Meet the Legend behind ziplining in Thailand
You’ve often heard the coined phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Well this can be said good and well about a mild mannered, seemingly somewhat shy man swinging to and fro amidst one of the finest zipline parks in Thailand.
Let me introduce you to Jimi Arcalas, a man with big dreams and one living the life that many only dream of. Jimmy comes to us from a town just outside of Manila, Philippines. As a young boy he was intrigued by Western television and movies. He had a tremendous imagination and dreamed of being outside of the bubble he lived in as a child. His dreams began to blossom as he worked within the hotel industry for over eighteen years. He had the opportunity to travel and spend many years in hotel management throughout the Middle East and the Pacific Islands. Through his travels he found himself in management at yet another resort, this time in South East Asia; specifically Thailand. He managed a resort that had fun indoor, outdoor activities for their guests to enjoy whilst on holiday here in amazing Thailand. Activities like paintballing, archery, horseback riding, ATV adventures, BB gun courses and even ziplining. Of all of these great activities, ziplining intrigued him the most. He was trained to inspect and test the zipline courses for safety. As he inspected the courses his mind began to wander once again and he thought to himself, “I could make these ziplines and make them even more exciting and creative. With great courage he presented his concepts and ideas to his Senior Operator. Within no time at all Jimi was being trained on how to build zipline courses and games. He had such tremendous imagination and input he was flown to one of Thailand’s exotic islands to be given more extensive training by one of France’s most well-known zipline creators. He was quite a maverick with his designs and has been sought out within Thailand by working with or creating 5 zipline theme parks in this amazing nation. Having had opportunity to travel for six years throughout Thailand he discovered very quickly that Krabi had a special place in his heart. He loved the Southern Thai culture, the diversity of food and especially being nestled against the Andaman Sea. Being in high demand he was approached by a new venture that was going to be coming to Ao Nang. It was going to be a wonderful resort and spa, a place nestled amongst towering tree lines, overlooking the limestone mountains and the beautiful turquoise sea. They knew that a zipline park would be a ranked feature to their resort as well as the lovely Asean Park and organic garden they had planned to forge. Jimi was in on the venture and was given kart blanch in creating the zipline adventure park of his dreams.
Up to this point in time Jimi had already constructed 82 different games for zipline enthusiasts to be challenged and very well satisfied by. This new site would open once again his passion for dreaming big and allowing his imagination to take him to higher heights. He would finally be given enough rope to create his extreme zipline advnetures; literally. He took the offer to become a part of the Ao Nang Fiore Resort and Spa in Ao Nang, Krabi. He began to create games that were taken from his favorite super heroes, epic Hollywood films and even video games. To name a few of his particular favorites are the Harry Potter, Spiderman web, sky bike and even Super Mario. When building this park he kept in mind the adult who wants an extreme challenge. To the child who was possibly for the first time going to see his or her world from heights he or she had never mastered. Nearing the anniversary of its inception people from all over the world is now given opportunity to enjoy a total of 56 games. From the safety training course, the easy course and even the extreme course soaring at heights of 23 meters, there is something for everyone.
While sitting with Jimi at a soft seated bamboo table finalizing our time together. Jimi looked at me with a childish grin and he said, “I love Krabi for its natural beauty and I love the friendly people. I will always love ziplining because every time I hear the shrill and the laughter from our guests it keeps me young”. Jimi is a real testament of how to stay 58 years young.
Rarely is Jimi not to be found at the Ao Nang Fiore Zipline Adventure Park. They are open seven days a week, 9-5pm daily. Go and meet the legend yourself and you see just how he lives to soar above it all and to have people just like you laugh him into living like a king; the king of the zipline.