When I first found out I could stay on an actual adult fitting tree house with The Gibbon Experience, I was so EXCITED so much, you couldn’t shut me up and every second topic of conversation would come back to ‘Did you know in Laos, you can stay on tree house out in the forest?’ I became so annoying I diffused myself but kept in mind that somewhere deep in forest of Laos lies a place I longed to call home. Much planning took place months after and we made it happen. Pick up point for the stay is located at a small town Huay Xai it literally 3 minutes boat ride across the river from Chiang Khong, Thailand. We had traveled on road previously from Chiang Mai which took about 6hrs including a few stop overs, a nice little rural get away if you feel like Chang Mai isn’t what you were after. The trek to the tree house involves a fair amount of hiking and zip-lining across rivers and mountains in Bokeo National Reserve, if remember correctly the longest zip-line along on route stretched up to 400meters/500meters in distance. It was breath taking seeing nature in its true setting while literally hanging above the valley. A place to call home 45meters above the jungle floor. The only way out in and out the tree house is to zip-line across to step back on land, you’re trusted to be independent with your harness and clipping on and off the line (Wouldn’t recommend doing this under the influence, it’ll be a straight drop with no one to attend). Sleeping nets are provided to try deter out uninvited guest, there is a small kitchen facility with a hot thermos snacks and drinks, mood lighting, and also I kid you not! a very impressive shower and toilet fitted. They stay was comfortable-magical-surreal. wait… way too cool! The tree standing behind is believed to be one of the oldest in the country. Try tree hugging this one, the seven of us combined couldn’t. After much venture I recommend to standard slow boat ride towards Luang Prabang along the Mekong river. A good excuse to give the adrenal glans a break after working overtime zipping around the forest. The journey is called slow for a reason, it takes two days with a night stop over at a little town called Pak Beng. Here’s a few tips you should know before jumping on the slow boat journey
- – Arrive more than an hour before the boat is set to depart to ensure yourself a good seat. Tickets tend to be oversold leaving passengers crammed on the back of the boat where sound of the engine if deafening and the heat radiating from it will not make your journey a pleasant one.
- The boat does not serve lunch, however there is a small snack bar selling beer, soda, and non perishable treats. It’s best to purchase a packed lunch from one of the vendors before embarking, I suggest a baguette or two it’s delish and you get to make additional friends if you share the extra portion.
- There is not much to do in Pak Beng, the one night is sufficient. You’ll have no problems finding a guest house when you get in there’s plenty on offer. Wake up early for a run, and a nice slow breakfast before commencing on the journey again.
- Where you sat on day 1 is not your guaranteed seat on day 2.
- Bring a good book or some kind of entertainment with you.
- They’ll be no charging points so make sure devices are charged up if you rely on it.
- There is a simple boat toilet on board, while on the same note bring toilet paper or wet wipes in case.
- Please please be polite to the locals, I’ve witnessed a few brow cringing attitudes. Seriously?!
When you arrive at Luang Prabang you’ll need to have destination to tell the tuk tuk driver. However don’t stress about finding a accommodation if you don’t already have one prebooked, so a bit of research on the area you want to stay, get there and you’ll find a fair selection to choose from. Don’t be shy about walking into guest houses and asking to have a look see before wanting to commit.
Once you settle in, hire a bicycle for a few days and try doing the top 5 (in no particular order).
- Watch the sunset from Mt. Phou Si.
- Visit a waterfall or two.
- Wake up early for to observe the alms ceremony.
- Have a few snacks, pick up gifts from the market.
- Have dinner at Utopia.
I’m not going to judge if you decide to embrace all the local delicacies, but please do tell me how you enjoyed it.