When planning our South-East Asia trip at the beginning of 2018, we had no intentions of sleeping in a treehouse in the middle of a jungle in Laos. We didn’t even know you could, but are super grateful to have stumbled across The Gibbon Experience.
After crossing the border from Thailand into Laos, most people choose to catch a 2 day slow boat to the next main city in Laos – Luang Prabang. Alternatively after crossing the border, you can stay in the town of Huay Xai and have a unique adventure with The Gibbon Experience.
What is the Gibbon experience?
The Gibbon Experience is located in the Bokeo forest in Laos, now known as the Nam Kan National Park. It contains 9 epic treehouses which are only accessed by a series of zip lines scattered throughout the National Park. We first thought the idea was to see actual gibbons, but later realised that we (metaphorically) are the gibbons swinging from valley to valley. Getting to fulfil a childhood fantasy by sleeping in a real treehouse is the main attraction.
Why was The Gibbon Experience created?
Here’s an extract taken from their site:
“Illegal logging, commercial cropping, excessive slash-and-burn practices, overall pressure on land and mismanagement combined are rapidly eradicating tropical forests. For this reason, the Gibbon Experience project in Laos was given a mandate to think and act differently. Since 1996, we have dreamt and ensured a sustainable future for the Bokeo forest”
So in a nutshell, booking into The Gibbon Experience in Laos will not only leave you with some unforgettable memories, but this type of eco tourism also supports sustainable development and protection of the Nam Kan National Park. Thumbs up!
Choices: 2 night (aka classic tour & waterfall tour) & 1 night (aka express tour). We chose to do the Express tour.
The Gibbon Experience begins when you arrive at the office in Huay Xai, Laos at 8:30am. You have a short presentation of the project and it’s goals, along with some basic safety demonstrations of the zip lining equipment. You then gather into your groups, jump on the bus and drive 1 hour to the starting point. Loaded with mosquito spray, water, energy, and a familiarisation of the route, it’s time to start The Gibbon Experience!
What happens at The Gibbon Experience?
The Adventure starts with some light trekking through flat terrain, which then very quickly turns into steep climbs. You will be soaked in sweat, there’s no doubt about it…
Tips: You’re going to need at least 1 litre of water to carry until you get to the treehouse. Only take a very small backpack and no useless items as you will be zip lining with your bag on. And don’t forget to take PLENTY of Mosquito spray.
After a few rest stops, and about 2 hours of trekking, you reach your first zip line across the Nam Kan National Park. Obviously cameras aren’t recommended to carry but if you have a wrist strap and feel confident then capture those amazing moments…
After 8 more consecutive zip lines and a few more rest stops, another 2 hours zips by. You have finally reached your home for the night…The feeling of zipping into the treehouse entrance is surreal!
Now its time to explore and get acquainted with your home for the night. First things first though, showers!
Lets check out the other 3 floors of this tree house…
You spend the evening relaxing in the treehouse as you watch the sun go down and then dinner arrives…
After a surprisingly comfortable sleep and a filling breakfast, the group embarks on another 2 hour trek through the jungle before the final series of zip lines..
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Zipping along 450m zip lines from mountain to mountain at 150m off the ground with no signs of civilisation anywhere nearby. Would you do it? I was a little bit nervous at first but then got the ‘hang’ of it 🤣 and now after 26 zip lines I can happily say I found some abs under that layer of fried rice. Cya on the other side 👋🏼 #ziplining #gibbonexperience #laos #junglelife
Tip: If you’re doing any kinds of adventure sports such as zip lining during your travels, remember to get travel insurance. We use and recommend World Nomads simply because they are the most trusted travel insurance site for travellers and offer the best cover for what we need. Get a free quote here.
At the end of the trail you can finally rest at ‘The Kitchen’ and are welcomed with a well deserved beverage before being picked up and taken back to Huay Xai…
Its fair to say that we had a great time doing The Gibbon Experience in Laos and totally recommend making space in your budget to book onto it when passing through South East Asia.
Would you do The Gibbon Experience in Laos? Or have you done it before? Leave us a comment below…
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