One of the main highlights of our trip was really the Gibbon Experience in Laos where we slept overnight in a treehouse in the middle of the Bokeo Nature Reserve!
Before we reached the treehouse, we had to trek up to a certain altitude high enough for us to zip line across to a lower altitude within the forest. The trek was pretty short and manageable, just a couple of hours (around 4-5 hours i think). Terrain was quite easy for trekking too.
And finally, after hours of trekking and a couple of zip lines, we could see our treehouse! This treehouse was built on one of the tallest and biggest tree overlooking the entire forest.
The experience of living in a treehouse in the middle of the forest was so tranquil and amazing. The sound of nature was so peaceful to the soul. I cannot even emphasize enough. We all each get to sleep on a rather thick and comfy green mattress with a blanket draped over us like a canopy as shown in the photo above. So cozy and perfect to sleep in!
One of the interesting things of the treehouse is the toilet. The toilet was built behind the thick trunk, with a curtain acting as a door. First time ever doing my business while facing nature directly. Also, not to mention the icy cold water that we had to shower in under the moonlight. But nonetheless, it was really an awesome experience.
Chilling at night with the other trekkers, getting to know one another over beer and some card games.
There are 2 main types of packages:
1. The Gibbon Experience 3 days 2 nights program
(a) The Classic Gibbon Experience
The Classic Gibbon experience is relaxing and peaceful, with only an hour of essential walking. You choose how you want to spend your time, there is no strict schedule; food will come when you are hungry though, and the guides will always be around at your service. This option uslally enables gibbon eencounters with little effort. Up to three groups of eight people depart on alternate days as of 8am for 2 nights in scattered tree houses within the Nam Kan National park. (b) The Waterfall Gibbon Experience
The Waterfall Gibbon Experience takes you deeper into the Park, trekking for two to three hours per day along the Nam Nga River and through a fresh-water swimming pool and a charming waterfall. One tree house overlooks the river while the other shows sunsets overlooking several valleys. To join this option you should be in a reasonably good shape. Two groups of 8 people depart on alternate days as of 8 am for two nights in Bokeo reserve, swapping tree houses on the second night.
Departure dates and fares (per person, individuals or groups alike): Classic Gibbon Experience: 2 350 000 kips (advance online payment: approx. 290 USD or 220 Euros upon daily exchange rates)= odd days: 1st, 3rd, etc Waterfall Gibbon Experience: 2 350 000 kips (advance online payment: approx. 290 USD or 220 Euros upon daily exchange rates )= even days: 2nd, 4th, etc 2. The Gibbon Express 2-day 1-night program (we chose this)
Road access is one hour only and initial walk takes one a half hour. A series of very long zip-lines then fly you from mountain to mountain to the heart of the Nam Kan National Park and to the most giant trees living now in the Lao PDR. However, only one gibbon family lives in that area so your chances to meet gibbons are low in this program. Departure dates and fare (per person, individuals or groups alike)
Price: 1 400 000 Kips (advance online payment: approx. 180 USD or 130 Euro upon daily exchange rates ) Departure every day.
Both packages include:
* Exclusive access to the Bokeo Nam Kan National Park
* Transportation to and from the National Park
* Accommodation in a canopy-level tree house complete with running water, semi-private comfortable bedrooms, and a spectacular view
* Fire-cooked meals
* Unlimited access to an extensive canopy cable-gliding network for exploring the treetops
* Local guides with a good knowledge of the forest and a basic English
* Harnesses (guests should have waist perimeter < 120 cm and thigh perimeter < 80cm)
For us, we chose the Gibbon Express 2 Days 1 Night programme as we felt that it was sufficient to get a taste of the Gibbon Experience. 3 days might be a little too long. It was also because of budget that we selected the cheaper package.