April 25, 2014

Cruise through Chiang Mai by Segway

by Koen Olie, Product Manager, Khiri Travel Thailand

Recently our own Koen Olie, Product Manager for Khiri Travel ventured to Chiang Mai to experience the latest tour from the Flight of the Gibbon Company.

The Segway – a two-wheeled self-balancing electric vehicle – was launched in the US in 2001 and is now available in Chiang Mai for city tours.

“Trying out new tours is always fun, but this one gave me some mixed feelings. All my life I’ve been a bit accident-prone and don’t have the best sense of balance either.

When we arrived at the company’s office our guides introduced us to the Segway and demonstrated how to operate it – how to go forward or backward, how to turn left or right, and most importantly, how to brake!

That seemed easy enough. But as I attempted to stand on it my Segway resembled a rocking horse! The guides were very familiar with this challenge for first-timers and helped me get my footing. Before I knew it I was ‘cruising’ around their office like a pro.

We strapped on our helmets and ventured out to a quiet parking lot to practice a bit more. The helmets are not only for safety – each contains a radio system, so the guides are able to communicate with everyone throughout the tour.

When the guides felt we had mastered our Segway skills we started out on the tour route. Most of the tour is off road, but if there’s a need to mix with traffic the guides ensure it is done safely. We stopped briefly at Chiang Mai’s main attractions including Wat Chiang Man, 3 Kings Monument, Wat Phra Singh and more – scaring pigeons & raising eyebrows along the way – this is still a very new tour! Our guides spoke clear English and gave plenty of information on the history of each tour spot.

 

I’m proud to say I finished the one-hour tour accident free. It was great fun, and I recommend the 2-hour version with coffee break halfway – nice to be able to stretch your legs (on solid ground) too! The Segway tour of Chiang Mai is an enjoyable, environmentally friendly way to see the sights in a short amount of time. As for safety – if I can do it, anyone else on the planet will be fine too!”

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