Has anyone been up to the gibbon experience northern loas Houayxay if so what was it like and how easy is it to get to from Vientiane
#1 scootypaul has been a member since 1/11/2006. Posts: 6
Welcome to Travelfish!
The Gibbon Experience is best reached from Huay Xai or Luang Nam Tha, so from Vientiane you'd need to get to one of those two towns first -- both are at least two days overland travel from Vientiane. If you've not seen it already, we've got a story about the gibbon experience here.
I'm doing the gibbon exp on 29 nov - 1 dec. I'll let you know what it was like as soon as I can get online
#3 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
Thanks everyone it sound brill i should be there 2nd week in december
#4 scootypaul has been a member since 1/11/2006. Posts: 6
Make sure that you book ahead. I just showed up and was told there were no opennings for two weeks. Now I will have to come back in a few years so I can actaully do it.
#5 Pip has been a member since 19/7/2006. Posts: 5
Yes it was fantastic. If you expect the purpose of the whole trip is to see gibbons you may be disappointed, remember the project is to conserve, one of our party saw 2 gibbons and my daughter saw 1 ... fleetingly, you only get a glimpse as they travel through the trees. You may be lucky and be in a treehouse near where the gibbons are feeding but its a very large park and the treehouses are situated on the boundary. Gibbons aside zipping on the lines is a amazing experience, so high up. The treehouses are adequate but quite primitive. Still a very worthwhile cause and an unmissable experience.
As Pip said do book ahead. There were 9 people in our group (classic) and 9 in the waterfall which is the max allowed.
#6 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
I tried to do the Waterfall Gibbon Exp and had a place booked but couldnt commit to the date. Consequently lost the booking and my chance to live in the treetops for a few days. I was really pissed off with myself for letting that happen.
I met a couple in Houay Xai that endured 7 hours on the fast boat and bad sunburn only to be told there were no more places. The girl alomost cried.
neither of us could afford the wait for the next outing and had to press on.
so the lesson here is BOOK AHEAD!!
#7 Manticore has been a member since 9/11/2006. Posts: 67
Does anyone know the approx cost?
#8 princessdisaster has been a member since 30/11/2006. Posts: 36
The classic is 5,500 baht and they are now offering a 3 night package which costs more - not sure how much. Pretty pricey but I don't know anywhere else you can do this, if you can squeeze it into your budget - do it. An unique experience!
#9 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
I am so excited about the gibbon experience! I'm planning to do it in early jan - though I'd better get myself organised and book a date! Does anyone have any insights as to whether the classic or waterfall experience is better? I am travelling with my boyfriend and we liked the sound of the private tree house on the classic experience! Any insights?
Also, have you guys heard of people booking in and arriving on time and then not being able to get in??
#10 razzy has been a member since 15/12/2006. Posts: 9
Talking to the guys who did the waterfall, it involves more walking than zipping. You only spend 1 night at the waterfall then back to treehouse 2 or 3. A fifth treehouse opened on Dec 1. There are plans for 12 treehouses in all with 1 village responsible for each. The most zip lines are between treehouses 1 and 2. Between 2 and 3 there is only 2 zip lines 1 in and 1 out. Personally I felt 2 nights were enough - everytime you zip there is an uphill climb to get to the next line - depends on how fit you are, I considered myself reasonably fit but was completely knackered after the 2 days.
Hope that helps
#11 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
Fantastic - I'm much keener on zipping than walking! I think the classic experience sounds good to me. In your opinion are treehouses 1 and 2 the best to stay in, in terms of zipping?
Did you have any trouble booking? Do the dates have to be to the day exact? What is the best way from Vientiane to Bokeo?
#12 razzy has been a member since 15/12/2006. Posts: 9
Treehouse 1 is where we stayed, one comment in the comments book was that it felt like a bus station, but we had fun. Treehouse 1 sleeps 6 on 3 levels. TH 2 sleeps 2 or 3 at a push. These 2 have the most zip lines. You will at some point be sharing 1 breakfast and 1 lunch with the occupants of the other TH's, everyone rocks over to TH1 for this. TH1 was great for us cos we clicked with a spanish couple and continued to travel with them for another 2 weeks. Re booking - email the gibbon exp with your approx dates and they'll tell you when the programs start. I think you have to start in Huay Xai cos that's where their office is, you'll have to pay and sign the waiver form the day before you start, so how you get there is up to you, either by boat or bus
#13 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
I contacted the Gibbon experience about a visit in mid December, and they included a paragraph about wet weather that started like so:
"The rainy season has arrived. In the case of heavy rains, guests to the Gibbon Experience should be prepared to trek 4 to 7 hours between the main road and the tree houses. "
I would have assumed this time would be dry - am i missing something? I'd love to visit but wouldn't fancy the seven hour trek or the three days of leaches!
#14 rsj has been a member since 28/6/2007. Posts: 2
Hi. A friend of mine lives in Pangmapha, Northern Thailand - she teaches to the local hill tribes for free each afternoon/early evening. Her boyfriend is a vet and each morning has been doing gibbon research in that area for a number of years. They see gibbons almost every day (perhaps unlike the gibbon experience).
But they are not a tourist attraction. They live simply and are Thai but have great English.
They have been able to survive and do the work they do as a Thai company gave them a grant. Recently they got the news that that grant will not be given this year. They don't know what they will do now.
Perhaps - if people are interested they could contact these people (put a message on here) and help out. But there are no zip lines etc. This is for non-touristy types who want to go and see gibbons and help real people. Added to that - I am not even sure it is possible as they will need to find jobs soon and probably have to leave the area.
But perhaps if some tourists or someone with money and an interest in gibbons can get involved - maybe their projects can be saved.
#15 paul123456789 has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 15
Paul, can you send me the details of the project in Soppong/Pangmapha -- we've got a researcher heading that way in the next week or so and it sounds like could be worth checking out. You can mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Somtam (my fav food) - you should have an email from me.
#17 paul123456789 has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 15
http://www.gibbonexp.org/ dosnt seem to work for me although i found http://www.ecotourismlaos.com/activities/gibbon_trk.htm although i dont get a responce from the email address on that site
does anyone know how i can get in contact with these people or what the story is?
#18 Helmet has been a member since 11/8/2007. Posts: 4