29.08.2012 - 29.08.2012
Whoah, so much to write about that I really have no idea where to start. So lets just take it from the beginning.
The 15th I left Luang Prabang. It was another bumpy ride, and I also found out that VIP busses just are some turist crap. They promise air conditioning and toilets, but that's really just if it works! Also they fill up the bus totally, so the midway has luggage at the bottom and locals at the top. Meaning: if there were a toilet there's no chance you'd ever get there.
The next morning I arrived Huai Xai, and then took a tuk tuk directly to a guesthouse I had got recommended by some girls that I met. The reason why I stayed in this dead town was only to join the gibbon experience which i had booked on the 17th. The gibbon experience is a two ore three days trip in Bokeo nature reserve, where you do zip lining, live in tree houses hundreds of meters up in the air and hopefully see the gibbon monkeys. The money you pai for the trip goes to protect the forest, that's getting smaller all the time cause villages near are cutting down the forest. More information at " http://www.gibbonexperience.org/ "
We started in the gibbon office to watch security movies and get some information on what would happen. It had been raining the day before and all the night, so we were all prepared for many hours walk, since the truck aren't able to drive all the way to the village as it usually does in the dry season. First we drove about one hour by car, then we had to walk the first distance. It was mud everywhere and only up hill. The sun was burning, and it didn't take long before we all were baded in sweat and mud. We continued for about for hours, then we finally heard the sound of a car. They had managed to push the car up the worst hills, and we got a on-and-of (had to push the car up almost every hill) ride the last 30 minutes in to the village. There we had a quick lunch before we started trekking up in the jungle. We had plastic boots, knee high socks, and all in all were covered in sweat and mud. Guess it must have been quite a look! The knee high socks were for the liches that you had both in the trees and the grass around the mud. We walked up hill for one and a half hour, and then arrived the "kitchen", where they made the food that we would get in our tree house. All the food were carried there by donkeys, since the road there is so steap and hard to walk. By the kitchen they gave us gear for the zip lining, instructions, and then we went furter into the jungle.
I stayed in tree house nr. 1, in a group of totally nine people. Three girls from Canada, a couple from Australia, two siblings from Brazil and a guy from England. The tree house had three floors, kitchen, bathroom with rain shower - everything you could possible need. Still it was simple and exactly what you would expect a tree house to be. After dinner we just talked ansdd played cards until the solar power went out. Not much to do in the middle of the jungle in total blackness, so we all went to bed.
The next morning we all woke up at six. Why? Well, the jungle were filled with this strange sound, a kind of melody but really high, that were repeating itself. The gibbons were singing! After a while they moved closer to the cabbin to eat from the trees surrounding the cabin (still they were a good hundred meters away). We watched them play, swing from tree to tree, so elegant and in control. The brown one were males, and the black one females. There were about seven of them, including a male carrying a little black baby. Our guide told us that the male gibbons usually take care of the children. Impressive! After about an hour they disapeared, and we had a quick breakfast before it was time for some zip lining. Unfortunately it was raining all day, but we still zip lined and trekked for several hours. The mosquitoes and leeches were eating us alive, but it really didn't matter, the jungle was breath taking! And also the zip lining, there's something special flying hundreds of meters above the jungle.
The last day we also had a lot of rain, and therefore had to walk all the way back. 6 hours walking. We were all exhausted, but it felt pretty good being back to the sivilization. A group of us were staying one more night in Huai Xai (since the border closes at 18.00, an many of the busses leaves latest 17.00), and we went to a place called "bar how?" for some mango mohitos and Thai food. Soo god!
The day after (the 20th) I crossed the border and left Laos behind. Thailand next! Arrived Chiang Mai in the evening, and got picked up by the man owning the place I was volunteering; Spicy villa. A place one and a half hour out side of the town, the Thai countryside. My job were to help cooking, cleaning and building, whatever help needed. Got my own bungalow for the week!
During the week there we did a lot of things. The owner were building a school for learning the children in the village English, and he were also building a new bungalow resort for tourists. We did some planting and building. We also went to the village and spent some nights there, cooking and generally living with the locals. Some days we went to one of the many waterfall for shower (there were normal shower as well, just not that much fun!). We also did some trekking, since we were as good as in the jungle all the time.
In the middle of the week another volunteer came, a girl from NYC! We had a lot of fun, and it were good to have someone to talk to again. While working with the staff they preferred Thai, so the communication were minimal sometimes.
The second last day I got to go with some of the tourists staying there to do bamboo rafting and tubing in the river! So much fun! The day after we also went to the elephants, and got to ride them and give them a bath in the river. Amazing animals! Could control them only by voice! Definitely one of my biggest experiences this far.
After this we went back to Chiang Mai, no matter how lovely the bungalows were it was good to be back in a city. Especially a lovely city as Chiang Mai! Emily, the girl from NYC came with me and we found a hostel together and shared a room. We went to the big Sunday market; walking street, and it were huge! You could buy everything, and there were food stalls everywhere. Yum! I bought a pile of clothes for the same price that I would get half a T-shirt at home. Perfect!
The day after we started the day with some fruits for breakfast, then we went to a Internet cafe. So many things to sort out after a week in no where; mails to answer, where to go next etc. Finally got to book my flight from Bangkok to HK, weird to see the end of my traveling... When we were finished we had an hour Thai massage before we walked to a big shopping mall close to the airport. Weird to see all the fancy stores, restaurants etc, seen no such things in the places I've been earlier on this trip! In the mall it also were a cinema, a really fancy one! Before the movie started we all had to get up and they played the national song. That's something we don't do at home! We saw a Thai movie called Shambha, lovely movie about traveling with some complicated love. The perfect movie at the moment, and a movie I definitely will recommend!
The next date were my last in Chiang Mai, and we went to the biggest temple called Vat Phra Sing. So beautiful!
After I went to the guesthouse, packed my stuff and went to the bus station. Twenty hour bus ride to Chumphon! The bus were so good! Air con, food included, massage in the seats and you could choose between tons of movies. The best ride of this trip so far, and quite cheap as well! Thailand is such a good country for traveling, no wonder people go here time after time!
Now I'm in Chumphon, waiting for the boat that will take me to Ko Tao, a paradise island! Soo looking forward to white beaches and sea breeze. Going to take a four days diving course, to get diving sertification for open water. Ko Tao is the ultimate island for diving, so it should be good!
Take care at home, I miss you all!