Some of you may remember the Gibbon Experience from previous posts on the blog. The Gibbon Experience is a conservation project in northwestern Laos based on eco-tourism. Apparently the local people were hunting the gibbons to extinction before a conservation group helped them to transform that lifestyle into sustainable project. Tourists who pay for a chance to visit the Bokeo Nature Preserve also get to sleep in tree houses connected by a remarkable zip line network. We went for three days and had a fantastic time. The project is set up to employ as many locals as possible so as to spread the relative wealth. Although some of the trekking was a bit arduous in the humid jungle, the whole experience was fantastic. Check it out if you’re heading to Laos. The music in this is by Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Mangan. The video was edited together quickly using…Continue Reading
I know you all enjoyed Chris’s wonderfully entertaining post about The Gibbon Experience in Laos, but I also thought my collection of photos might help flesh it out. I am kicking myself now because I took many photos with our point shoot and the quality/focus/exposure of them cannot compare to my 550D Canon.  
We are currently in Vietnam. Before coming here we were in Laos for about 11 days.  This was much longer than we planed on staying in Laos but since I got ill for 6 days we hung around Luang Prabang and then Vientiane, the capital. Sadly, besides the waterfall, in Luang Prabang and Vientiane we only saw what went by while we drove in our tuk tuk from the bus station to our hotel and the shops on the hotel street. I was bed ridden. My symptoms included chills, slight fever, aching body, horrible constant headache, jaw pain, ear pain, eye pain, soar throat, occasional nausea and eventually diarrhea. Now eight days after first getting sick I am 98% cured. I finally feel like I have the energy to put up a blog post and to see more than one street of the city we are visiting. During our long, long, long bus rides in Laos…Continue Reading
Hey guys, Laura and I are finally in Vietnam. As many of you already know, she started showing some symptoms of dengue fever when we were in Luang Prabang, Laos. Our original plan was to take a bus from there to Hanoi, in the north of Vietnam, but Dengue is not something you want to mess around with, and since Luang Prabang (and most of Laos) has virtually zero modern healthcare, we decided to head to the capital Vientiane instead. Luckily, by the time we got there, Laura’s fever had passed and her other symptoms calmed down. Facing another epic (24-30 hour) bus ride to get from Vientiane to Vietnam, we caved and bought some plane tickets via the north of Thailand to Ho Chi Minh City instead (via Bangkok). We are rapidly running out of time on this little journey of ours, and the consequence is that we will…Continue Reading
Laura and I actually debated whether we should spend the $500 to do the Gibbon Experience. Two-hundred and fifty bucks a piece. That’s a lot of money, and this close to the end of our trip, we’ve been very aware just how much our supply of it is dwindling. As far as I know, the project is unique. Twenty years ago, the Hmong people of the region were hunting the Gibbon to extinction and using slash and burn forestry to clear land. But through some innovation and a lot of hard work an organization called Animo stepped in, working with the local people to create something sustainable to replace their short-sighted ways. By constructing a series of treehouses connected by walking trails and zip lines, the Hmong now accommodate hundreds of visitors each year, sharing with these strangers the forest and wildlife that was previously in danger. In fact, they…Continue Reading
We’re just chilling for a couple hours in the Laos border town of Huay Xai, before catching an overnight bus to Luang Prabang. We arrived here a few days ago in order to do something called the Gibbon Experience in the nearby Bokeo Nature Preserve. It was amazing (and will be up on the blog tomorrow), but a little grueling as well. We spent three days mired in mud and drenched completely through with sweat. We had planned to leave for Luang Prabang last night after getting back from the jungle, but were feeling pretty dirty and beat up so we managed to change our bus tickets to today. Our plans after Luang Prabang are still up in the air. We want to visit Vietnam and Cambodia before heading back to Bangkok for our flight home on September 4, but the border crossing from Luang Prabang into Vietnam towards Hanoi…Continue Reading