Daily flights to Houayxay are momentarily rerouted to Louang Namtha due to airport upgrading.
However the Gibbon Experience is located half way between Luang Namtha and Houayxai, so it wont add extra road trip for you. Board the bus to Houayxai upon landing in Luang Namtha and stop in Ban Donchai, gate to the National Park. Book sleeping arrangement there with our office in advance. Our driver will pick you up the next morning at 10am to start your tour.
Flights take 50 minutes and costs 399,000 kip to 670 000 kips. Check exact flight schedule with Lao Skyway (https://www.laoskyway.com/en/general/Schedule_BK_18-11-2015) or Lao Airline (https://www.laoairlines.com/) as departure time often varies.
Call Miss Lar (+856 20 999 88 600) to get the best deal. 😉
4 times a week (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun) a Lao Skyway shuttle bus is arranged after landing in Louang Namtha airport it leaves at 2pm and cost 60 000 kips per person, 1h30 trip to Ban Donchai or 3h to Houayxai. Slightly more expensive buses run the other days. Make sure you book the earliest flight in order to get the shuttle bus.
Check “How do I join from Louang Namtha” tab for more information.
Daily buses leave at 5 pm from Vientiane Northern bus station; it takes about 22 hours and costs 260 000 kips.
1- Direct bus / minivan to Houayxai. Regular bus from Louang Namtha leaves 3 times a day (9:00am, 12:00pm and 3:00pm) and takes 3 to 4 hours. Price is approximately 70 000 kips.
2- Midway on the road 3 to Houayxai, there is a village called Ban Donchai.
You can spend the night in charming Donkham Homestay. (1km downstream / 15 min walk).
Price is 120,000kip/person 1 night, Diner + Breakfast included.
To do so :
1- Call our office (+856 84 21 20 21), we will organize your booking.
2- When you reach Ban Donchai please tell the driver to stop at Donchai market and to call Mr. Nuanchan (+856 30 45 62 677 or +856 20 54 50 55 05).
Here is the location of Donchai market
Here is the location of Donkham Homestay
Yes, we take pride in building so high, 30 – 40 metres (100+ ft), that you can observe the forest canopy from your bed. Only Irian Jaya Papoo natives build that high up in the trees. However, our construction techniques are quite different.
The price for each trek is around 100 usd per day, with seasonal variations. You will know the exact fare for the period when you enquire for a booking.
Yes, kids under 12 pay half price only.
Classic: most relaxed overall schedule with maximum gibbon and wildlife sightings.
Waterfall: more trekking and zip lining in a stricter schedule, you swap tree houses overnight, and have slightly less gibbon encounters.
Express: one night only, steeper initial walk, maximum zip lines, the biggest Lao tree, and no gibbon.
No. Environment is jungle and service is local. You will get exceptional canopy setups, friendly escort and natural outdoor conditions. No five-star hotel… but sometimes a thousand stars at night with open roof!
You will be sleeping in canopy level tree house only accessible by ziplines and share your tree house with other guests from your group. Each mosquito net provides semi-private room for 2 people. When a tree house is at full capacity, solo travelers may end up sharing a mosquito net canopy.
Yes, tap water comes from a nearby spring and is drinkable.
Gibbons are free in the National Park; we are visitors in their environment. It is not guaranteed that you will see gibbons. Gibbons are relatively easy to spot in the morning at any season because they sing. Heavy rain or severe cold will discourage them from singing even though they remain in the same area. To maximize gibbon sightings, you should choose the Classic option as the pace is quiet and you have more time to be on the lookout for wildlife in general.
Sambar deer, barking deer, leopards, tigers, wild pigs, over 100 species of birds, civets, giant squirrels, Asian Black bears, langurs, macaques, loris, snakes, lizards, etc. Our inventory keeps expanding…
However, it is difficult to observe them due to low density and shyness of the species, as a result of human hunting throughout South-East Asia. Still, the Classic Gibbon Experience program is the best option to spot wildlife in Lao.
Depending on the option you choose, in the dry season, you should be able to walk uphill at least one hour per day (200 – 300m denivelation). We welcome guests aged 8 to 80 in the Classic Option. If you know you have a certain allergy or weakness, please bring your medication and further enquire with our office.
In the rainy season, treks are more slippery and our guests are usually younger and in good physical condition.
When we started operation, we used to discourage people with strong vertigo to join our treks. However and surprisingly, most of our guests suffering vertigo who actually joined confessed their vertigo had lessened while living in the treetops. Usually each year, one of our guests has to sleep at ground level.
Classic and Waterfall options: 8 years old.
Express (2 days 1 night): 12 years old.
Your guides were generally born in the village nearby. Most of them have helped building the Gibbon Experience project. Some have a good English level while others don’t and should rather be referred as escort. We strive to bring the level up and value your feedback forms on that aspect.
Gibbon Experience staff all have proper working contract, a work insurance, regular holidays, flexibility to choose to work 10 to 30 days a month depending on farm work, gets a mix of monthly salary, daily allowances, efficiency bonus and annual bonus. This adds up to 180 – 330 USD on a monthly basis and is much higher than average Lao or even Thai rural salaries. Tip is always welcome but please don’t reward someone pretending he’s exploited!
Classic: 23 cables or 4, 53 km
Waterfall: 23 + 7 = 30 cables or 6,3 km
Express: 21 cables or 6,73 km
Shortest : 50 m – Average : 235 m – Longest : 570 m
Classic 4 – Waterfall 2 – Express 2
There are plenty of acceptable guesthouses with prices ranging from 70 000 – 100 000 (Friendship, BAP, Oudomphone, Sabaidee, Thaveesinh…) to 200 000 kips (Boat landing, Houayxay Riverside) per night.
From LP, you may only fly via Vientiane. Instead, you may either join Houayxay by bus or by boat. The bus leaves LP bus station at 7pm and also sometimes at 5pm. Travel time to Houayxay is about 12 hours and the fare is around 150 000 kips. As the bus goes through Louang Namtha, you may refer to the next paragraph if you plan to stop in Ban Donchai and spend less time in the bus.
If you cruise up the Mekong River with slow boat (about 200 000 kips), travel time is two days with overnight stay in Pak Beng where there are plenty of guesthouses to choose from. The speedboat option takes only 6 hours and the fare per passenger is 280 000 kips; it leaves with a minimum of 6 paying passengers. Make sure you join the pier (located 10 minutes upstream LP) at 8 am to maximize your chances to share the boat with enough fellow passengers.
Bus ride from Chiang Mai bus station to Chiang Khong (opposite Houayxay) takes 6 hours and costs 200 to 300 bahts.
Schedules as follows: Chiang Mai 6H30am / Chiang Khong 12H30pm – Chiang Mai 8H30am / Chiang Khong 2H30pm – Chiang Mai 1pm / Chiang Khong 7pm.
We advise you to take the bus in Chiang Mai in the early morning. If you take a bus at noon you are likely to arrive too late at the bordercrossing in Chiang Kong, regardless what bus drivers may say! The new bridge over the Mekong River closes at 8pm but service is not regular yet.
From the border crossing, on the Lao side, you will have to take a tuk-tuk to come to our office in the center of Houayxay.
Regular bus leaves Chiang Rai central bus station to Chiang Khong (opposite Houayxay) every hour or so. Fare: 70 bahts. You may easily double this price if your bus takes you through the bridge over the Mekong River (service currently under development).
From the border crossing, on the Lao side, you will have to take a tuk-tuk to come to our office located right in the center of Houayxay.