Waking up high in the treetops of a misty jungle with exotic birds singing from a neighboring tree made this the perfect treehouse adventure.
The Nam Kan National Park is in western Laos near the border with Thailand. We went on a 3-day, 2-night ziplining, trekking and treehouse adventure with The Gibbon Experience. The park is very mountainous with steep, jungle covered mountains and deep river valleys. The Gibbon Experience has set up many ziplines that make trails in the sky connecting mountains and crossing streams. The interconnected ziplines and trekking trails allow access their 11 treehouses in the park. On the first morning we trekked up and down steep trails for a few hours, stopping a few times for a rest, lunch and a quick game of Boccia where Richard’s team beat the Laos guides!
After Boccia we received our harnesses and pulleys for the next 3 days of ziplining. We put on our harnesses and after 10 more minutes of trekking up a steep hill we arrived at our first zipline. On the zipline we soared above the tree tops going from one mountain to the next. It was so exciting to be that high, looking down on the valley and moving across the sky. It’s also very peaceful as the only noise is the hum of the pulley along the wire.
The ziplines are set up with very little height difference between each side so that you aren’t going too fast when you arrive at the landing platform. Because of the flatness of lines though, if you don’t have enough speed, or if you spin on the wire as you cross, you may stop early and have to pull yourself the last few meters to the landing platform. On the first day we zipped across 11 lines with plenty of hiking in between. Our longest zipline was 500 m long. It was also the highest at 195 m above the valley floor and gave amazing views of the river.
The last zipline of the day brought us to our first treehouse. The treehouses are accessed only by ziplines making them feel very remote. The first one is a cute wooden, 2-storey treehouse with an open living/dining/sleeping area, a small kitchen for washing dishes and a bathroom with a rain shower. It’s 55 m above the ground, built around a massive tree, with great views of the surrounding canopy. Richard and I were lucky to have our own room on the 2nd level while the rest of our group slept on the 1st floor.
The first night we practiced an emergency escape by ziplining quickly to safe ground. There is no other way in or out of these treehouses, so a large wind storm would be very dangerous. After the emergency drill we were treated to a dinner of rice, garlic fried eggplant, marigold stems and mushrooms! Of course, after dinner we had a bottle of Laou Lao while our guide told us traditional Lao folk stories.
The next morning our breakfast arrived by zipline, a unique delivery method.
The company doesn’t burn fires in the treehouse, so they have small huts for cooking on land. After breakfast we ziplined 3 or 4 wires and then trekked for 3 hours to a small waterfall where there is a zipline for jumping into a deep pond. It was a nice refreshing dip after a hot jungle trek.
We had lunch and then went ziplining again. We did 8 ziplines in the afternoon to get to our second treehouse. The longest today was 500 m. The second treehouse is also 2-stories, but the first floor only has the entry and exit platforms and the bathroom. The 2nd floor has an open area for sleeping, living and dining. Before dinner our guides made us jungle tea from roots they picked on today’s trek. It was really good and tasted like licorice.
The next day most of us woke up early to get a few more ziplines in before breakfast. It was a misty morning and we could hardly see past the immediate trees. It was really fun to zipline through the mist, unable to see your destination. While in the mist, we could hear the call of gibbons in the distance. We didn’t see gibbons, but finally hearing them, meant they were out there, swinging around in the same jungle.
After breakfast we ziplined out of the treehouse and across the river valley and then trekked out of the jungle for a couple of hours to reach our ride back to town. This was one of our favourite adventures so far.
To see our YouTube video of this adventure click on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUbH_m-CyWE or use the link on the sidebar of this blog.
While waiting for our ride to town, we saw one of these homemade vehicles that are common in Laos.
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