The Gibbon Experience (more like the Peter Pan experience)


Zip zip zip tree house zip

This pretty much summed up the famous Gibbon Experiencein Bokeo natural reserve cradled in the Lao-Thai border. No, we didn’t see Gibbons, but we kind of already expected that.

I was supposed to go on the two-night “classic experience” since it’s such a pain to get there that I believed it merited two nights. Sadly though, I woke up the day with what I believe was a flu. At 4 a.m I gargled some isodine bucofaringeo ( if you have ever complained of a throat pain around me I’ve probably made you do this) cause sometimes you can catch the virus in your throat before it spreads. It was too late for that, so a bad fever made me have to stay in the border town of Huay Xai for an entire day. There is nothing to do in this town, but it didn’t matter because my body was aching too much even for “nothing”.

I ended up going on the one-night experience with six other girls: three American, two Danish and one German. It’s the most amount of girls I’ve seen in one place since I started traveling! Thankfully they were all very nice, energetic, smart girls and made the trip pretty fun. Zip lining is not new to me…. I had done it in Kajuyali when I was a kid and in the coffee region of Colombia, But these were very high, long and numerous cables, much more than I had ever seen before.

Zip lining is always fun. I don’t think anyone could possibly disagree with this. But all I kept thinking is how the landscape resembles Colombia’s, and how we could easily set something like this up to become a bigger ecotourism travel destination. Build a house on a tree? Easy. We already have the Eco Habs in the Tayrona but with this you can squeeze 10 people in at a time and charge them loads of money each. Because yes, the experience is a pricey one.

There are many tree houses, but I believe ours to be the newest since this “express” option has been running for about 6 months. We zipped into our house which stood about 50 meters from the ground. We spent the evening watching the sun set over the multitude of rugged mountains, listening to the sounds of crickets, cicadas, bats and animals pacing down below through the bamboo trees, trying to guess what they were since we couldn’t see them. Bears? Tigers? Freakishly large rats? From an open shower you could bathe in all of nature and watch the water fall through the gaps in the wood under your feet, sprinkling down into the forest.

At night we shared some mattresses and very thick mosquito nets that made the space inside a sauna room. We also got startled by someone zip lining into our tree house at midnight, and quickly realized they were the night guides. We had been warned that there might be a storm, in which case they would help us to zip line out of the tree house at night in case the storm would…. I don’t know really. Get us wet? Get struck by lightning? Blow some of the neighboring wasp nests in our direction? We stayed up for an hour or so waiting for the feared storm to appear, but it seemed to pass us by, since we could discern lightning through the mountains and feel a well needed breeze. We finally went back to sleep and managed to have some cooler hours to try to rest for a little.

My shoe slipped from my hand, falling into the vast green below our house as I was getting ready to the next morning. It got rescued though! I may be a little too clumsy to be suspended in the air for such a long period of time.