The newly revamped Forest Adventure treetop obstacle course will get your heart racing and adrenalin pumping.
Claudia on the Big U obstacle.
TEXT CLAUDIA TAN PHOTOS DARREN CHANG
It was a regular day at the office when a messagen popped up on my Gmail Chat. It read: “Are you afraid of heights?” I was a little hesitant to reply. I am not afraid of heights, but dangle me from a cliff and it’s an entirely different story.
I responded with a “no”, hoping that I wasn’t getting myself into anything I would later regret.
Turns out, I had been invited to sign up for and check out the revamped Forest Adventure, Singapore’s only treetop obstacle course, where obstacles made of rope and wood are suspended from platforms of varying heights among the trees of Bedok Reservoir Park. The objective: to move from one platform to another until you reach the end.
Forest Adventure is divided into three smaller courses of varying difficulty. I signed up for the Grand Course ($50 per pax) with 44 obstacles – the highest standing at 9.3m above ground level – and three zip lines above water. Participants have to be at least 1.5m tall to do this course.
THE BIG DAY
I talked Shape associate editor Estelle and writer Dawn into joining me. As we surveyed our surroundings, we were a nervous bunch as all of us felt intimdated by the obstacles that looked larger than the photos we saw online. But there was no turning back.
General manager and instructor Mohammad Azmi Bin Rosli welcomed us and gave us a 20-minute safety briefing where we learned to put on our harnesses – it is mandatory to wear one throughout the course.
Then we were introduced to the initiation step, where we learnt how to hook ourselves onto the safety line with our karabiners. And we stayed connected to that safety line throughout the course.
Being constantly attached to the safety line allows you to embark on the obstacle course independently. The instructors were encouraging and quick to respond when we did need a helping hand.
The Grand Course at Forest Adventure.
The Grand Course was broken up into Green, Red and Black Loops, all at different heights and with different obstacles. We started with the Green Loop, which had 15 obstacles.
Our first obstacle was the Big U. We had to walk through a series of cargo nets suspended in mid-air. Taking the first step off the secure platform was both terrifying and exhilarating. But once I got started, I forgot my fears and focused on trying to wriggle my limbs out of the netting to progress forward.
It was either move or get trapped mid-air. We all opted for the former.
Interestingly, the subsequent obstacles were easier. I was often so engrossed in trying to find my footing that I barely paid attention to the possibility of falling. Perhaps it was like what Azmi, who has over eight years of experience at Forest Adventure said: the hardest obstacle is the first one.
In fact, some of the obstacles were even fun! My favourite was the Tibetan Bridge – a suspension bridge assembled from cargo netting. It was literally a walk in the park as we eased through it.
Azmi doing the safety briefing for the Shape team.
An average of two and a half hours is required to complete the initiation and the three loops of the Grand Course.
We took a little longer than expected and spent close to an hour just on the Green loop. We were ready to call it a day without attempting the Red and Black loops, but Azmi refused to let us leave without trying the Tarzan Swing, the highlight of the Grand Course, which is best described as a mini bungee jump.
Simply put, it involved leaping off a 9.6m deck to swing 15m into a net. But it definitely wasn’t all that simple. I took a step off the platform and let out a squeak as I swung face first towards the net. This one has thrill seekers written all over it.
After completing the Tarzan Swing, Azmi challenged me to try out the Grand Course’s hardest obstacle: Sherwood Crossing.
This involved a series of octagonal planks suspended in mid-air between two platforms. The planks were spread out and each was supported by a single rope from above.
Not quite sure what to expect, I went ahead. I placed one foot on the wooden plank and it immediately flipped on its side. There was no way for me to get onto the plank without falling off . I ended up hauling myself across the obstacle with my arms.
Azmi later shared the secret to completing the Sherwood Crossing, but I’m not sharing it because I don’t want to spoil your fun. However, I will say that some of the obstacles involved more strength and balance than others. And all had something in common. They gave us a sense of accomplishment as we got through each of them.
Dawn taking the Big Zip across Bedok Reservoir.
We ended our day at Forest Adventure with The Big Zip, a 300m zip line across Bedok Reservoir that took over a minute to complete. It was refreshing to feel the breeze against my skin, and the unobstructed view of the reservoir was breathtaking.
Even Dawn, who has a fear of heights, thoroughly enjoyed every second of zip-lining across the reservoir.
The day after, I was surprised to find my arms aching. The experience wasn’t that tiring but do not let that fool you into thinking you won’t be both physically and mentally worn out. Despite that, it was a day of firsts and overcoming fears that had us in great spirits afterwards.
Estelle was so relieved after completing the Tarzan Swing.
Watch a video of Claudia’s Forest Adventure experience. The digital edition of Shape is available for download at the App Store and Google Play.
All smiles after conquering Forest Adventure. That’s art director Ray on the left. He directed and shot the video.