Battle of the Chiang Mai Ziplines – Flight of the Gibbon Vs Eagle Track
What is the best Chiang Mai Zipline? Take a look at a comparison of two of the leading companies, Flight of the Gibbon and Eagle Track.
There are literally dozens of places to get your zip lining fix in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai ziplines seem to open up every year to satisfy the demands of the millions of tourists who visit this stunning city every year. In this blog, I will take a look at two of the leading zipline companies in Chiang Mai, Flight of the Gibbon and Eagle Track, and will summarize and compare each of the tour components and give my opinion on which zipline experience is better. All of the information below is based on my first-hand experience having ziplined with both companies.
First, an overview of the two Chiang Mai ziplines. Flight of the Gibbon is listed as the original zipline canopy tour in Thailand, having been established over 8 years ago. With 3 locations in Southeast Asia, including Chiang Mai, Flight of the Gibbon is seen as the leading zipine operator in the region. Eagle Track was perhaps the 4th zipline company to open in Chiang Mai, after Jungle Flight and Flying Squirrels. When looking at pricing, Flight of the Gibbon is by far the most expensive zipline tour in Chiang Mai on offer, at a whopping 4,199 THB per person. This price includes transportation, 2.5 hours ziplining across 30 stations, lunch and a waterfall tour. There are certain perks for booking off-peak times, for example if you get picked up at 6:30am you receive a complimentary tour of the wonderful village of Mae Kampong and a free t-shirt. Eagle Track is considerably cheaper at 2,499 THB for the Gold Package. This includes transportation, 1-1.5 hours ziplining across 35 stations, lunch, a free t-shirt and a certificate to say you have completed the course. Based on details alone, Eagle Track looks the winner based on price and inclusions.
Both companies provide round-trip transportation via vans to the zipline sites. Eagle Track is approximately 40 minutes out of Chiang Mai, whilst Flight of the Gibbon is approximately 1 hour away. Both were satisfactory with Flight of the Gibbon edging out Eagle Track with newer and cleaner vans, more timely pick up and a TV screen providing something to watch on the journey. The driver with Eagle Track was also 10 minutes late.
My hands down winner for best Chiang Mai Zipline is Flight of the Gibbon. Flight of the Gibbon is set among gorgeous scenery with well-designed buildings that fit well into the landscape, whereas Eagle Track was a rather drab office area with construction going on in the vicinity. We were also greeted by Flight of the Gibbon upon leaving the vans and shown the bathrooms and area to sign the disclaimers, however we were twiddling our thumbs a little bit at Eagle Track with lots of people sitting around unwilling to help. When it came time to getting geared up, Flight of the Gibbon was also far slicker, the equipment was all very neatly hung up in a separate area, whereas the gear at Eagle Track was dumped on a table in no order. This is where we met the guides for the day and again at this point, I was not to impressed with Eagle Track, as no one even introduced themselves. But within a few minutes with the staff at Flight of the Gibbon, we were acquainted and they showed genuine interest in who we are, what we do, where we are from, etc…
Both Chiang Mai zipline tours were fun and well designed. The course at Eagle Track has far more challenge course type attractions such as different types of bridges, cargo nets and balance beams. While Flight of the Gibbon’s focus was more on longer ziplines and nature trails with some educational aspects, such as the rangers giving some facts about the flora and fauna, which I thought was a nice touch. The Eagle Track staff were nice once we got on the way, although one guide barely said a word for the duration leaving all the talking to the lead guide. Eagle Track’s focus is more on fun antics and joking around such as swinging the cables and letting you drop fast on the abseil, which was perhaps the most fun part! The actual ziplines at Eagle Track are more boring than Flight of the Gibbon, usually being just a few metres above the ground, instead of in the treetop canopy which is the norm at Flight of the Gibbon. The views were far more spectacular at Flight of the Gibbon and there was the added bonus of seeing gibbons near the longest zipline. For me personally, Flight of the Gibbon is the winner, however if you’re more into a range of activities and not so interested in the conservation side, then Eagle Track may be the better option.
This of course is a very important consideration and both of the Chiang Mai zipline companies seem to take safety seriously, although in slightly different ways. Both companies had Petzl gear, which is a famous French brand and known to be among the best safety equipment brands in the industry. Eagle Track uses an interesting double cable system, which they claim is safer. However, I doubt there is any risk of the steel cable breaking as ziplines in Europe, the US and elsewhere use the single cable with no issues. One benefit of the double cable is that you can use it for stability so if you feel yourself twisting, you can pull on a lanyard to pull you back facing the front again. With that being said, the single cable system at Flight of the Gibbon seemed fine for me and didn’t make me feel unsafe at all. Eagle Track also use a simple forked stick as a brake, so when you approach the landing platform on the longer ziplines you can use the brake to slow yourself down. This is handy but comes with implications, especially when you misuse it. Flight of the Gibbon put more emphasis on educating the visitors about the do’s and don’ts and seem more responsible with less larking around, as there was no cable swinging or dropping during my visit. They also gave checks on the gear during the tour to ensure we were safe at all times. This is difficult in terms of a winner, so I will call this a draw.
Both packages are similar and offer a couple of extras as part of the tour, including lunch and refreshments. Eagle Track provided a standard buffet style lunch consisting of green curry, fried vegetables and rice. Flight of the Gibbon went the extra mile and provided several interesting, authentic and unique dishes in a lovely setting. At Flight of the Gibbon, we even had local musicians play music in the background, which made the experience feel more unique and special. Flight of the Gibbon also include a visit to a local waterfall, which although was nothing special, was nice to see before the journey back home. There is also a small waterfall at Eagle Track and despite thinking it was part of the tour, we merely walked past it on the way back to the office. Flight of the Gibbon also offers a village tour if you book a certain time and although I did not participate, the village was lovely and well worth checking out. Again, Flight of the Gibbon is the clear winner in the extras category.
I was actually surprised at the difference between these two Chiang Mai ziplines as Eagle Track gets many 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor, but I felt Flight of the Gibbon was by far the superior of the two Chiang Mai ziplines. I think that this is reflected in the price difference. So if you’re visiting Chiang Mai, then Flight of the Gibbon is certainly worth the extra investment for a more unforgettable zipline experience. If you’re on a tight budget, then Eagle Track might be a more affordable option. You can find out more about Flight of the Gibbon on their website here.