With 30 stretches of Flying Fox and numerous other challenges, Skytrex Adventure Sungai Congkak pushes Loong Wai Ting to the limits of her endurance
“PEOPLE who say they’re afraid of heights are actually afraid of falling. It has nothing to do with heights,” I tell my friend, hoping that my words will comfort her somehow.
A momentary look of discomfort crosses her face as an employee from the newly-opened Skytrex Adventure Sungai Congkak does a final check on our safety gear.
“What if it breaks?,” my friend asks, licking her dry lips.
Smiling, I assure her that everything will be fine. “Here, let me show you,” I say before stepping out of the solid platform that separates us from the safe haven and the two-storey drop below.
I give a few twirls while being suspended in the air to show her that if the rope can withstand my weight, it will do the same for her who weighs half my weight.
Her knuckles turn white as she holds the rope tightly. She gives me her final are-you-sure look. With a smile, I bop my head up and down.
The moment she pushes herself off the ledge, she lets out a shriek which prompts visitors at the park to look up with startled looks. “See it’s not that bad,” I say, noting that the colour has returned to her face.
We are still at the starting point of our course, the Initiation Point, where we are given a briefing on how to handle safety equipment and familiarise ourselves with height, balancing and speed at the mini versions of Ladder Up, Liana Walk and Flying Fox.
During the briefing, the employee assures us that we can opt out anytime by informing the staff and following the “Chicken Exit” near each challenge.
TREE TO TREE CHALLENGE
Located in Sungai Congkak Recreational Forest in Hulu Langat on the outskirts of Selangor, Skytrex Adventure Sungai Congkak is the latest of three Skytrex parks in Malaysia. Its older counterparts are located in Melaka and Langkawi.
Still maintaining its tree-to-tree forest adventure, the park is the brand’s first Flying Fox park as it maps out 30 stretches of Flying Fox challenges in both of its routes River Thrill (Intermediate) or Rapid Extreme (Advanced).
River Thrill has a variety of challenges like Monkey Bar, Hug Pipe, Step Bridge and Fish Bone interlaced with Flying Fox throughout the route. An intermediate route, the River Thrill has four Chicken Exits.
Unlike River Thrill, Rapid Extreme pumps up the adrenaline with a series of Flying Fox challenges with only ascending and descending Walking Pipes for some breather. There are only two Chicken Exits but the route loop ends with a Golden Slide.
My friend and I take up both challenges in its Double Dare category.
It’s a good thing we arrive early. Not only do we get a good start before the crowds arrive, we also get to spend more time on the challenges.
There is no one to rush us as we carefully navigate the Fish Bone — a tightrope across the rapids below with a half-cut rubber pipe resembling a fish bone.
Grabbing onto the rubber pipe, we move in a zig zag motion across the tightrope, all the while trying our best not to look down. I almost lose my balance while navigating the last few steps, no thanks to the morning drizzle which makes the rope slippery with every step.
After steadying myself on the wobbly tightrope, I make it across without any further hitch.
My arms begin are beginning to ache but I still have a long way to go.
Next, I find myself in front of the Monkey Bar. Wiping the sweat off my forehead, I push myself forward, one bar at a time.
It may look easy but it’s harder than it seems. I have to rely on all the strength in my arms and use my upper body to haul myself up every time I move forward.
The hardest challenge is yet to come. After this Monkey Bar challenge, I come face to face with one of the toughest obstacles yet: the Ascending Walking Pipe.
About 30cm-long, rubber tubes replace the wooden planks. As it is quite slippery, walking across the suspended bridge proves to be a tough challenge.
Each course takes us higher and deeper into the jungle. It doesn’t take long before we realise that we’ve climbed the highest tree in the park, about five storeys high. There’s only one way down: Flying Fox.
The Flying Fox is my favourite part of the entire course. Instead of relying on my fast-depleting strength, I let my weight and momentum do the work.
Securing the double-safety clip on the tight wire above me, I push myself off the small standing platform that is built close to the trees. It’s a huge drop but that’s the least of my concerns for now.
My only worry is to squeeze between the two trees in front of me. The space is big enough for me to pass through with my arms close together, without bumping my head on either side.
Zipping across the forest floor that’s half the size of a football field, I find myself getting close to the starting point. I later learn that no matter which course we choose, we will always end up at the starting point.
All in, we go through 12 stretches of Flying Fox and a number of suspended bridges that soar 200m above the ground.
My favourite part is zip-lining across Sungai Congkak where I can see families setting up their picnic below.
Our three-hour adventure ends with an adrenaline-pumping slide down a giant slide that’s attached at an angle from a tree. And you know what? At no point during our exertions did we think of opting out at any of the Chicken Exits!
RIVER THRILL VS RAPID EXTREME
For those who are thinking of taking up the challenge, be forwarned that though the River Thrill is considered a beginner’s course, some of its obstacles like the Monkey Bar require good upper body strength.
If you’re not used to physical activity, the River Thrill is the better choice due to its easier course.
For those who like to challenge themselves, then the Rapid Extreme is for you. I love the challenges here as they are not only more physically punishing but also require mental strength.
There was a time when I felt I couldn’t climb another step on the ladder but I pushed myself.
For the challenging Hug Pipe, you need to hug the pipes and “haul” yourself forward; and in the Ladder Up, you climb a three-storey high tree.
CHALLENGES FOR ALL LEVELS
SKYTREX Adventure offers various levels of challenges for outdoor enthusiasts. It operates parks in Selangor, Langkawi and Melaka.
The operation is headed by Frenchman Julien Repellin as technical director and Malaysian Azlan Idrus as managing director.
Skytrex is managed by over 40 workers and more than 50 young and dynamic instructors.
WHAT TO BRING
• Camera and GoPro are permissable but do inform the staff so that they can provide a safety kit for your equipment.
• To stay hydrated, remember to bring a small water bottle. You will be given a small sling bag to put your water bottle in. You can also bring a big bottle and store it at the locker provided.
• A pair of gloves are important. If you don’t have any, the park sells gloves at RM10 per pair. Gloves are important as they protect your hands when climbing or when you are handling safety equipment.
• Bring a set of clothes to change into because you will sweat a lot by the time you’re done with the challenges.
SKYTREX SUNGAI CONGKAK
Batu 20, 1/2, Jalan Sungai
Congkak, Kampung Padang,
Hulu Langat, Selangor
TEL 013-276 9841
HOURS Open daily including public holidays from 9am - 6pm.
PAY All tickets must be purchased online via the website. For River Thrill, it’s RM55 per pax while Rapid Extreme is priced at RM65 per pax. There are also Double Dare tickets at RM110 per pax. Refer to the website for the best rates.
Pictures by SKYTREX SUNGAI CONGKAK