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“Brilliant time, just make sure you know what you're getting into” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Gibbon Experience

The Gibbon Experience
Bokeo Nature Reserve, Huay Xai, Laos
084 21 20 21
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Ranked #1 of 3 attractions in Huay Xai
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas
Attraction Details
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Brilliant time, just make sure you know what you're getting into”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013 via mobile

First up, you have about a 1 in 10 chance of seeing a gibbon, they rare and shy. Secondly you are staying a treehouse in the jungle, not the Four Seasons, you will have spiders, mosquitos, ants and other assorted bugs and maybe even a snake.

But... The camping out with views across the jungle and zip lining from treehouse to treehouse IS the experience, swinging through the trees like a gibbon.

The food was great, cooked in a nearby kitchen and then delivered to your hut. The water was clean and drinkable.

The guides are fun and engaging, English isn't their first language but for effort they give 100% and only you can help them improve.

Yes it's expensive, but part of the fee goes to conservation efforts and you will have memories that last a lifetime.

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Wellington, New Zealand
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Unforgettable experience, pricey but worth it.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

I recently did the Gibbon experience in early December 2012. We did the 3 day 2 night experience (not the waterfall). Basic itinerary:

Day 0:

1. Check into their office in Huay Xai (very easy to find on the main street)

Day 1:

2. 2-3 hour ute ride out to a village at the base of the rain forest, including some fun off-road driving. It was quite cold on the back but the fresh air was exhilarating!
3. Trek into the rain-forest through some THICK mud - definitely wear hiking shoes! - followed by a fairly taxing uphill stretch. The track was good but the heat and incline were definitely factors. Next we got our zip harness, formed groups and trekked to the tree house. We chose tree house 5 (I think) as we had heard this had the greatest chance of seeing gibbons. In reality no one on our trip saw a gibbon (only heard them), and all the treehouses have pretty spectacular views.
4. Dinner and relaxing - pays to bring something to do! There was quite a bit of downtime here.

Day 2:

5. A full-on morning zip-lining and visiting the various treehouses. It wasn't quite what I expected; there is more walking between zip lines than they let on (not that I'm complaining). The walking wasn't too hard and the guides kept a good pace and took appropriate breaks (our group on the whole was quite fit).
6. Lunch then a rest, followed by full-on afternoon zip lining in a different part of the forest. This was more challenging as the terrain was steeper, but the zip lines are probably packed tighter together .
7. Dinner and free time (although everyone was knackered and we finished quite late).

Day 3:

8. Wake up early for trek out of the jungle and back to the village, with a few last zip lines on the way.
9. Drive back to Huay Xai, stopping for lunch along the way.

Thoughts / suggestions:

1. They don't really let on to the amount of walking/trekking you actually have to do. I would consider myself fairly fit, but it was pretty taxing. Fortunately our group covered a lot of ground. Other groups appeared to cover less ground as they had some people who were less physically able, so consider that when choosing your group!

2. There is a fair bit of down time they don't warn you about. I would suggest taking a book and some playing cards, as once you are at your tree house at night, you can't really go anywhere. A mosquito coil also came in handy. Our group regretted not bringing any alcohol, which is almost impossible to get once you're there.

3. They tell you to wear long pants for the trek into the jungle. This is for "leeches" apparently. But in reality it's far to hot and this was completely unnecessary.

4. The guides don't speak very good English, but are very helpful and kind.

5. Prepare for the worst when it comes to food poisoning. Two people in our group got it and several others from another group did too, and we have no idea what caused it. This made the trek out of the jungle very difficult for some of us, so I'd recommend packing painkillers and other meds to combat that.

6. The lighting isn't great (you are in a treehouse remember), so torches and head lamps were very helpful.

7. Pack light! You can leave your main bag safely at the office in Huay Xai.

8. We read that we needed to book well in advance to secure a place, when in reality several people turned up the day before and booked.

8. The treehouses are phenomenal feats of engineering and the views are sensational. The zip lining is exhilarating and never gets old.

Conclusion:

On the whole this was definitely the highlight of our trip to Laos. We made some great friends that we ended up travelling the rest of the country with. Despite what seems to be hefty price tag ($790 NZD for two), it is worth every penny in my opinion.

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Absolutely amazing and astonishing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

I did the Gibbon experience this November (second half) and it was a tour I will never forget. I have to say, it was quite tough and you will be broken at the end of it but it is woth every drop of sweat...

