for the faint of heart. All he needed to do was zipline across, climb down, and check it all off as D-O-N-E. But fate had other plans. He whacked into the tree at the far side, bounced back, and came to rest suspended by the ropes and harnesses 20 feet from the platform. After a few minutes pulling himself along hand-over-hand, he reached his destination. Whew!
What were the younger kids and I doing these couple of hours? We were hanging out in the Accro Spider — 21 easy stations similar to the ones the big guys were doing but with a safety net underneath instead of a belay system. One parent there even managed to do this course carrying an iPad to take photos! I felt sorry for a youngster in another family who watched us longingly from the ground because all she got to do was stand next to mum on the trail who was taking pictures of others on the ropes course.
|Younger tykes can have fun without giving mama a heart attack.|
Reaching from piece to piece was a little hard for my daughter, and she was scared to drop down from the flying fox to the platform a little way below her dangling feet. My heart warmed when I saw her brother reach up from the net to help her get across. He was quite good at the course and had me time him as he raced around and around. Or he'd just lay down with his arms crossed behind his head on the swaying net as if it was the world's biggest hammock and declare, "This is the life."
Even I got into the act. As I was walking toe-to-heel across a rope, hanging on to the two support ropes on either side of me at hip level, I jinxed myself by saying, "I'm not cut out to be a tightrope walker." Boom! Next thing I knew, my feet slipped off, and I was suddenly straddling the rope.
This place turned out to be great fun for everyone. I would definitely say it rescued our trip from being "Bleh" in the kids' eyes to "Yeah!"
If You Go:
Xtrem Aventures Phuket (also called Phuket Tree Adventure)
Located on the southern part of Phuket, near the Big Buddha
Open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with last start at 3:00 p.m.
Closed during heavy rains and storms (because they're not lunatics)
Will pick up from hotel for a 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. playtime
Tree Adventure courses: Adults 1,900 baht and Kids 6-12 years 1,200 baht
Accro Spider Kids Zone: Adults 600 baht and Kids 4-12 years 400 baht
R&R in Phuket, Thailand
Snorkeling at Thailand's Racha Yai Island
This post is part of Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom? Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.