Published: April 25th 2012April 25th 2012
I finally met up with my two friends from London and we crossed over the
border into Laos. Surprisingly this was the fastest border crossing I have done
so far. The whole thing only took 20 minutes and to make things even better,
Germans pay $5 less for their Laos visas than English people. Ha! And we didn't
get ripped off.
We went straight to the booking office of the Gibbon Experience in Huay Xai
and managed to book a two day, one night trek for the next day. It cost us $180
per person and includes all food, drinks and accommodation.
When you get to Huay Xai you will notice that every shop sells white gloves
(similar to gardening gloves). I thought that gardening must be very popular in
that area. These gloves are actually for the Gibbon Experience - they will
protect your hands from injury and you will have to purchase a pair. They are
We met at 8am the next morning at the Gibbon Experience office to watch a
safety video and to meet our group. Our group consisted of 6 people (the max is
8) and two guides. After the video you
get picked up and driven to meet your
guides who will equip you with your harness. Then the fun starts. We trekked
for about 1.5 hours (wearing the harnesses) up hill. It doesn't sound a lot but
it was very hot and humid in the jungle. We were very excited when we saw the
first zip line. It's a bit scary at first but it's such an amzing experience
zip lining above the canopy! After that we pretty much continued trekking, zip
lining etc. We trekked to our tree house for an afternoon snack and a break.
The tree house is what it says and sits about 50m on top of a tree above the
canopy. The only way in and out are zip lines. It was amazing but as I am
scared of heights I couldn't really relax in the tree house. The bathroom is on
the first level and it's open to the jungle. A weird experience!
Our guides picked us up again after a rest and we continued zip lining and
trekking. We returned to our tree house for dinner and our guides prepared the
beds. They explained to us that if there is a storm
then they will come and we
might have to be 'evacuated' and spend the night in the camp. They left and we
finished our dinner and had an early night as there is not really much to do.
With our luck, a storm started and our mosquito nets got blown off. It got
quite bad and rained into the tree house and the tree started to shake. My
friend and I got quite scared, the other friend was fast asleep. Eventually
everyone started to wake up and we were wondering what we should be doing. We
saw some lights coming towards our tree house and it was the guides who came to
check on us. First they weren't that concerned about it but then they said to
get the harnesses on, get all of our stuff and leave. I had a rain coat but my
friends had to be evacuated in their pyjamas to ensure they have try clothes
the next day. I would be lying if I'd say I wasn't scared. In all the hurry I
forgot to put my gloves on which I only realised as I got nearer to the other
end and had to break.
The raincoat and head torch were very useful. After
everyone made it safely to the other side we trekked to the camp. That was the
worst part for me. Totally out of breath and most of us soaking wet we reached
the camp. The rain was very heavy and the camp had a metal roof. We didn't get
a lot of sleep that night and most of our clothes were still wet or even wetter
the next morning. We trekked back to our tree house for breakfast. After
breakfast we started our way back to Huay Xai and continued zip lining. Two of
the zip lines were 700m long and went over a river. It was such a great
We celebrated returning in one piece with a beer lao and a not very nice
lunch of a soup made with wild greens and mushrooms....
If you book yourself onto the Gibbon Experience, here are a few things to
bring (apart from the obvious things like torch):
- toilet paper
- matches (they have mosquito coils in the tree house but no matches/lighter)
- snacks (one mango and a bowl of nuts between 6 people is not enough)
- booze (only 2 bottles of palm wine are provided for dinner and the guides
took one bottle away with them)
- change of clothes and rain coat.
On the way back we got soaked with water by children who threw buckets over
our truck. They already started their celebrations of Pi Mai (the Laos New
There are a few things that could be improved at the Gibbon Experience and
we were given feedback forms but I can highly recommend it! We didn't see any
Gibbons but they offer longer tours and I have met people who did see some.