Imagine trekking to the heart of the Laos rainforest.
Zip lining jungle valleys twice the hight of the Eifell tower & spending the night in a tree house high in a very, very large tree, surrounded by gibbons and other rainforest creatures!
The Gibbon Experience is an eco tourism forest conservation project in Laos. Set in Bokeo Nature reserve visitors are given the opportunity to fly high above the hundred year old trees amongst the jungle wildlife. As Poaching, logging and slash-and-burn farming are rapidly destroying the Laos wildlife, the project yearns to teach local villagers the importants and beauty of their rainforest by employing many local villagers to help build, guide and run the Gibbon Experience.
This is something that I learnt about a long time ago, and have dreamt about visiting for many years! Tick off something else on my Bucket List and help people help the world at the same time.
We crossed the boarder from Thailand into Laos and found ourselves at Huay Xai, a tiny village that sits alongside the Mekong river. We spent one night there relaxing and preparing our backpacks for the day ahead at the unimaginable Gibbon Experience.
The next morning, we woke at around 6am had breakfast and headed to the Gibbon Experience Office, where we met the other dream-team members (5 guys from holland and one fellow English girl) and watched a safety video about how to (and how not to) zip line!
I cant honestly say that I knew anything new from watching that video, but we all felt pretty confident and jumped in an open backed van for a two hour journey which would take us as close to the rain forests starting point as possible. We were all kitted up with a harness and some gloves, and given a “snack pack”: 3 bars of chocolate and a beer. Definitely all essential for rainforest trekking and began the walk!
It only took a short time to become entirely surrounded by thick green jungle nature. Not entirely serene and peaceful, more like wild and noisy! But equally amazing. We trekked up and up and up and uphill for around two hours, in about 35degrees heat and an INSANE humidity percentage. Everyone found the hike hard, but considering that I am the girl whom cried and went home during a Gold Duke of Edinburgh walk at school five years ago, I was incredibly proud when we arrived at our first zip-line!!
Our two wonderful local guides though-rally explained the safety procedures for us all, before one of them whizzed off first to check the line for obstructions (carefully slowing down to hack off bits of disobedient bamboo when necessary!) and to await us all!
After that first exhilarating moment of watching the floor literally drop from beneath your feet and looking down on powerful trees that are centuries old we spend the rest of the day whizzing around (30-45mph) at heights of up to 300M.
After covering miles by zip-line we eventually reached our tree house which we had to zip-line into!!
The Gibbon Experience treehouse was honestly one of the most magical of my life. We took a shower with redirected refreshing stream water.
I have never heard anything quite as beautiful as the rainforest, especially at night. We had a wonderful dinner, and watched the sunset and then sat in awe looking at the night sky. The sky, being away from all light pollution boasted her incredibly bright stars and moon.
After we had all crept into our little tents, to protect us from the jungle critters that may take a liking to our tree house it began raining. It rained all night, heavy thick pelts, again- like nothing I had ever heard or seen before.
We woke up at 6am the next owning, had breakfast and then began zipping and trekking our way back out. I am so grateful for this wonderful experience and would recommend it to anyone whom is not faint of heart!!! One of the best things I have ever sone in my life.