Just arrived back in Huay Xai from 'The Gibbon Experience' 3 days of jungle trekking in the Bokeo Nature Reserve. 106,000 hectare of wilderness stayed in a magical treehouse perched 200 ft up in the canopy. This place is truly incredible! Trekking was pretty arduous for me anyway (D), ash probably didn't even break sweat! Trekking through the rainforest we were told by our 'guides' who spoke little to no English that the forest was home to tiger, leopard, bear, macaque, elephant, poisonous snake and much more - how we would defend ourselves if we encountered any of these creatures we were never told! The animal we were on look out for was of course the black gibbon, when 5 years ago it became close to extinction- fortunately a charity managed to persuade poachers that it was more profitable to become the forest guardians. As guides and zip instructors they now make more for their families that way.
We shared a communal treehouse strangely with a Ukrainian family, a couple and their son. The next few days pigeon English was used, along with a bit of sign language around the breakfast/dinner table! We did try our best at learning some Ukrainian which I think they appreciated. It was a 3 day experience, the first of which was leaving the border town of Huay Xai by 4wd driving to the border of the rainforest before going off road through local hill tribe villages small streams and herds of wild Boar! After arriving at one village we disembarked and set off on foot for the tree houses, it was at this point we received our harnesses and were to we would be sharing with the Ukrainians, about an hour later we had arrived and were left to it by our guides, our 'bed' for the evening offered amazing views of the rainforest and was not to uncomfortable, the guides returned with tea and promptly left us for the evening, we had decided to get to sleep after sunset so we could be up early to give us the best chance of seeing the gibbons. The first storm of our time in Asia erupted that night and at 200 foot up in the air it we were abit worried to start with, however the treehouse was rock steady and we had a great view of the lightning, we finally got to sleep with the help of some earplugs.
We had set an alarm but there was no need in hindsight , the gibbons provided there own wake up call! We were lucky to see a family in a not to distant tree, surrounded by the most it was a magical sight. After breakfast we headed out to make the most of our day on the zip lines, the trekking through the rain forest was fun but the zip lines were amazing, emerging from the jungle to glide over the jungle canopy allowed for great views, we got some great pictures and after returning for dinner we went straight back out to use the zip lines again, the round trek through the jungle using all the zip lines was about4 hours long, both me and D were very tired when finished so slept well even though there was a second storm that evening! The third day allowed us a little time to take advantage of the zip lines closest to our treehouse, afterwards we headed back to the village to repeat our journey back to the Huay Xai via 4wd. A fantastic experience and some sights we would never forget, the perfect start to our time in Laos