We took a bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Kong and then crossed the border to Houay Xai yesterday. We're now officially in Laos. Houay Xai is a very quiet town. It maks Kanchanaburi look like Soho. This is probably because few people actually stay here; it's more of a dropping off point before they jump on a slow boat to Luang Prabang.
We decided to stay and book onto the Gibbon Experience. This looks great fun - like Go Ape, but actually sleeping in treehouses, and ziplining for a large part of the day between areas. We decided to go for the Classic trek (1.5 hours walking per day) rather than the Waterfall trek (4 - 5 hours walking per day). We'd already had our fill of walking in Chiang Mai so wanted to spend the time doing ziplining instead. We are setting off tomorrow for a 3 night/2 day excursion, and can't wait. We have no illusions about seeing any gibbons - the chances are remote - but we're just going for the ride and the scenery. If we see some primates, so much the better. There are tales of spiders in the treehouses as big as your fist, and people waking up to find rats sleeping on their face, so this promises to be quite exciting. Gilly in particular cannot wait for the chance to have a siesta with added vermin.
There is really not much else going on here. There are a handful of bars, a couple of decent eateries ("My Laos" is excellent), and the place we're staying (Sabaydee guesthouse) is spotless, huge, and has excellent views. I will hopefully have more to talk about when we return on the 7th, but for now I leave you with a couple of snaps from the area:
View over Huay Xai (Thailand in the background):
View from our room 1:
View from our room 2:
Last night's moon from the bar: