My very first zipline experience was on the smaller version ‘flying fox’ when I was about 10 years old. I absolutely loved it, but only had the chance to go on that one line, one time. I remember I wanted more, but never got the chance to do it again until many, many years later. And even then, that adrenaline rush while zipping down the lines will never be enough.
So during my recent trip to Langkawi, I jumped at the chance of going on the zipline again! During my last visit to the island (read about it here), I heard about the newly opened (at the end of 2016) Umgawa Legendary Adventures, and their crazy fun series of ziplines across the rainforests of Langkawi. The company was wonderful enough to extend an invitation to my travel buddy, Caroline and I to experience their zipline adventure — so off we went for a fun-filled time.
Umgawa Legendary Adventures
You’ve probably come across of the word Umgawa before — the one and only Tarzan echoes the phrase as he swings across the trees, calling out to the jungle and everything in it. This hints at the chance for you to scream “Umgawa!” at the top of your lungs as you zipline through the rainforests of Langkawi!
Umgawa Legendary Adventures is an eco-tour course that offers the highest and the longest ziplines on Langkawi with spectacular views of the ocean, the rainforest and the Seven Wells Waterfalls (Telaga Tujuh). What’s most important is that safety is very much observed here — the course and cables are EN certified, and two well-trained safety rangers are assigned on every tour to help with all the procedures required. I absolutely loved the fact that I could just continuously fly and soar through the forest without a worry in the world.
Some Practical Information
Umgawa Legendery Adventures is located at Jalan Telaga Tujuh on the northwest part of Langkawi island. It is about a half-hour ride away from the the main stretch of Cenang via taxi, at a fixed rate of RM35 (US$8) per way. It is also pretty easy to get a return taxi, as Umgawa is located at the foot of the mountain of the Seven Wells Waterfall, which is a popular tourist attraction. There are also plenty of parking spaces available.
The first zipline slot for the eco-tour begins at 8.30am in the morning, and ends at 3.30pm daily. They run at a 15 minute interval with a maximum number of 9 guests per slot. The entire adventure lasts approximately 3 hours (it also depends on how long you need to get mentally ready to take the leap), and costs RM499 (US$110) per person. Minimum age is 5 years old and the maximum weight is 120kgs. Everything is provided for, so just bring comfortable clothes, sports shoes, and a large amount of courage!
Safety Briefing and Facilities
As with most adventure activities, the very first thing we had to do upon arriving at the Umgawa center was to sign the waiver form. Caroline and I were then weighed before being strapped into the appropriate harnesses according to our weights. We were also provided with an Umgawa bandana to be worn underneath our helmets.
Once geared, the two guides assigned to our group (Hafiz and Adha) proceeded to give us our safety briefing — telling us the do’s and don’ts while on the course, and explaining what to do when encountering certain situations. They also warned us that if we failed to follow the rules, they have the power to terminate our tour.
I brought my handphone with me, as I had straps to keep it secured. Cameras are only allowed if it comes with a shoulder strap, and go-pros must have the appropriate mount (they are available for rent). There might also be a professional photographer on site, and you can purchase your pictures (if any) at the end of the tour. Lockers are available to store personal belongings.
The Adventure Begins
Once we were all briefed and ready, we were brought to the base of Mount Mat Cincang for our hike up the stairs to the starting point of the zipline — now, this is the only form of exercise that is needed for the entire course. Being fit is not a requirement to zipline through the forest!
The first zipline is relatively short and low, and is meant to be an introduction to what’s to come. Our two guides, Hafiz and Adha, were there with us every step of the way so I always felt extremely safe — one was beside me to prep me for my take off, and the other was waiting on the other side to catch my landing. They were completely in charge of the harnesses, clipping and unclipping it for us throughout the course. Safety is their number 1 priority so I was in good hands.
After the first zipline, I was all pumped up and ready to hit the big ones!
Flying Across the Rainforest
I love getting my adrenaline pumping, and excitement like this is what I look forward to. It was absolutely thrilling zipping across the 12 ziplines — each getting longer and longer as we went further along the course. The longest zipline measures at 200 meters, and offers the most spectacular view of the Seven Wells Waterfalls. I just couldn’t get enough!
It was also fun walking along the 3 suspended bridges,and ziplining side by side with Caroline on the double zipline, also known as the ‘honeymoon’ zipline. She was terrified for most of the course (she’s afraid of heights), but managed to make it through the entire tour, thanks to the excellent handling of the guides. I was impressed with how patient and accommodating they were — so if you’re afraid, don’t be.
And after ziplining to our heart’s content, the course ends with an abseil all the way down to the forest floor. What a way to finish it off with a bang!
What to See and Expect
While ziplining through the rainforest — remember to always keep your eyes open to witness the beauty that is Langkawi. From the waterfalls and the ocean in the distance, to the flora and fauna in the forest; there is just so much to see and admire.
One of the elements that makes Umgawa different from the many other alternative adventure activities on the island is the eco-education provided on the tour. At every platform that we landed on, our guides would tell us stories of Langkawi; point out the many different plants (the wild mango trees, the tongkat ali plants, the old trees and parasitic plants); as well as talk about the wildlife that live in the forest (hornbills, bees, monkeys). Both our guides Hafiz and Adha were knowledgeable and fun, and that made the tour all the more interesting, and educational.
My Zipining Experience
I had a ball of a time on my ziplining adventure with Umgawa Legendary Adventures. The entire process was just so unforgettable — the glee of seeing the next zipline, the anticipation while watching the person before you glide into the distance, the excitement when being clicked onto the lines, the turn of the stomach just before taking off… and most importantly, the wind in my hair as I zipped through the forest, accompanied by the ‘zzzzzzz-ing’ sound from the zipline. I can still recall that distinct buzzing sound as I write this post.
One of my new years’ resolutions for 2017 is do as many adventure activities as I can during the year — and I’m glad that I have gotten off to a great start! Thank you team Umgawa for this amazing experience; and a big shout-out to my friend Caroline, who despite being deathly afraid of heights, was willing to do this with me.
*She Walks the World went on the ziplining adventure with Umgawa Legendary Adventures as a guest. As always, all opinions stated here are my own.
*Photos credited to the official photographer of Umgawa Legendary Adventures.