Our Long Drive Home. Head for heights. UK to Australia

On their Long Drive Home, our intrepid couple spend their last day in Cambodia braving 350-metre drops on zip wires, admiring floating villages, while Jess tries not to let her fear of heights get the better of her.  

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Upon arriving in Siem Reap, we discovered there was a newly opened zip-wire rainforest adventure called Flight of the Gibbon right in the middle of all the temples. We knew we couldn’t miss out on this.

There were only four of us partaking as well as our two flight instructors Lors and Channy. We made our way into the jungle to a little practice station, which is where the fear kicked in. I am pretty afraid of heights. Panic attacks have happened over my fear of heights. The Great Wall of China freaked me out with the vertical steps, so how the hell was I going to cope on sky bridges, staircases in the treetops, and – gulp – zip wires.

The first zip wire was pretty straightforward since you could see the ground: in the unlikely event of falling, it probably/hopefully wouldn’t hurt too much.

One part of the zip wire I could not get use to though, and indeed froze at each time, was just after the instructors had attached my carabineer and trolley to the zip wire, and made you sit right on the edge of the platform. Needless to say, the idea of lifting my legs and suspending myself above a 40-metre drop completely freaked me out. But after a few attempts, I was off.

Zipping through the jungle is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had, each subsequent wire a bit longer and each staircase a little higher. In the distance we could see a tree house nestled up in the top of the canopy, the main vantage point of the experience. The view was quite stunning, and well worth all the nerves I had been feeling. But after taking in the view, there was another 350-metre zip wire to cross: so big the end of it completely disappeared into the trees. Mike was first to go and like a true hero nailed it. Then it was my turn.

I was contemplating turning back – nearly impossible anyway – and wasn’t sure if I was going to vomit. But with a few words of encouragement from our instructors, I was able to lift me feet up and make it to the other side. Unfortunately the other girl in our team wasn’t so lucky. The wind was playing havoc and ended up slowing her down completely before she’d made it to the other platform. Emergency rope was needed to rescue her from her precarious position 50 metres above the forest.

Once our feet were firmly on solid ground Lors and Channy walked us back through the rain forest explaining what leaves could be used for cooking, showing us ridiculously spiky trees and stopping off at the Gibbon enclosure. They have a male and female Gibbon that are currently in captivity for another six months until they release them back into the forest to hopefully flourish.

It’s amazing. Not only are these guys highly trained, they have a massive amount of knowledge about the jungle as well as fantastic personalities which helped my nerves a lot. Tarzan eat your heart out!

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For our last day in Siem Reap we decided to head off for a sunset meal on the local floating village. Yes, you heard that correctly.

Being a tropical country surrounded by rainforest jungle, Cambodia – as you can imagine – gets a little wet on occasion, and the local people have adapted their living quarters and standards to match the elements. This is most obvious when you head down to the town of Chong Khneas on the Tonle Sap Lake, just south of Siem Reap. All of the houses and buildings are built out of extremely strong and buoyant bamboo rides, and either sit on top of high stilts or float on top of the water completely. Even the local primary school floats, and the kids still have to make their way to the school via one boat or another. Or boxes. Or polystyrene tubs. Basically anything that floats.

The meal itself was on a beautiful boat, matched by a gorgeous sunset across the lake that we enjoyed immensely whilst reflecting on Cambodia. When we first arrived in Phnom Penh, we worried we would miss Vietnam a lot. But after the past few days of zipping around jungles, floating to restaurants, and exploring jungle temples, we have grown to love Cambodia. Fortunately the locals of Siem Reap haven’t let the growth of the town distort their happy attitude. They were just so smiley and helpful, even if you didn’t want to buy something from them.

Tomorrow we head to Thailand and Bangkok, a place that has had a tourist industry for quite a while now. For all the fun and craziness that goes on there, we have been told that the happy helpful attitude might be lacking!

– Find out how you can contribute to this charitable drive by clicking HERE, and find out where Mike and Jess are today by clicking HERE

Categories: Fast Fleet


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