Thanks to friend Romain who already visited Laos we signed for great adventure called Gibbon Experience – Ziplines and Treehouses in Laos. The Gibbon Experience project was established in 2004 with a mission to preserve the Bokeo Nam Kan National Park, located in Northern Laos from the pressures of poaching, slash and burn agriculture and logging. It is the most pristine forest, home to tigers, clouded leopards, black bears and the black-crested gibbon. But if you want to see gibbons you need to go deeper into the forest with small group of people to see them. Otherwise it is more about flying in the jungle, treking and sleeping in treehouse (which is a lot of fun as you can see in our video at the end). The Gibbon Experience offers you 3 kind of experience – Classic, Waterfall and Express.
The Gibbon Experience is quite expensive adventure and this is reason why many of us chose 2 days Gibbon Express for 190$ per person. (3 days cost 310$). The price for 2 days included transport from Gibbon office to national park, sandwich for lunch, ziplining, simple dinner & breakfast, coffe & tea, night in treehouse and unforgettable moments. It’s an incredible experience full of adrenaline!
We have booked our attendance in advance via email. Most of participants come one day before to confirm attendance and spent night in the city, to sleep well before early wake up and be fresh for treking in the forest. We came from northern Thailand, Chiang Rai city. For more details how to manage Laos visa and transportation to Laos please click here.
The Gibbon Experience office is in the centre of small dirty city HuayXay and honestly if there is no Gibbon Experience there is no tourism. We stayed in Sabaydee hotel which is close to the office and after check in we went to the centre. Actuall there is only one main short street with surprisingly high prices in restaurant. We were sitting in empty restaurant next to Mekong river and after quick dinner went back to the hotel and pack small backpacks for next 2 days experience.
Day one started at 8.30am at the Gibbon Experience office
We woke up at 7.30 and had quick breakfast in restaurant just in front of our hotel. In Laos is very popular to prepare different kind of sandwich (eggs, ham, cheese, chicken, veggie). Do they eat them or it is just for tourist? Who knows but I was surprised how big and tasty sandwich was.
After breakfast we bought some fruits and 2l water to take away on a trip. All participants meet at 8.30am in the office and watch introduction safety video. Last double check if everybody has enough water for treking in and we were ready to jump on all-terrain pickup on our way to jungle. The one hour truck drive brought us to the village where our treking started.
Everybody got ziping equipment and beer to drink at the treehouse. From there it was an hour or so uphill on foot to reach the canopy infrastructure. We went in October just after rainy season when sun was shining and vertical walk was exhausting. It was quiet difficult walk and when you are in group you can’t just stop.
We had 3 breaks till we reached first zipline and I almost turned back when I saw how long and high ziplines are. After trek we had quick sandwich lunch and first adventure could begin.
Ziplines were from small 100m to the biggest 500 m through the jungle with large trees and thickets of bamboo whizzing past our heads at speeds approaching 40 kilometres per hour. Everyone had their camera in one hand and zipline contraption in the other. We zipped a few hours across unbelievable jungle valleys. The views from these heights above a jungle valley are incomparable, breathtaking and once in a lifetime experience views. Simply incredible. We felt like gibbons jumping from one tree to another.
Let’s have a photo with the biggest lao tree.
Around 4 pm we zipped into our home for the night — a magical wooden treehouse in the treetop right in the middle of the jungle. Spechless magical view was the best reward.
In the middle of nowhere there was running drinking water, lighting, beds, toilet and the best shower ever.
Refreshed after shower and relaxed we have enjoyed our warm beer and dinner. The Gibbon Experience catering team prepared us sticky rice, veggie and little bit of meat. Righ t after they left treehouse. After the dinner and with incoming dusk strange and unknown sound from the jungle surrounded us. Fortunately with full darkness the sound dissappeared. You can watch the video below to taste it.
We were really nice group of 11 people. Our treehouse party was around a table with one beer and water. It was interesting to sit with people from Israel, Canada, German and Sweden and talk about our life & traveling stories.
During evening new friends showed up. We don’t know how many but too much..
And we were ready to sleep…
Day two started at 6.30am with morning zipping before breakfast.
We did a short round with 4 long zipping but now in pairs! It was one of the best experience to fly together. We returned back to our treehouse and had lao breakfast consistent of sticky rice, steamed veggie and something like omelet and scrambled eggs. Just notice that eggs were all the time with us in the jungle and no fridge is needed here.
After breakfast we proceeded to trek out of the forest. As with the first day, we trekked for an hour in beautifull nature and we walked surrounded by tall bamboo trees. The last zip of the day was a 570-metre stunner which crossed over a farm and river and took a minute or so to complete. My zippline stopped above the river just 10 meters to the finish. As I’m subject of vertigo I was so afraid and tried not to look down and tugging on a rope.
The tour concluded with lunch in a hut on the edge of the forest. We could buy a cold coke or lao beer and waited for fried rice with cabbage.
We had an incredible zipping and sleeping adventure with the Gibbon Experience which almost fulfilled our expectations.
Watch our video to taste this amazing experience:
Our impression: we have priceless memories of zipping accros immense valley, sleeping in treehouse with outdoor bathroom and treking with a nice group of people in laos‘s national park. We all agreed that the two days was enough.
Suggestions for improving: tour guides with better english or let’s say with english and communicative attitude (they told us a few words)
What we packed:
– Small backpack (big one with all valuable things leave in Gibbon office)
– Long pants (protect from mosquitoes)
– Shoes for walking in forest (I had sneakers and Tomas outdoor sandals)
– Small fast drying towel (but you can use towel in treehouse)
– 1.5 l water per person (in treehouse is drinking water and you can refill)
– Toilet paper
– Camera and GoPro fully charged
– Mosquito repellent
– Small first aid kit
– Pyjamas and clothes for next day (t-shirt from 1st day was sweaty)
– Cash or by card
– Currency Lao Kips or USD. Payment by card is plus 3% fee.
– Express Gibbon (2 days and 1 night) is 190 USD/person
– Waterfall and Classic (3days and 2 nights) is 310 USD/person
For more details about The Gibbon Experience visit their web page here