04.09.2012 - 06.09.2012
We said goodbye to Chiang Mai and started our 6 hour bus journey to Chiang Khong to cross the border to Laos-this journey was horrible! I have never felt so sick in my life!! Still managed to eat half a packet of Oreos though : ) Although, we did make a toilet stop next to the white temple (amazing) in Chiang Rai which I had really wanted to see so that was a bonus. We arrived at the border and it was the weirdest thing ever, it certainly didn't look like any passport control I've ever seen! We nearly walked past the guy on the Thai side! Then a man takes you in a wee long tail boat over to Laos! I've never experienced anything like it. Then it was early to bed before the Gibbon Experience...
After doing an overnight trek we were worried that maybe doing two nights at the Gibbon Experience would be too much but seeing as we had already paid for it (and it was ridiculously expensive) we didn't really have much choice. We set off at 8am and to say the journey was a mission is a bit of an understatement! First we drove for two hours in the back of a pick up truck, then we were lumbered into the back of another jeep thing with an open back and drove for an hour along a dirt track. Now the back of this thing would have comfortably sat 6 people- not in Asia. As well as Gerry and I, there were 5 other men, a lady- with a baby and a load of supplies for the village! We were getting thrown all over the place! The car kept getting stuck in the mud as well and the back end was skidding all over the place. At one point Gerry said 'don't look outside' we were on the verge of a sheer drop!! Finally we arrived at the village in one piece and started our trek into the forest. I have to admit I was being a bit of a baby but I don't really enjoy wading through a swamp! Gerry thought I was going to start crying at one point but I was just being moany : ) after walking through mud and uphill for about an hour and a half I was seriously fed up and started thinking 'this bloody better be worth it' I'm sure you can all picture my face : ) Eventually we got to the first zip line, had a (very!) brief safety chat and off we went. Apologies for being cheesy but oh my god it was amazing!!!!! As you came out of the trees all you could see for miles was the top of the forest- I've never seen a view like this in my life and know that I probably won't again. It actually felt like you were flying. As torturous as it was, the journey there was definitely worth it. After the first zip line we were left to zip around a section of the cables on our own, which was fun but you had to be pretty vigilant with the equipment as the guide wasn't there to help and the lines are 200m in the air! we also seen a gibbon basically as soon as we arrived, swinging in the trees!! That was pretty cool as I've never seen as animal like that in the wild before.
The guide then showed us to the treehouse. The one we had was pretty impressive, it had three levels! The shower was also pretty cool as it was completely open to the forest, felt a bit weird at first but it's the best view I've ever had in the shower! We were all a bit shocked when the guide then left and said he would be back in the morning... Ok then, so you are just leaving us here stuck in a treehouse in the middle of the forest? Looks like it!! It was fine but dread to think what would have happened in an emergency! In our group there was us two, a German girl and two 18 year Dutch girls. That night, as it became pitch black, it did get pretty scary. Me and Gerry, mature as ever, started to scare the Dutch girls whenever we heard a weird noise- they were giggling away though so I think they enjoyed it really : ) we also taught them how to play scabby Queen- which one of them especially enjoyed.
The next morning we woke at 6am to the sound of the gibbons singing. We asked the guide why they sing but his English wasn't the best but I think basically if they are happy they will sing but if not they won't! A bit like humans then! We then set off on a 6 hour trek through the forest. This was pretty hard going but it seemed that just as the walk was getting to the point of complete torture, we would come to another zip line and everyone would be happy and amazed at the experience again. I felt sorry for the German girl in our group as she was bitten by leeches 6 times!!!! They are disgusting little things!! When we stopped for lunch on of the Dutch girls took off her sock as it was covered in blood stains and guess what was in there...5 leeches!!! Yuck. Luckily Gerry and I managed to avoid them. We had lunch in another tree house and the guide told us to meet him in half an hour- after lunch we all fell asleep though so he had to come back and get us : ) that night we also all fell asleep at 8pm!! I think it must have been all the trekking!
We woke up on our last morning and took in the view for the last time- waking up in the morning and seeing all the mist hanging over the trees is pretty amazing, the pictures definitely don't do it justice. After breakfast (our first meal of the whole 3 days that didn't involve rice!) we spent an hour on the zip lines and then it was time to say goodbye. All in all this was an amazing experience and I would jump at the chance to do it again (despite my moaning) if you ever get the chance to do it then definitely go for it!