The zip lining is nothing like you would expect, its completely over the top with zip lines of 600 meters and some at a maximum height of 300 meters. I is scary at firts but the feeling is incredible.

The tree houses are fantastic with a beautiful view. Ofcourse you have some animals you could live without like big spiders, mosquitos and loads of leeches... but if you dont accept that, dont go to the jungle.

Take long pants with you, lots of Deet, something to protect your skin from the sun like a cap and be very very careful with what you eat. In every group, somebody gets real sick so take care and skip it if you dont trust it.

We had 2 guides, one older and much more ´protective´ and the other younger and not really interested. The younger one really did not seem to care about safety after a view zip lining. The other did. The zip lining is in principle very safe but be careful not to get your head or anything on the cable, it might cause serious injury. Also double check every time you go. You cant afford a mistake!

Have fun and thanks Gibbon experience!

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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All Over
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great Experience if you Manage your Expectations”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

Hi - I did the gibbons expereince in late Nov/12. To be brief:
-Its Laos, so you're not getting the Ritz - for example: - the food was pretty basic and repetitive (if you like rice, and vegetables cooked in lots of oil then sign up now because that's a significant part of every meal).
-The guides are super nice but they don't really tell you what to expect for some aspects- for example, on the second of three days we thought we'd go visit the other tree houses and started at 930 but didn't get back until 4PM (we didn't rush, but weren't lollygaggers either), where we finally had lunch, with dinner coming about 30 minutes afterwards. Anyways, we were pretty hungry and had wished that the guide had told us the implications - or had lunch sent to the destination treehouse (if even possible).
-super pumped that we did this in dry season. Apparently in wet season it becomes just a horrible slog, probably in hindsight wouldn't sign up for it.
-who can beat sleeping in a tree house hundreds of feet above the floor. We got lucky and saw a whole family of gibbons one day for a few hours and heard them singing another day. Awesome, beautiful primates viewed in a habitat that's as close to untouched by humans as I'm likely to ever get.
-the zip lining is top notch, albeit some of them you have to walk quite a ways to get to. Holy hell that was fun.

Anyways, its alot of money for 3 days in Laos, but if you're willing to accept the 'it's Laos' factors and the price then its definitely a very unique experience. I don't think any of the 'cons' that I've mentioned can't be fixed by the owners if they're paying attention.

Happy Trails!

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“I AM TARZAN!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

What else can you say but Brilliant! Defiantly a once in a lifetime opportunity!

It starts with an nice drive to the local village about 2 hours away this also includes some fun off roading in the 4x4 :o) once we arrived they saddled the horses and off we went. I did the Waterfall experience which was a 3 day 2 night deeper jungle trek then the classic. Just coming off a few days of rain it was muddy and slippery but this made it all the more fun except for the leeches... nothing a little DEET cant fix though.

Now if your a bit precious i wouldn't recommend this for you as there is a bit of walking, a fair few creek crossings and a heap of leeches! Be smart take that little bit of extra time to take your shoes off cross the creek and them put them back on! Its well worth it! The beds are ok, theres not hot water shower and aircon so if your used to 5 star and not adventurous then its a no no for you most likely.

Our Guide was Noon and he was brilliant! His english was good and once he got to know you a bit he opens up and is actually quite the comedian also in saying that he made us feel all like a bunch of pansies!!! We being westerners are all in our hiking gear and here he was in skinny jeans and a pair of pink angry bird thongs... Just when you think your on the brink of dyeing in your trek you are given a harness to wear, its a magical thing this harness, once you put it on you suddenly get a burst of energy and excitement! now it may not be the safest thing when you look at it but WHO CARES!!! it was without a doubt the best thing I've ever done! Flying over Laos jungle 150m in the air! how often does one say they have done that...? and being able to zip line into your house is just an amazing feeling!

The tree house was cozy with a spectacular view all around! YES even in the crapper you have an amazing view! squatting there 60m in the air just doing your thing! Brilliant! :D We got fed like kings and treated the same way! The food was DELICIOUS! and is a true taste of Laotian home cooking.

I would suggest you bring some earplugs as it can get a bit noisy at night time with all the wildlife going off.

I have nothing bad to say about this and i would happily do it again! the people who have complained on here are crazy! or maybe a little precious...

Final words! STOP THINKING ABOUT IT AND JUST DO IT!!!!

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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