Zip lining in Chiang Mai is one of the best activities in Northwest Thailand. A full course of zip lines whips you through the jungle canopy showing off the fun and beauty Thailand is known for. Here’s exactly why a Chiang Mai zip line tour should be on your bucket list!
Chiang Mai is an adventure lover’s paradise. Just outside of the city of Chiang Mai you’ll find Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s tallest mountain, scores of popular waterfalls and hiking trails, mountain biking, white water rafting, and our personal favorite- zip lining.
Adrenaline junkies looking for adventure in Chiang Mai should make zip lining their first stop. Zip lining Chiang Mai leads to incredible jungle views, gets you up close and personal with the wildlife and vegetation of Northwest Thailand, and allows you to defy gravity for the thrill of a lifetime.
Here’s what you can expect when zip lining in Chiang Mai:
Step 1: Getting to your canopy tour
The zip line tour company you work with will pick you up from your hotel or condo in Chiang Mai. Zip line tours take place at least one hour outside of the city along windy jungle roads. This is a great opportunity to sit back and enjoy the landscape around you!
Once you arrive at the tour’s headquarters you’ll be asked to sign a waiver. Don’t be alarmed- this is standard practice by adventure companies around the world. It is possible to get hurt while zip lining, but very unlikely.
Step 2: Getting fitted for your zip line harness and helmet
Safety is always most important to any zip line tour agency, so after you’ve signed your waiver zip lining guides will help you into a harness and helmet. This may take a few minutes, because they will make sure everything is attached correctly and fitted properly.
Don’t be alarmed if a man is helping put a harness on a female. If this makes you uncomfortable you can ask for a female guide to help you, or ask for instructions to do it yourself.
They take precautions for safety with helmets, too. You’ll be given a bandana to wear over your hair before putting the helmet on, which helps the helmet stay clean and protects your hair from getting caught in the helmet or line wires. Don’t worry, they will either give you the bandana or wash them afterwards!
Step 3: Time to go zip lining!
The zip lining location will be a little ways away from the company headquarters. Since zip lines start from a high point you’ll need to walk uphill to begin the zip lining tour. Hopefully one of your tour guides will take this hike as an opportunity to point out local animal and plant species! We were able to see coffee beans, Butterfly Peas, and gibbons!
Once you reach the zip lining area you’ll be briefed on how to safely get on and off the platforms and what to expect when zip lining in Chiang Mai. Guides will demonstrate how to hold the harness while flying and what not to do, and how the rolling mechanism works.
It’s ok if you’re feeling too nervous to really pay attention here, they will be sure things are done properly as you go. The most important thing to remember is to not touch the wire in front of your rollers!
Most Chiang Mai zip line tours offer 10-17 zips (how many times you fly on a line). It will take 90 minutes – 2 hours to complete a tour, giving you plenty of time to get over any fears and enjoy yourself!
The tour will end close to the zip line headquarters. Before leaving you’ll be treated to a local Thai lunch in the company’s campus restaurant. This meal makes the entire experience even more special! You will not only get to fly through the Thai jungle, you also get a hefty portion of local food and culture at the same time!
Step 4: Have an amazing time
The best reason to go zip lining in Chiang Mai is the sensation of flying through the jungle. Even if you’re afraid of heights (like I am) you soon realize the harness is very secure and there is virtually no threat of falling.
Once you’re able to relax the sights are incredible! You will soar from one platform to another over rivers, through mist, and past palm trees.
A zip line tour is long enough to allow time to experience different things while in the air. Spend a few zips looking around and marvel at the nature around you, then take a few to try twists and acrobatics in the air to enhance the feeling of flying. When you have so many zips at one time you really can enjoy every aspect of the trip!
The best zip line tour in Chiang Mai
When we chose to go zip lining in Chiang Mai, Thailand, our choice for tour operators was obvious: Flight of the Gibbon.
Flight of the Gibbon is the original zip line tour company in Thailand. They have been operating in Chiang Mai for over ten years, with a second location in Bangkok. You can bet they’ve figured out all the fine points of zip lining in Thailand in that amount of time!
Even though we’ve been zip lining around a dozen times in 5 different countries I’m still afraid of heights.
It always takes me one or two zips to really let go and enjoy the experience, so it’s important to me to choose a company that will make me feel safe and comfortable. I was always in good hands with Flight of the Gibbon! Our shuttle van driver was nice, the attendants who helped us with our harnesses and helmets were patient and knowledgeable, and our tour guides were fun and attentive.
Here’s what we loved about Flight of the Gibbon zip lining
There are a lot of things that stood out to me with Flight of the Gibbon!
Super small tour groups with a personal touch
I’m used to flying with a large group of people. It’s not unusual to have 10 or more tourists and at least 4 guides with a couple of photographers all flying together, which is always fun but a little hectic.
Our tour on Flight of the Gibbon was only 8 people TOTAL! We had 6 tourists and 2 guides, which made it easier to get to know each other and our guides. We also went a lot faster, since there wasn’t much down time between flyers!
The huge variety of zips Flight of the Gibbon offers
Not only did we have 12 incredible zips, there was a lot of variety built in!
Two of the zips were done in pairs, so a couple was attached to parallel lines and sent out at the same time. It’s so fun to fly next to a loved one! A photographer was set up on these lines, too, to get professional pictures of us having a great time together.
My favorite zip was done “Superman” style. The guides attached the line to the back of harnesses, instead of the front, which meant we had to jump off the platform to create enough force to move forward. We were just as secure as we are when traditional zip lining, but it was so much more exhilarating to jump off a platform without being able to see the supports!
It took me a few seconds to gather my courage to make the jump, but once I did I felt that familiar flying sensation just like any other zip. Instead of propelling toward a platform, however, we were flown into a giant rope net! It took more courage to gather my energy to pull myself up to the platform, where I crumbled into an exciting mess.
Ben and Whit’s favorite parts of the zip line were two rappels we were given. Instead of taking a zip line or hiking to our next line, twice we were attached (very safely) to ropes and slowly rappelled down to the next zip. I’ve never seen rappelling on a zip line tour, and we absolutely loved this extra opportunity to feel some adrenaline!
Lunch with Flight of the Gibbon
We were famished by the time we finished our zip line tour.
Once we arrived back at headquarters we got help to take our gear off and then were given a voucher for lunch at their restaurant across the street.
The restaurant was a single level of large tables under a canopy. One side of the restaurant had a group of Thai musicians, which made the experience even more authentic. We sat with the other four members of our group and plates of veggies, chicken, curry, rice, and papaya salad were brought for us to eat family style.
It was all delicious! Seriously. Foods I don’t normally like were amazing, and we ended up finished every morsel!
This was also a great opportunity to talk with our zip lining mates more. We were able to learn about them and their travels, compare experiences, and give some advice. There’s nothing like having a great experience and making friends along the way!
There are a ton of opportunities for amazing adventures in and around Chiang Mai, Thailand, and flying through the air is only one of them. If you’ve ever wondered how it feels or been curious to see the canopy of a jungle then you must try zip lining in Chiang Mai! Its safe, easy, and full of adrenaline!
Planning a trip to Chiang Mai and looking for adventure? Pin this article for later!
*We received entrance on the Flight of the Gibbon zip line tour in exchange for promotional consideration. We were truly blown away with our zip line experience, and all opinions are my own*