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Published: October 29th 2011
The Gibbon Experience
Nat acting like a gibbon on the zip lines
***TRY THE VIDEOS - CLICK ON THE 3 CLIPS ON THE RIGHT***
Well, I would suggest you make yourself a brew right now.........as this is the longest post yet!
We booked on to the Gibbon Experience for the next morning; it’s a 2 day ,1 night jungle tour. The days are spent flying up and down zip lines through the jungle and then stay in a treehouse overnight 50 metres up in the canopy. The only problem was the initial trek up to the top of the valley which took 2 hours and was 100% steps that were cut into the jungle floor. The Zip lines were amazing some 800 meters long, linking one side of the valley to the other. The tree house, which was only accessible by a zip line, we had to ourselves for the night. This was extremely lucky as it usually sleeps 8! The Mosquitoes took a liking to us both despite us nearly bathing in repellent. Sleeeping up in the trees was an experience as the sounds were deafening and kept getting louder, then they would fade away. The only way to explain ths sound is to imagine a motorbike doing 20000 rpm and
driving right past you....you get the idea? Very loud, all night. Oh and the mouse (or rat) we could hear scrattting about in our carrier bag full of bannanas, to find the next morning they had dessimated our supplies for the next day.
We returned back to the border town of Huay Xai after a bumpy off road trip out of the jungle from the Gibbon Experience. We literally did not get above 5mph for the first hour. It was the kind of track that some people in the UK would have paid to driven on. Its not quite as exciting though after a sleepless night in the jungle!
The street parties had stopped when we returned, all that was left was a town full of rubbish and dried up sick marks......lovely!
After a much needed nights sleep we boarded the slow boat south to Laung Prabang. This was a 2 day mission down the Mekong River with an overnight stay in Pak Beng. The trip flew by with a few games of cards and Big Beer Laos. The endless meanders and amazing scenery were interrupted occasionaly when dropping off locals at what appeared to be the
middle of nowhere; a few wooden shacks, a sandy jetty and a handful of children trying desperatly to sell us all some warm cans of beer. They didn't sell many !!
We arrived in the world heritage town of Laung Prabang, a former French colony, on the 16th of October. Some of the upmarket riverside hotels were asking $200 per night, we opted for a plush place with everything you could have hoped for, well a bed, shower and a fan for $7 per night!
Once settled we visited the Kung Si waterfalls the next morning, 35Km away for a swim and some ‘Cannonballing’ (see the video). We had a couple of hours there and saw an Asian White Chested Bear Sanctuary. We went exploring the village by bicycle that evening and came accross a night food market down this little alley way. The fish from the BBQ went down a treat, as always with the old chop sticks, Nat struggles so I ended up feeding us both, apparently with more than my fair share! The next day we departed for the party town of Vang Vieng by bus.........
This tiny town basically mimicks an of 18-30's
resort, where everyone is there for boozing & tubing! The tubing involves getting a bus 2 miles up river where you can pay for an inner tube to float down on. This could be really quite tranquil in a pictureque setting, but thee was one problem.... LAO WHISKEY......!
When we got of the bus in Vang Vieng we were greeted by a drunk Morgan, Azza and Bobsey from Skipton, all of them 21. We were looking for accommodation and they told us about their digs, which were clean and cheap.....so off we went. The first night we hit the town, but were a little apprehensive about going into the main Q-Bar which was highly recommended by the Skipton lads who had been there a few days already. The place was rammed and looked pretty messy with everyone was on the old buckets (1 litre) full of Whisky, Red Bull and Sprite. After some deliberation we thought ‘oh well......when in Lao...’ and so ordered a bucket and went to find a not so quite corner. There we bumped into the Skipton lads again and a guy called ‘Captain Charisma'; an Aussie guy, who was a kind of rep and his
The Death Slide
The chute at the bottem is steeper than it looks. People go qiute fast and smash their head as they go up the ramp at the bottem.
job being to get everyone drunk. He instructed us both to put our heads back and in turn, filled our mouths full of Lao Whisky. By this time the apprehension was a distant thought and several buckets later we retired to the digs promising to meet the new mates the next day for tubing!
After breakfast we got the Bedford Rascal Bus (with 10 of us in the flat bed) 3Km to the start of the Tubing section. A mouthful of Lao Whisky each and we all crossed the bridge to the first bar. There are 6 bars in total flanking the Nam Song River on both sides with some having an attraction. The attractions are made mostly of Bamboo or other local materials (string and nails). There is a high diving board (higher than Barnsley Metrodomes top level), a Trapeze Swing and a Water Slide complete with white kitchen tiles and a hose pipe at the top. Off we went bobbing down the river untill a Lao bloke from the next bar throws out a bottle of river water tied to some rope and pulls you into his bar. We spent more time in the bars than in
The Top Deck
Its a long way down when your at the top. But not as long as going back down the stairs.
Rumour has it that 4 people a month actually die on this river but they must have been really, really drunk. We had a really good time with Morgan and Co and it started getting dark before we were at the end of the river. We all got split up so Me and Nat ended up with another group and were told at the ‘Last Bar’ that we couldn’t get a bus home from that side of the river and that we have to float down river for maybe another 20-30 mins and get out at the other side. About 10 of us went into the river in total darkness and with probably a few too many drinks inside of us, clinging on to 2 rings. The river was quite fast and got really shallow battering us against the invisible rocks on the bottom. In the confusion I lost the dry bag with 35,000 Kip (£2), the camera with all our photos on, Nat’s shorts and ‘Massive Vest’ and Makeup (apparently it was Body Shop Stuff and worth more than my life). We eventually got out freezing, miles from home with no money, muddy as hell and
bare footed to, but we were SAFE! We had to walk passed all the drunken fools in the Q-Bar, Nat in her bikini and me in Shorts with nothing else on but a yellow piece of material tied at the top of my left arm Rambo style. (this is quite normal by the way). We got home, showered and made our way to the Q-Bar for more Buckets distraught after losing the Camera (but we had backed up most photos- Phew)
The next day our bus to the Capital, Vientiane was due to depart at 09:40 with our flight to Hanoi to follow at 18:45. I think I should add here that Nat cannot handle hangovers, cannot get up or even function after a big night / day out. So it was left to me to pack, sort breakfast and generally do everything.
We had a cracking Indian curry once in Vientiane and arrived at the airport on time ready to go to Hanoi.
***KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS***
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