How to fly through the jungle like a Gibbon Monkey:
Step 1: Take life-threatening minivan ride from Chiang Mai to the Laotian border
Step 2: overpay for a bus to take you from one border booth checking out of Thailand to another border booth checking into Laos
Step 3: Take some time for mild amazement and confusion about how SE Asian border crossings seem to deal in US Dollars
Step 4: Tuk tuk to Huay Xai, check in at the Gibbon Experience office and get ready to spend 3 days and 2 nights in the jungle!
Step 5: take a tuk tuk to a hill town, two hours away.
Step 6: hike through the jungle with 7 of your newest friends.
Step 7: tie a rope attached to a rusty carabiner onto your belt and jump off a cliff. (in other words, learn to zipline):
Step 8: Explore your new digs, and if you could just get over your fear of heights real quick, that would be really convenient right about now.
Step 9: Climb under your warm blanket and fall asleep to the sounds of the forest. Wake up to hear Gibbon Monkeys in the distance.
Step 10: This is very important. Be sure that you have three Germans in your group. They bring the best booze, and glowsticks, and condiments for your meal… the list goes on. They hired our guides to hike 4 hours to town and back to buy beer for everyone. It was like Christmas morning when the guides zipped back to us with cold Beerlao, and home-made bamboo shooters with LaoLao whiskey. Side note: I swear I’m not an alcoholic. But I really was genuinely excited.
We didn’t have any Gibbon sightings, but we zip-lined and hiked to our hearts’ content. Off to our next adventure!