Laos Journal - Zip Line over Tad Sae Waterfall, Luang Prabang

We love zip-lining: plain and simple. No ahs or buts! We love zooming down a wire at considerable speed. Last year in South Africa we did one in Karkloof. When we saw them advertising zip-lines in Luang Prabang we decided to do it. It looked like reasonable fun even though it didn't look as high or as fast as the Karkloof Canopy Tour. We weren't expecting too much and with low expectations we were not disappointed. We had a lot of fun doing it. Because the zip-lines were lower and not so fast we were more relaxed and more able to enjoy the rides. Also, because they weren't so fast we were able to enjoy the scenery a little more. The scenery was also a little more diverse and we did land up going over the waterfall and some elephants in the park below. That was a lot of fun. It wasn't the fastest zip-line, it wasn't the highest zip-line but it was still fun.

Queenie on the Zip-Line

The Package

On this trip we did very few adventure activities but, after a disastrous day the day before we decided to do some fun stuff. We bought a day package from a travel agent that included a walk through a Hmong Village, an Elephant ride with bath, zip-line and lunch, all of course with transport and a local English speaking guide included. The total cost for the package was US$60 per person, or US$120 for two. It was an okay price.

The Video

You can see most of the experience in the video below. The most exciting part for us was when they clipped a cable onto our backs and then expected us to free fall with our face pointing at the ground. That was a scary and intimidating experience but we both got through it okay. Other than that, we just floated between the trees, over the waterfall and back down to the bottom.

The Experience

All in all we would say it was a fun experience. Our guides were friendly but couldn't speak English. They were attentive and made sure all safety procedures were followed so we didn't feel in danger at all. My only concern was when they told me because I am over 80 kg, on one particular zip-line I would need to use a stick to brake. I wasn't that confident but the stick did its job and I stopped short of the platform. Also, they didn't give us any gloves and in the beginning I was worried that our hands might get cut by the cable or something worse but in the end everything was fine and we felt safe and secure.

Me on the Zip-Line

To get onto the zip-lines we had to walk a fair bit up the mountain. This included one particularly challenging rope ladder that was stuck in a kind of rocky outcrop. The climb itself was okay (not too high) but I managed to jam my toes between the steps on the ladder and cliff face. It was okay though and I didn't sustain any serious injury. The climb though wasn't too bad and once up and over the rope ladder we walked on for 300 m and arrived at the first platform.

Walking up the Mountain

Climbing up the Rope Ladder

The first platform and zip-line were not intimidating at all and I knew when they said I could take videos while on the zip-line that we would be going fairly slowly. It was fine. Gave me time to get some nice video and also time to enjoy the view. All-in-all there were around 20 platforms and the entire activity didn't last longer than 90 minutes (although it was probably shorter). It was very nice to actually come in over the river, waterfall and elephants and it was great to actually land and in the base camp and not actually walk anywhere.

Nice View of the Forest

The "scariest" part of the whole zip-line were the few vertical descents we had to make going down face first, with no hands, completely suspended in the air and supported by the guide. The first time we did this was really scary for us both but after the second time we were fine and found it relatively easy to do.

Getting ready to be lowered face first.

Queenie happy to be down

All-in-all it was a fun experience. We have been on faster and higher zip-lines in the past but this one was relaxed and fun and not so intimidating. We enjoyed it and would probably do it again if we ever went back to Luang Prabang.

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