livin amongst the trees
Since an early age I’ve always dreamt of living in the trees, building tree houses (a plank across two branches in my lazy case) and swings...forts in the forest. The star wars films only enhanced this with the Ewok villages then in later days the elven tree top homes of Lord of the Rings.
So a dream come true, I got to live amongst the canopy of the jungle in Laos!!!!
Fortunately we are able to watch the sunset from our tree house
This had been something I had been planning on since day one of researching at home what to do in Laos. I'm wrapped that I actually got to do it as there is a lot of talk on the internet about it being hard to get bookings. I sent an email and got a reply within about 2 days, others have bad stories of no contact etc. Anyhow, arriving in Huay Xai we do the normal room checks of different guesthouses till we find one (I'm with the new yorkian Theresa, who is half Laos making it much better to communicate :p). Next day we meet at the office ready to head out, we are going with three other Dutch girls and also a guy from the U.S.A. heading out there to help build another tree house...he's an architect/engineer. How he talks about the building of the tree houses reassures me that it will be stable.
Out we drive for about 2 hours, the guy from the U.S. had been here before to help build the earlier tree houses comments on how different the landscape is coming back again. As we look out the window you can see a lot of barren land with felled trees, he explains that it was all jungle last time he came... a pity. We get dropped off and shown our harnesses which we will wear for the trek into the jungle about 2-3 hours. I think to go to the toilet here quickly, being our last stop at semi civilisation. Quickly I learn that bees will be a problem in the area as there is 100 or so buzzing around me.
The trek was fine though some of our group struggled at the start, it was very humid and sweat poured off you but the guides had many stops along the way...to many if you ask me. Eventually we reached our first zip line...it was f@*$'n high! I'm not going to lie to you, I was a little taken aback. But what the hell right, if those little fuzzy Ewoks can do this then surely I can! Now I have a lack of photos mainly because I was obsessed with getting the perfect feet picture to send to my family. We have this thing recently where you take a picture of your feet where you are and post it on our chat...anyhow I have like a million pictures of my feet zipping along but failed to really get anything of the great views from the line haha AND in the end I only got a few usable shots... it's very hard taking photo's whilst zip lining and I paid for it by getting zip burns on my head...I had quite the collection by the end (If you’re not catching it, I put my head on the metal wire as I was scooting along it therefore ripping the flesh from my scalp). Now one could say that you could avoid this by wearing a hat, which is true but I was always adamant that I would not do it again. Well in the end I decided to wear my cap and ingeniously wear it backwards when zip lining...this worked well for a while until I forgot to turn it and lost my cap mid-way watching it float to the ground... (I’ve since been wearing a Laos bought trucker cap which is lopsided due to classy workmanship. I actually was filming that zip line and you can hear my wails when it leaves me...
There was a lot of zip lining and it was exhilarating every time! Finally we came to a place where the guides let us know was the tree house, it sits 150m up from the ground. The tree house was nothing short of amazing, a lot better than I had expected. It was multi storied the bottom was the entrance via zip line on one side and the other side the bathroom with toilet, shower and sink. Up the stairs you enter the main level with a sink with drinkable water on tap along the trunk and flooring surrounding with beds and a table and stools. There was another level from here which seemed to be the penthouse which you could set up another bed. Here are some pics
The architect had split up from us by now but I could see the tree they were building in from ours, you can see a blue shirt in the tree if you look closely The trees are massive and well suited to houses but all are different and designed for that specific tree. The other thing we could see from our tree was a MASSIVE tree that housed the largest amount of bees I have ever seen, those things hanging from the limbs are hives! We travelled to its base the next day to have a look
As we arrive the guides quickly prepare us some snack food, lychee, mango and honey crisps they are leaving and will be back in two hours or so...they have their own camp a little way off. Eventually they come back and bring us dinner, it's really quite nice and ample supply to fill me up. They leave for the night letting us know they will come for us in the morning, also mentioning that if we get a bad storm with big winds they will also come for us and to be ready as tree may fall...or something along those lines. That night it is soooo hot in the tent it's almost unbearable until winds start to pick up, soon I see light flash across the sky and distant thunder. Hot and bothered I crawl out to watch the incoming jungle storm, it was pretty amazing watching over the jungle canopy in pitch-black darkness the storm roll in...and it was big! So windy that I heard another tree fall in the short distance away. Constantly I thought the guides would be coming to take us but nup they never came.
The next day was much the same but we got to zip around a bit more, the guides said they would be taking us for a swim today which was met with eager enthusiasm! So after some zipping and some trekking we reach a point where we must now trek down stairs. Some may know that since Korea my knee has been playing up and these stairs killed it, by the end I was in hell pain so I definitely have some issues there. We finally reach a hut which sell beer and cold soft drink, you would of thought us gone a month by how we skull the drinks. A river is right next to the hut and we have a swim to freshen up, and then head out to civilisation by truck with retro fitted seats in the ute tray. I decide that outside will be better as I envied the people last time with having the outside breeze. Wrong decision... the road going out is crazy bumpy nearly kicking me out a few times but I make it and back in Huay Xai we meet up with our other travellers to head on to Luang Namtha.