The Gibbon Experience
Houay Xai Travel Blog› entry 95 of 117 › view all entries
July 16th, 2007 – by: dan2105
After a three-hour, bumpy journey in pick-up trucks we got to the reserve and were immediately kitted up with harnesses and taken to the first treehouse. We attempted several guesses as to how high it was and after answers ranging from about 30-50 metres we settled for somewhere in between.
The typical Brits all stuck together as the group was divided into three groups. Made up of an English couple, Karl from Ispwich, a Geordie, an inspirational 64-year-old Irish woman called Mary and a couple of Dutch guys, I was pleased to get on great with the rest of my group. Mary had the misfortune to have to share a section of the treehouse floor with me and Paul, the Geordie. Mind you, it was her that got the ribbing about keeping us all awake with her snoring.
The guides and organisers are keen to stress that the zip-wires are only a small part of the Experience, but I think you'd be kidding yourself if you said they weren't the reason for paying your 1.4 million kip (only about 75 quid). At first, I will admit, it was a bit scary, flying at speed on a wire through the forest canopy, but once you get used to it, it's great fun.
Near our treehouse was a circuit of zip-wires that took about half an hour to complete, with a bit of trekking uphill between them. The best zips, though, required a challenging two-hour return trek from one of the treehouses.
Mozzies were an absolute nightmare, and my theory that no mozzie repellant works on my skin was confirmed as I got absolutely pillaged by them.
At Treehouse Two was a brilliant zip-wire where you could get a real run-up and dive on as the trees opened up in-front of you, displaying acres of canopy stretching as far as the eye could see.
Our accommodation was rustic but homely. We stayed at Treehouse One, which may have been the best treehouse, but it's location was possibly the worst for spotting gibbons. Despite the trip's name, we never actually saw gibbons. But, to be honest, most people I had spoken to had said the same so I expected it. If you really wanted to see them then you had to get up around 4:30 or 5:00 and trek through the jungle for a while or be in Treehouse Three, who spotted gibbons playing around their treehouse for several minutes on our final morning.
If I had any gripes with the Experience, which was absolutely amazing for the most part - it was with the food. I wasn't expecting much, but we had the same over-cooked stewed vegetables and sticky rice over and over again and by the time we left I was dying for a decent meal.
Perhaps a bit of background and context to the Experience could have been given by the guides, but seen as they only had a basic grasp of English it might be asking a bit much.
Overall, though, it can be added to tubing as one of the most original and fun things I have ever done and well worth the planning it takes in booking and organising in advance. Highly recommended.
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