Believe it or not, you can run out of patience for temples, even in Siem Reap.
The Flight of the Gibbon is advertised EVERYWHERE in town. It might seem impossible that repeated, controlled falling can justify the lavish reviews and the prices, but it does. It really does. Who wants to jump off of a wooden platform 60ft up a tree to zipline down a budget rope?
Flight of the Gibbon will pick you up from your hotel early for a solid few hours of quality ziplining. You’ll turn up expecting some ziplining, but it’s worth clarifying quite how much there is. They have you ziplining for so long that there’s a break in the middle for a drink and a doze in a treehouse.
After eight ziplines and multiple skybridges of swaying planks and rope bridges you’ll find coming down to earth a strange change. The excellent design keeps bringing new vistas and views; there are short, steep lines which take your breath away, and long ones where the guides will challenge anyone who seems to be getting the hang of it to try out dances and poses, to grab a selfie or to simply stare and take in the height, the view and the ocean of treetops that seem to stretch forever.
Even if you enjoy climbing or heights in other circumstances it’s hard to know how you’ll feel climbing up a solidly built but swaying spiral staircase up through a tree canopy haunted by the unplacable screams of birds and insects. Fortunately the guides are slick professionals when it comes to safety, keep the group moving fast without ever feeling rushed and are sensitive coaches and entertainers who know how to spot and manage a group’s fears with no hint of patronizing anyone.
On our way up they distracted one couple who were struggling by pointing out birds (what do you mean you can’t see it, it’s right there! No, there!) that we only realised at the top of the stairway didn’t exist. When a reviewer who will remain nameless found the view between the planks of a skybridge a bit much, the two guides got her involved in their mocking of one another’s hapless love lives.
The view of the forest from above is extraordinary, and Flight of the Gibbon is actively involved in improving it. In 2014, they released a pair of gibbons that they'll be proud to tell you have already had a baby - the first of all those released by conservationists that year. Pictures of mum and dad and growing baby gibbon adorn the site’s entrance.
Apparently, zipline groups spot the family every now and again, but even if you’re not one of the lucky ones, there’s a lot to see in the treetops and the day ends with a ten-minute walk through the forest during which guides will weave in facts about the smaller forest life into funny stories.
A huge, multi-course mid-afternoon lunch for the group is included, where you and the three to eight (group sizes vary) new friends you’ll have made that day can get your stories straight about exactly how brave you all were.