Soaring into the jungle, Laos part 1

Thursday, April 04, 2013

From Chiang Mai, Sima and I took a bus to Chiang Khong, hopped on a tuktuk to the border, and checked out of Thailand. We then sailed on a small boat across the river into Huayxai, Laos (above photo). It was a lot easier than I thought it would be!

After finding a guesthouse, we wandered around the small town, spied baguettes which Sima had been craving for the past 14 months in Thailand, appreciated drivers on the right side of the road, and ate some street noodles for dinner. Huayxai is a lovely town, but really, the reason why I was there was for The Gibbon Experience.
The Gibbon Experience is a forest conservation project mixed with a little tourism. Though a bit pricey, the funds are used to protect the forest and support projects in the Bokeo Nature Reserve. Guides lead you through the jungle by trails-uphill mostly-so you can zip line over tree canopies in search of the elusive Gibbon. The 2 days/1 night spent with The Gibbon Experience was highlight of my trip so far.
This was my first time zip lining and it definitely set the bar high. Apparently this is one of the best places in the world to do it. We did 22 zip lines, the longest one being 700 m, for a total of roughly 10 km in the two days. No Gibbon sightings but that's okay :)
I painted this tree, but you'll have to wait to see the illustration :)
At the end of the first day of uphill trekking and zip lining, we arrived in our accommodations, a TREE HOUSE.
The view from the treehouse.
 The treehouse is only accessible by zip line so needless to say, it was a great way to wake up in the morning!
 It was a small, intimate group and we all bonded, trading travel stories, tips, personal histories, and invitations to come visit. Three of the seven coincidentally were also headed to Luang Prabang so the five of us became inseparable. More on Luang Prabang & the slow boat tomorrow.
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