Words by Looi Sue-chern
Literally flying but actually zipping from tree to tree on steel cable secured on harness is my idea of fun. The thrill is flying across a distance of over 200m of steel cable above the Seven Wells waterfalls 91 metres below.
This new attraction is operated by Umgawa Legendary Adventures in the Machinchang Geoforest Park. Its Umgawa Zipline Eco Canopy Tour is a guided adventure that lets you ‘fly’ from tree to tree at the canopy.
Named after the word “umgawa” that Tarzan used to communicate with animals on the silver screen, Umgawa Legendary Adventures has 12 ziplines secured on big tree trunks in the rainforest canopy and high suspension bridges.
Some of the lines are over 200m long. This might sound scary but it is a safe and leisurely tour up in the canopy, speaking from experience.
Before you begin, you will be introduced to your guides or sky rangers. Every group – may it be a single customer or up to nine – will be accompanied by two sky rangers, so there will always be one ranger taking care of customers at each end of the zipline.
Your rangers will strap you up in a harness and put a helmet on you. These you will wear the entire time until you finish your zipline course. Their close attention and strict observance of safety procedures will leave you with no feeling of being unsafe. Earlier, they take you through the how-to’s, and the do’s and don’ts in show-and-tell fashion at a demonstration zipline.
Next, the first zipline is short to give you a good feel and be settled. They handle your gear and harness. They are really your best friends up there on the fibreglass tree platforms.
The rangers will tell you what to do and keep you hooked to the safety lines at all times. While up there, you may test them with questions about the geoforest park, the wildlife and plants.
While it may be like a walk in the park, while hanging and flying in the air, you would gasp at the seventh zipline. It measures over 200m from one tree to another across the valley over the waterfall.
The distance will make you have second thoughts but once you are flying, there is nothing else to do but enjoy the view of the waterfall on your right, the Andaman Sea on your left and people frolicking in the pools below.
After another two short ziplines and a suspension bridge, there is another long one across the valley to return to the other side. It should be a piece of cake by now.
Towards the end of the tour, there is a double zipline dubbed “Double Jeopardy” that allows two or honeymooners to fly together to the next platform. On the last platform, you will be lowered to the ground 25m below slowly from the tree platform using a controlled descent device.
Even if you fear heights, this is still a fun and non-extreme activity to consider.
By the way, my guides during my recent visit were Sal, the first woman sky ranger in Southeast Asia; and Kim. Hats off to them.
The zipline tour that takes two and a half hours and suitable for youngsters from five years old and above.
Umgawa Legendary Adventures Address : Seven Wells Waterfall, JalanTelagaTujuh, Padang Matsirat. website : www.ziplinelangkawi.com