From abroad, Chiang Rai is the fastest and easiest way to reach the start of the tour in Houaysai.
Regular buses leave Chiang Rai central bus station for Chiang Khong (opposite Houaysai) every hour or so for a 2-hour drive.
The border crossing is open every day from 8 to 20:00.
Make sure to cross the border one day before the start of your tour.
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 Houaysai.
Daily flights to Houaysay are momentarily rerouted to Louang Namtha due to airport upgrading.
Flights take 50 minutes and costs around 700,000 kips. Check exact flight schedule with Lao Skyway or Lao Airline as departure time may vary. Board the bus to Houaysai upon landing in Luang Namtha.
The fast train leaves Vientiane at 7:30 and reaches Nateuy at 10:47 while for the regular train it’s 8:00 – 12:51.
From Nateuy you can take a minivan to Houaysai (4.5 hours).
Check “How do I join from Louang Namtha” for more information.
Alternatively daily buses leave at 17:00 from Vientiane Northern bus station; it takes about 22 hours.
From Luang Prabang (LP), you may not fly to Houaysai. Instead, you may either join Houaysai by bus, boat, or train. The bus leaves LP bus station at 7 pm and also sometimes at 5 pm. Travel time to Houaysai is about 12 hours and the fare is around 150 000 kips.
If you cruise up the Mekong River with a slow boat (about 300 000 kips), travel time is two days with an overnight stay in Pak Beng where there are plenty of guesthouses to choose from. The speedboat option takes only 6 hours; 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.
The fast train leaves LP at 9:31 and reaches Nateuy at 10:47 while for the regular train, it’s 10:49 – 12:51.
From Nateuy you can take a minivan available outside the station to Houaysai (4.5 hours).
- Direct bus / minivan to Houaysai. Regular buses from Louang Namtha leave 3 times a day (9, 12 and 15:00) and takes 3 to 4 hours.
- Minivans from Luang Namtha airport will take you to Houaysai in 4 hours.
- Outside Nateuy train station a minivan will take you to Houaysai in about 5 hours.
Bus ride from Chiang Mai bus station to Chiang Khong (opposite Houaysai) takes 6 hours.
Schedules Chiang Mai – Chiang Khong as follows:
6:30 – 12:30 / 8:30 – 14:30 / 13:00 – 19:00 (subject to change depending on the season)
We advise you to take the bus in Chiang Mai in the morning, otherwise, you are likely to arrive too late at the border crossing in Chiang Kong.
Make sure to cross the border one day before the start of your tour. It is not possible to cross on the same day as you tour departure.
Border crossing is open from 8 to 20:00.
Once on the Lao side, you will have to take a tuk-tuk to come to our office in the center of Houayxai.
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, we offer about 50% discount for children under 12.
Classic: two nights, more relaxed overall schedule, with chances of gibbons and wildlife sightings.
Express: one night only, steeper initial walk, more zip lines, the biggest tree in Laos, and no gibbon sighting.
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!
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.
Yes, tap water comes from a nearby spring and is filtered for drinking.
Gibbons are wild and 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, severe cold or mood, will discourage them from calling even though they remain in the same area.
For chances of gibbon sightings, you should choose the Classic option (including Honeymoon) as the pace is calm and you have more time to be on the lookout for wildlife in general.
You will not see any gibbons during the Express tour as they very rarely come to that area.
Sambar deer, barking deer, leopard/golden/clouded cats, 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 one of the best options to spot wildlife in Laos.
You will be given a pdf eBook of the biodiversity of Nam Kan National Park when you complete your booking.
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 and occasionally some people completely overcome their fear of heights.
Classic (3 days 2 nights): 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!
Shortest : 50 m – Average : 235 m – Longest : 570 m
We are operating 3 treehouses in the Classic at the moment and 2 in the Express tour.
More treehouses are under maintenance and will be opened soon.
There are plenty of guesthouses (hotels and hostels) with prices ranging from 70 000 – 100 000 (Little Hostel, Oudomphone, Sabaidee, Thaveesinh…) to 200 000 kips (Boat landing, Houayxai Riverside) per night.
You rarely need to book, especially during this post-covid time.