While we were on Koh Phangnan for the Full Moon Party, there was one other activity that I knew I definitely wanted to do. After reading about my friend Dan’s experience at a “Wipeout” style obstacle course, I knew that “The Challenge” on Koh Phangnan would be right up my alley.
For those of you not familiar with the show, “Wipeout”, it basically involves the contestants trying to complete a crazy inflatable obstacle course while in the water. After fully recovering from the Full Moon Party, we ventured over to the course one afternoon. For 500 baht, one could have unlimited tries on all of the obstacles as well as use the rope swing to catapult in the water.
To get our bearings, we decided to try our hand at each one of the obstacles. We slowly made our way through the course, starting with avoiding the swinging boxing bags while walking on a balance beam. Next up was making our way through a series of platforms attached by a swinging rope. These two were relatively easier, but it soon became harder.
Next up was a series of foam rollers, similar to log boom that lumberjacks use, as they run in place to avoid falling in the water. Instead of trying to do it by running through it, we discovered that it was easier (and a bit safer) to stretch your body out and complete it horizontally.
After failing to complete the floating platforms standing up, (which we only witnessed the staff being able to complete), next was a climbable rock mountain, and then some monkey bars.
To finish off the course, there were 3 large rubber balls about 10 feet high that floated between 2 platforms. While it initially looked pretty simple, we soon realized this was the hardest obstacle of them all. The staff told us that only 300 people had successfully completed the obstacle over the last 3 years, indicating the difficulty. We tried a bunch of different strategies, but all of them landed us in the water. Alex even ended up injuring his knee, although we weren’t aware of the severity of it until he returned back home to the U.S.
Matt and I then decided to participate in getting timed completing the entire course. Starting from the rope swing, I went first and catapulted into the water. For the timed portion of the challenge, we chose to not wear life jackets, as we underestimated how tiring it actually was to attempt them all consecutively. I was able to finish the course in a respectable time (after of course wiping out at the red balls), but Matt killed the course. He would definitely be a good candidate for the actual show if he would ever decide to quit his day job!
The last part of “The Challenge” involved a huge inflatable blob. A daring person would sit on the edge and wait for the staff to jump down on the other end, sending them flying into the air. We were all pretty tired from the course, and opted to sit out and observe a few others get rocketed into the air, all with different trajectories.
Injuries notwithstanding, “The Challenge” on Koh Phangnan provided a fun and unique break from the island beach bum life.