The Gibbon Experience and Luang Prabang
After returning to Bangkok from Koh Lanta, we found an $18 flight to Chiang Mai. $18!! There we met our Peace Corps friends Ginny, Sarah, and Kanoe, who we have traveled with since. These 3 are excellent travel companions for us because a) they love to eat good food, b) they are always up for anything, and c) they love to play cards. Chiang Mai was as nice as everyone had described. We took a cooking class, got Thai massages, went to temples, and of course went to see the elephants at Elephant Nature Park. After Chiang Mai we spent a day in Chiang Rai, and then made our way to Laos.
Our first stop in Laos was Huay Xai, the launching point of the Gibbon Experience. The five of us signed up for this thing months ago; it is a 3 day, 2 night gig that consists of hiking, zip-lining, sleeping in treehouses and listening and watching for gibbons. There was actually a lot more hiking than we had expected…and it was unbelievably HOT and HUMID. Luckily there was an amazing outdoor shower in our treehouse where we could rinse off the layers of dirt and sweat at the end of each day. The whole experience was so much fun, and listening to the gibbons “sing” in the morning was amazing. We actually saw the gibbons a couple times, which was very exciting.
After being shuttled back to Huay Xai, we took a “VIP” bus to Luang Prabang. It was a bus full of built in bunk beds, and each bed holds 2 people. We were pretty grateful for these cramped little beds since the trip took SIXTEEN hours. We got into Luang Prabang around 3 am and fell straight into bed.
And so we have spent the past few days in the lovely, atmospheric city of Luang Prabang. We have whiled away the hours playing cards at cafes and comfy lunch spots, visiting temples and museums and markets. We spent one day swimming at the nearby waterfalls, which were beyond beautiful, and visited the bear rescue where we all discovered our new favorite animals: sun bears and moon bears.
Today around 6pm, Andrew and I will fly to Bangkok. From there, I will head to the USA, and Andrew to Tanzania. Our Southeast Asia travels have come to an end! We are so glad we got the opportunity to visit Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.