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Challenge course offers new Hue to see historic royal city

Update: August, 01/2014 - 08:58
Child's play: Adventurous games for kids at Alba Thanh Tan hot spring. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu
by Phuoc Buu

In case you want to do something else besides visiting the heritage sites of the former royal capital Hue, then take a trip to a place on the city's outskirts.

The distance, 30km from the city centre, is not too much, as you can travel by local buses, motorbikes, or hire a van with a driver. After travelling 20km towards the north on the national highway, take a left turn at the An Lo crossroads. The drive on the next 10km of rural roads is quite smooth until you see mountains and greenery.

The view of the Thanh Tan hot springs is nice, but enjoy that later. Try adventurous games first to burn some calories, and then move on to the other enjoyable activities, as was my experience.

Intrigued by the games which were launched in March, my friend and I took a trip to the site in early July. I was informed that the games equipment was supplied and installed by a qualified French contractor. I got some assurance on hearing that.

I tried the Highwire first, after a short guidance and trial by the service staff. Highwire is a game that has challenges set at a height of six metres above the ground. It has two main courses, moving from easy to difficult levels, on a total length of 587m. There are 32 activities set up on 1,463 hanging wooden logs.

Adventure: Riding the Zipline. — VNS Photos Vinh Bao Huy

Standing at a height of 6m was no big deal as I have been on coconut trees that are much higher than that. I stepped onto the first swinging bridge that was very unstable. A single wooden plank was hanging from four ropes in the air. It was so unsteady that I lost control for a while before I was able to move forward. The game does not allow you to give up once you have started. The only way to get off is to jump down.

I was a little bit angry and asked myself why I had decided to play the game. But the anger did not help. I had to control it and overcome the challenges. And I was right. Staying calm is the crucial thing in tough situations. It helps the brain to plan how to deal with difficulties. Finally, I moved on to the next bridge and completed the first section.

The next section seemed to be easier, but I was not sure whether it was due to my confidence or that it was actually easier. Before getting onto the Zipline, feeling refreshed and excited, I turned around to encourage my friend, who seemed to be having a tough time.

The next activity involved V-shape hammocks with hanging wooden logs as the base. This course demanded much more courage and effort. It was not enough to just stay calm; it also needs skillfulness. Luckily, I reached the end of 1.4-metre adventure to enjoy another fantastic Zipline ride back to earth.

Challenging: A player takes on the Highwire.

The key is to stay calm despite the fears and challenges that the players face at a certain height. They have to concentrate their mind and energy towards overcoming difficulties, just as in life. And my theory for the game is: to find excitement and joy at the end (the Zipline landing), you must find and manage your inner strength to overcome difficulties (the challenges in the game) first.

While the Highwire requires skill, the Zipline is set at a height of 45.5m and has a total length of 560m, extending from the mountain to a plot of land inside the forest. The game was quite easy to play, but it was also very exciting to fly over scenic trees and lakes.

When the players feel tired, a dip in a hot mineral water pond provides the best source of refreshment. At the site, the accommodation and services are good, with 67 rooms, restaurants and a spa available for visitors. They can stay in groups in bamboo houses set up on stilts too. But make sure you check the rates of the services before you opt for them, as it is not a public place but is being run by a company.

Offering two or three days of activities, health treatments and nature away from the city, the Alba Thanh Tan hot springs resort and spa should be a great destination to play adventurous games when you are in Hue. — VNS

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