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Ed does the AA This the account of Ed Powell, a man in his 20s exploring SE Asia and Auckland. My moto - "Bringing the world together, 1 step at a time"

The Gibbon Experience

LAOS | Monday, 9 July 2007 | Views [1156] | Comments [1]

Hello.  I have finally reached Laos.  It was a bit of a rush to the border as I realised I had lost a day somewhere so it was literally get to Loas von-trap style (although I did not leave in the middle of the night to escape the nazi's).

One thing that I have been looking forward to on my travels was the gibbon experience.  This is a trip that is in the bokeo reserve in North Laos and is basically living in the jungle for 3 days with a differece.  The difference being that you live in trees - thats right, in trees!!

As soon as I crossed the border - the mekong river - I headed to there office quickly because I was running very late - a rare thing for me.  I got there before the other people had left and before I knew it. The group was made up of an educated Yank, a Canadian (not the celine sort), an Irishman and 3 more English people. We all got into a truck - thats right you guessed it, a hilux. 

The trip to the jungle took about 2 hours before it started getting hard core.  It had been raining so the tracks were very very muddy.  No problem for a Hilux i thought.  Thats was untill I noticed that the back tires had no tred on them.  This should be interesting.  Whilst crossing a river (I held on tightly to my camera) the Hilux stuttered but it wasn't till reached the other bank that it started to struggle.  We all got out and true Brit style I stood and pointed out where they were going wrong rather than help.

We finally reached the village where we would start the trek.  From here on it was tough.  The jungle was so muddy so grip was limited.  Another thing we would look out for was leeches in the mud.  We got to the first check point high up in the jungle and to my amazement noticed a bear.  This was not any normal bear, this was a pet bear that the locals had rescued from poachers.  It was very playful as it was young but it provided great photo opportunities.  N

We left this place after about 30mins and headed up further.  Now transport around the jungle is an experience itself.  The aim of the project is to protect the jungle and the wildlife by living in the trees and to accomplish this you get around on zip lines.  These aren't the sort of health and safety ones you find in the UK, these are full on 400 metre long, 50 metre high cables that are high up above the jungle surface. We reached our first line and before I knew it I was zipping along hoping that the Laos people know how to tie knots in cables.  After a few of them I was confident in the technology and was taking in the view. 

After another 2 hours trekking and zipping, we reached our last line.  I went for it and was blown away by the scenary.  The only thing that comes close is the Quantocks back in the mighty Somerset (cleeve hill in chelters is more of a mound).  It was just incredible and the sounds were amazing.  Our house was insane too.  It looked like something from Neverland.  RIght at the top of the massive tree in the centre of the landscape, it provided awesome panaramic views of the jungle. 

That night we ate a much earnt meal and went to bed at 9pm!!  The next morning we were woken by the sound of our guides zipping into the house.  Morning being 5.30mam to go gibbon spotting.  We did not see any but by 10am I was knackered as we had been trekking for aboout 2 hours or so.  Today we also went to a river and got covered by leeches on the way.  In the afternoon I plucked up the courage to slowly winch myself out to get some photos of the tree house.  I'm not scared of heights, and am a big of a dare devil, but it still scared me.

That night the staple diet of sticky rice that we had been eating at every meal including breakfast was starting to look not so appertising.  Again we went to bed early.

The last day was spent eating, you got it, sticky rice before we exited the tree house for the last time.  It was sad, but we were all glad we were going home as we were all craving coke of the canned kind.

The trek back was knackering as the sun was blazing down and I was a bit de-hydrated but we eventually got the village where the hilux beaming like a truck in shining armour was waiting for us.  We may not of seen any gibbons but the experience was worth it!!  For all those who maybe about to go on the trip here's a couple of hints -

Take gators, Coke/ sprite, biscuits - Orio's, crampons (not tampons) and nerves of steel as the wasp infected toilet is a real test.  And lastly ammodium, it saves you an aufull lot.

Right I'm off to Luan Prabang on a slow boat, until next time.

whats next.

Tags: adrenaline, laos, south east asia, the gibbon experience, trekking



Hi Ed! I've read about your experience in Laos, on the trees, and I would like to know the name of the place and roughly how to get there!
Thanx so much!

  Valentina Jul 16, 2007 12:37 PM

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