The Gibbon Experience, Northern Laos

A childhood dream come true. Spend the day trekking through the jungle, whizzing through the trees on ziplines and listening to the gibbons singing. You won’t experience anything else like it.


THE JUNGLE & Black Crested Gibbons

Bokeo Nature Reserve was created to protect Black Crested Gibbons, which were previously thought to be extinct in the area. In 2008 the area was officially declared Nam Kan National Park by the Lao Assembly. The park covers 136.000 ha of mixed deciduous forest, which you’ll zip-line though. You’re way above the tree canopy so the views are incredible.

Along with Black Crested Gibbons, the park is home to other endangered animals including tigers, slow loris, black bears, Asian elephants and clouded leopards. There are only 1,300 – 2000 individuals left in the world.

Only male Black Crested Gibbons are all black with black hairless faces, while females are yellowish-beige with patches of black and black hairless faces. They are most well known for their distinctive siren-like songs. You’re most likely to hear the elaborate calls at dawn before feeding. It’s an incredible experience to hear the gibbons singing and if you’re lucky you’ll see them too as these songs are performed at the tops of trees.


TREE HOUSES

The tree houses are the  highest in the world, at 30 – 40 meters and accessed by zip line (so fun) with stunning views over the jungle. When the sun sets it’s completely pitch black so you can really appreciate how remote the location is.

The facilities are basic but it’s everything you need. The top level has a large area for sleeping and sharing meals. The bathroom is on the lower levels and like the communal area is open to the jungle. Showering overlooking the trees is quite an experience.

Stay at tree houses 1 and 7 for your best chance of spotting the gibbons. Everyone is allocated a tree house at the base camp so try to get in quick with your tree house preference. Our group were lucky enough to see three gibbons as soon as we arrived at tree house 7! We also heard them singing the next morning. Our second night was spent in tree house 1 where we spotted two while we were having breakfast.

Meals will be delivered to your treehouse by your guide via zipline. The food is simple but tasty.


TIPS

  • Make sure anything electronic you need is charged as there is no power in the jungle.
  • You need a reasonable level of fitness to do the hikes between the tree houses.
  • Parts of the trails are very steep so you need a decent pair of shoes to stop yourself slipping.

EXPERIENCES

Express 2 days 1 night
In a separate camp to the other packages and closet to Houayxay. This is the cheapest option.

Classic 3 days 2 nights
You’re most likely to see the gibbons and you have a decent amount of time to enjoy the jungle.

Waterfall 3 days 2 nights
If you want to do lots of working then book this. The tree houses are further from the base camp than those used for the Classic Experience.


TRAVEL

The Gibbon Experience office is in Houayxay, right on the boarder with Thailand. You can cross over from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai by bus. From within Laos, you can get a bus from Vientiane and Luang Prabang or you can take the 2 day slow boat from Luang Prabang.



Visited November 2016
Little Amy Tours
Instagram @littleamytourss

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