Gliding with Gibbons: The Amazing Gibbon Experience

Gliding with Gibbons: The Amazing Gibbon Experience


The air was heavy as I woke up on the morning of my last day in the Nam Kan National Park. Typical in the rainforest, a dense fog hung to the treetops and mountain ridges, obscuring the forest below it. Nearer by, the song of tropical birds rang out as they made their morning rounds.


fog rainforest gibbon experience laos
Early morning fog adds a beautiful touch to rainforest.

It was still early for me as I slipped through the mosquito net that draped around my bed. I am not an early morning person and breakfast had yet to be brought to our treehouse, but the forest is most alive in these early hours, and I was determined to at least take pictures of the birds. The birds were scampered around on the branches of the trees, calling out for each other, and looking for food.


As the fog began to clear the call of gibbons could be heard from across the valley as if to be cheering its release. I quickly scanned canopy for a view of the apes and could only slightly make them out as they moved through the trees. Aiming my camera in their direction I began to frantically snap shots as best I could from that distance. The treehouse we had spent the last two nights sleeping sat high in a tree, on the edge of a point, commanding a 180-degree view of the valley below. Accessible only by zipline, anything that came or went had to fly through the sky.


3 gibbons rainforest gibbon experience laos
Amazing to get the chance to watch this gibbon family group.

A French primatologist, who I was soon to find out had been scouring the forest for a year, came soaring into the treehouse, camera in tow, to get his first glimpse of the gibbons. Once he set up, I felt a bit foolish trying to take pictures with my superzoom camera while he knelt beside me with a lens that was half my height in length.


The gibbons were awesome to watch. A family group of four, we watched as they swung from branch to branch with ease. It was easy to spot the female with her distinct orange fur and her infant that spent most of it’s time hanging on to her. These Laotian Black Crested Gibbons are considered critically endangered and, although heard, are not often seen by visitors.


Having not even heard the gibbons the whole time we were there, I was doubtful that I would get the chance to see them. Having gotten the chance to see them sealed the trip for me. The previous day, our only full day in the park, had been just as exciting with numerous of its own highlights. We hiked through the rainforest, ziplined all over the place, got to see some monkeys, and slept in a treehouse in the rainforest.


popa langur gibbon experience laos
Spotted this Popa Langur in the trees while ziplining.

The Gibbon Experience is not only about seeing the gibbons themselves; many don’t ever get that chance. It’s living the life of the gibbon, in a way. The Gibbon Experience has 15 km of ziplines allowing you to fly across the forest canopy with speed, as the gibbons swing through the trees. While some of the ziplines allow you to visit the other treehouses and get a view of the forest and wildlife through a different view, some allow you to gain a drones view of the forest as you travel high above the valley below. Each night you also sleep in the trees like gibbons do; except you are in a treehouse with a bed, shower, and toilet. Although nothing spectacular, besides being in a treehouse with a spectacular view, the restroom is quite the experience. Although closed off from the rest of the treehouse, it is open to the rest of the forest world. Allowing you to take in the views, and the tropical air, while you shower.


shower treehouse gibbon experience laos
Such an amazing view from the shower in the treehouse.

The Gibbon Experience, for me, is one of the most memorable experiences that I had, not only in Laos, but in all my travels. I will admit that I was unsure if I wanted to go on the Gibbon Experience. It was tucked away in northwestern part of the country, out of the way from where I was, and it isn’t cheap for a trip in Laos. But once I realized that the whole operation is part of a larger conservation project, protecting both the land and the gibbon, it was well worth the still relatively low price.


Have you ever stayed in a place like this?


Gliding with Gibbons: The Amazing Gibbon Experience

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  1. Thank you very much for this interesting and detailed testimony about our conservation efforts!

    1. No problem! Thank you for creating such an amazing experience and for all of the conservation work that you do.


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