Published: July 16th 2007July 16th 2007
After a two hour drive, another 2 hour four-wheel drive (through some VERY hairy bush terrain) and a 2 hour trek up a muddy vine-entangled, fern-covered mountain, Qua, Lee, Ben and myself found ourself well and truly in "Da Jungle"! And it was "Massif!"
Thankfully having watched the 5 minute instruction video of the "Gibbon Experience" earlier, we kind of knew what to do when we were given a handful of harnesses, carabeenas and pulleys by our friendly Lao guide, and with a big smile, told to zip off on a series of flying foxes to the treehouse we would be staying in for the next 3 days.
To be quite honest, I was a bit uncertain about paying the MaSSiF (almost as massif as de Jungle!) 1.5 million Kip (about $150-odd bucks) fee for the 3 day experience, but as soon as I found myself flying 200 meters above a misty ravine suspended by a single line of steel cable half-a-Km long, in order to get to my 40m-above-ground-level tree house abode... I decided that it was worth it!
Even if you are a die-hard gibbon enthusiast, chances may be slim that you'll actually sight one
of the fuzzy primates, but even being woken up at 6am in the top of a tree to the sounds of their tuning-a-radio-like 'singing' is a gibbon-enough experience for most.
After being in absolute awe of these tree houses and flying foxes, I've become inspired to try and build one at dad's some day. Karri trees would be the perfect support for a medium-sized platform, and definitely strong enough to string a couple of hundred metres of cable from! Anyone wanna help me do it? :) Maybe I should employ some offshore labour from a few Lao guys (they strung them all up by hand, and built the treehouses using only Massif Jungle materials! Remarkable!)
After 3 days, and about 50-odd k's of mountain trekking under our belt, (as well as probably 10 ks worth of flying through the air from tree to tree!) We were quite happy to find the nearest Beer Lao outlet 4-hours away in Huay Xai and relax before heading down the Mekong on the 2-day 'falang' slow boat ride to Luang Prabang. Seeing as pictures say a thousand words (possibly each, i don't know?) I'll leave it at that and put up some
photos! Pop gan mai! Sohk Dee!!
There are more photos below