The Gibbon Experience
Once we crossed the border over into Loas from Chang Kong, Thailand, we settled into our guest house called Sabaydee, (which is hello in Laos) we went to go explore this new place. For some reason, we thought it was some super exciting town, only to realize that it was just one street and the main attraction was The Gibbon Experience. We had a couple days until we left for the jungle and spent most of our time at the guest house and this little restaurant called “Bar How?”. It was owned by this little family where the daughters were the waitresses, and the parents were the cooks. It was definitely the cutest place in town and had really good food. It happens to be that we were one of the last people to use the small boats from Chang Kong to Huay Xai as a way to cross the border, but they just recently built the “Friendship Bridge” up the river as the permanent border crossing and closed the slow boat one, resulting in the this little town losing all of its business! Everyone should still stop in there for an evening, then go to the Gibbon Experience, which brings me to one of the most memorable 3 days and 2 nights of my life.
I would like to start off by describing this adventure more as experiencing the life of a Gibbon monkey and how they live rather than seeing lots of them in the jungle. Of course monkeys live in the middle of the rain forest, so we had a 2 hour drive in the back of a pick up on a paved road, then an hour on a dirt road. After that we had about 3 hours of hiking, and 6 or 7 zip lines a day. We lived off only what we could carry on our backs, except the guides would carry our food. We slept in these little tree houses (a different one each night), which was literally at the top of the trees, about 100 0r 150 feet up in the air. No walls, no hot water, just a hole in the wood as the bathroom, pads and mosquito nets as beds, and the only way in or out is by zip line.
The most incredible part of the experience was that many villagers have lived like this their whole life and that people actually live with minimal needs. It made me have a whole new appreciation for everything I am so lucky to have. I think that everyone should have this opportunity to just realize that even when you may feel like you have nothing, you have a lot more than you know.
I would recommend this to anyone, just because I know that I hate hiking, camping, and bugs, yet it still was life changing. Plus the zip lines are so much fun. Beautiful views, extreme heights, different lengths, and just huge adrenaline rushes!