After finding a crocodile sized gecko (named Greegsy) in our bathroom we managed to get a good nights sleep and wake up early to start 'The Gibbon Experience'. After visiting the crazy sandwich lady to get sandwiches, juice, crisps and oreos we heading to the gibbon office to start our journey to the Bokeo Nature Reserve. After a bumpy ride throught small villages we reached a river which the truck then drove through to enter the nature reserve. After what felt like a rollercoaster through the jungle on the back of a pick up truck avoiding being whacked by branches we got to the start off point of our trek. Climbing through the forest at the hottest part of the day was a bit of a challenge, especially when it was up hill but about 2 hours later we arrived at our tree house. The only way in and out of the treehouse was by zip wire since it was 50m off the ground so that was very cool. After refuelling on mango, lycees and peanut brittle we heading back out into the forest to play of the zip wires. Thaat was so much fun, zipping through the valley with spectacular views. The only problem was neither of us were heavy enough to reach the end of the wire everytime so it involved alot of upper arm strength to pull ourselves to the end. Suppose that added to the whole acting like a gibbon thing anyway. That night was spend recovering in the treehouse after a long day playing monopoly cards and 'Paela' a Laos card game taught by our local guide. Early night for a 6am start to go looking for gibbons.
Woken up to loud singing type noises and excited chat from our guide, it turned out that the gibbons where in an area of the forest close to our treehouse. After spying on the surrounding trees and running around the treehouse following the noises of the gibbons we managed to spot them in a far away tree when they stopped for a rest on their way through the forest. Apparently only 10% of people manage to get to see the gibbons so we felt quite lucky. After breakfast we headed out into the forest for more zipping and trekking. Got to see some more amazing views and some of the other treehouses which was fun. Lots of insects, birds and lizards in the forest which filled it with lots of amusing sounds. Especially the bird which sang the theme tune to Austin Powers while it was going about its daily business. We also encountered a snake which almost got squashed by a Doc Marten as it just slithered around camouflaged as a twig. Fans made out of banana leaves and the thought of lunch helped our trek in the midday heat. Arriving back at the treehouse to a lunch delivery was amazing. The only thing we were missing was fizzy juice. That was until superwoman zipped into our treehouse with a bag full of cans of pepsi and a bottle of homemade Lao whisky. Having a shower 50m off the ground with a view of the forest was strange but interesting since we had to dodge all the honey bees which took a liking to hanging around the bathroom. After trying out the whisky which was rank and playing cards everyone decided to have another early night in preparation for the climb back down the forest the next day. We got woken up at 2am by a roar of thunder which shook the whole treehouse. Loud thunder and lightening continued thoughout the night but after an exhausing day we slept through most of it.
We left the treehouse the next morning and headed back down to the village at the start of the nature reserve. Once we arrived there we had a few hours wait until the trucks came to pick us all up. To pass the time we played a confusing mafia game which confused me and Katy as we thought we were playing wink murder which apparently it wasnt. But then we noticed a football being kicked the other side of the village so wandered over to have a look. All the local kids were have a game of footie and some of the skills from the wee guys were impressive. We joined in, but trying to kick a ball wearing Doc's was quite hard. It was a great end to the trip.
The next day we left Huay Xai for Luang Prabang on a slowboat down the Mekong river. The boat was a long wooded boat filled with seats from cars which had been nailed to planks of wood and arranged along the boat. It was very odd, but meant that all the seat could be moved around so we created a circle and had a picnic and a party. 7 hours later we stopped for the night in Pakbang which was a small street full of guesthouses and Bob Marley playing.
Another 9 hours on the boat the next day to get to Luang Prabang was spend the same way, music and munching and beerlao. With both of us hyper since it was old firm day we eventually decided it was Pogues time! Party on the Mekong!
We got to Luang Prabang around 6.30pm so it was straight out to find dinner and follow the updates of the football on a slow wifi connection. Dinner was fun as the table was turned into a bbq for some of the guys who ordered a Laos bbq feast. Looked interesting cooking your own dinner but we were more concerned with the football score. We went to a bar called Utopia which was a chilled out, relaxed bar where you sat on cushions on the floor. Last orders were at 11pm, which was not good as we were out to celebrate. Chat around the bar was that there was a bowling alley which stayed open later so everyone went in search for that. Turns out the bowling was open until 3am and had a bar so that was ideal. Although at the bar you either bought a can of beer or a full bottle of Lao whisky so the place was rocking.
The next day we took a trip to the waterfall which was amazing. Another day of being geography daft. The rope swing was a bonus as well. Visited the night market for dinner and had a few drinks in Utopia again before an early night. The victory celebration the night before really took it out of us. Especially since you can chant as much as you like without fear of being arrested 😉
Heading to Vang Vieng in a few days for tubing.
Anyway its hot and we are hungry so cheerio for now.
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