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Travel & Holiday

Have the ride of your life!

Whether it’s in the waters, up in the air or in the snow, there’s always the promise of an exhilarating experience for thrill seekers
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - September 29, 2010
By: Sheila Lim
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Have the ride of your life!

Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many ways to make ourselves quiver, scream and go limp?

Yes, it’s strange, but scaring ourselves silly can be such great fun!

Let’s check out more ways for thrill-seekers to satiate their craving for heart-churning and hair-raising holiday experiences.    

Enjoy a splashing good time  
If you are seeking an adventure that will send your heart racing, and get you laughing and screaming at the same time, go whitewater-rafting or “shooting the rapids”. 

This water-sport is so called because you’ll be riding down a very fast-flowing river on an inflatable raft, cataraft, kayak or canoe. The experience is somewhat like riding a rodeo bull. But instead of an angry beast, you’ll be tackling a raging river instead. And although you don’t have to face the danger of being gored by the animal when you get thrown off, you might be swallowed by the swirling water and swept away by the rapids.

Because of the multitude of different features which arise from the interplay between the gradient and shape of the riverbed, the velocity of the water, and the presence of obstacles like boulders, rapids are graded into different classes of difficulty (generally starting from one to six).

The initial bout of nervousness you’ll get when setting off on your journey down river will soon be replaced by feelings of exhilaration each time you encounter a different type of challenge along the way. And when it’s over, you’ll want to do it all over again!

Go on the coolest ride ever
In just a few months’ time, it’ll be winter in the northern hemisphere. As the temperature plunges, heavy snowfall and thick ice will transform many places across the region into exciting “playgrounds” for legions of winter sports enthusiasts.

Holidaymakers wishing to experience the thrill of dashing through the snow can head for winter wonderlands in places such as Scotland, Japan, Canada, North America and Europe, to indulge in adrenaline-pumping activities like mountain-skiing, snowboarding, snow kiting and dog sledding.

An example of the latter is the five-day husky safari in Harriniva (230km north of the Arctic Circle), which will take you through Lapland’s vast winter wilderness areas. Such holiday packages usually include accommodation in log cabins (with saunas), meals, cold weather clothing for the duration of your stay, fully qualified wilderness guides and instructors, and a sled with a team of four to six huskies.

You’ll be taught how to handle your team of huskies and sled before departing for the wilderness areas. You’ll cover over 40km per day, and enjoy breathtaking winter scenery along the way, as your furry friends whizz you through forests, across fells, and over frozen lakes and rivers.

There’s something else that will also thrill you to bits – witnessing the magical Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. You’ll have a better chance of doing so during the peak winter season, and in the far north where there is no light pollution.

Take off for the thrill of your life
Adventure junkies yearning to experience the freedom of soaring like eagles high up in the sky can live their fantasy through paragliding.

As with other forms of free flight, paragliding requires significant skill and training, including aeronautical theory, meteorological knowledge, weather forecasting, personal/emotional safety considerations, adherence to the relevant federal aviation regulations, and knowledge of equipment care and maintenance. Thus, a tandem flight with a certified instructor is the best option for a holidaymaker to get introduced to this exhilarating adventure sport.

Tandem flying involves a pilot/instructor flying with a passenger. Both have separate harnesses that are attached to each other and the wing, which is held up by suspension lines and the pressure of air entering the vents at the front of it.

Paragliders launch themselves for their “flight” by running over the edge of a cliff or down a mountain top. Upon catching the thermals, they become airborne and glide cross-country, from one valley to another. In areas without high launching points, paragliders may be towed aloft by a vehicle or a stationary winch, which upon release, create much the same effect as a mountain launch.

One of the most unique destinations where you can enjoy this aerial sport is Nepal, where paragliders take off from the slopes of the Himalayas and enjoy epic scenery as they soar over the Pokhara valley, amidst the world’s most magnificent peaks.

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