Today, you have an exciting day ahead of you as you depart your hotel at 7:30 am in search of the Pileated Gibbons of the Hylobatidae family. Your first order of things is to pick your ticket pass at the Angkor Ticket Booth, before continuing to the Angkor Archeological Park, where our primate friends reside.
Once you have acquired your tickets, you will be moving on to the park itself, entering from the South gate of Angkor Thom. From there, you will trek along the canals, where you will see all kind of birds, monkeys are other various types of wildlife. At the halfway point, as you march along shaded trails, you will spot a local village reminiscent of an era long gone on the other side of the moat. You will stop briefly there to catch your breath and takes some pictures. After a short rest, you will carry on your journey to the gibbon camp. Along the way, you will be able to visit a hidden temple seldom visited by tourists due to its remote location. Upon arrival, at the site, your guide will take the lead and track the gibbons to their current location. Once you have found them, you will have as much time as you want to photograph these fascinating creatures.
The pileated gibbon has sexual dimorphism, meaning that you will easily be able to distinguish the males from their female counterpart by the colour of their fur. Males are typically coated in pitch black fur, while the females are, for the most part, white-grey with patches of black on their bellies and heads. After the tour, you will be taken to a restaurant near the temples for lunch and returned to your hotel.
After Breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel at 8:30am and depart by tuk tuk /or car from Ban Lung to travel 35 km north to Kachon village approximately 45 minutes away.
Upon your arrival at Kachon, your boat will be waiting to take you 12 km to visit a Kachock tribal village and to observe a sacred cemetery of Kachock hill tribe where each tomb has effigies of deceased and very intersting decoration. Our guide will give you the explanation of the animism belief of the indigenous people, again approximately 45 minutes downstream on the Sesan River to Veun Sai town. On this journey you can observe the nature on the riverbank and the daily activities of the people who live along the river.
In Veun Sai town we will take the back seat on motorbike to travel about 20 minutes to I Tub village, a Laotian community approximately halfway to the Veun Sai-Siem Pang Np station inside the park. Once in I Tub, we will take a short break for lunch and meet with a member of the Community- based Ecotourism Team.
After lunch, we continue to the station by motorbike along a forest path, we might see tracks and signs of some of the local wildlife such as the claw marks of the sun bear on the tree trunks, or footprints of deer and other species as well as local birds. At around 2:30pm we will arrive at the gibbon research station where you will be introduced to the station chief, scientists and researchers, your gibbon guide shown around the camp. You then have time to relax and make yourself comfortable before walking to the nearby savannah for a spot of bird watching; trekking on silvered langur trails to look for seeing them and to get chance of seeing other wildlife and enjoy the surroundings of the beautiful jungle .Walk to the resin trail and see how local communities collect tree resin sustainably to support their local livelihoods and the forest paths before to sit down for to an early dinner at 6:45pm.
At around 7:30pm we go for an hour night jungle hike, equipped with torches. The canopy is home to many nocturnal animals such as the pygmy-loris (a small arboreal primate) and the civet (a small jungle cat). Close to the ground, it is much harder to spot other night animals; however, with the torches the reflection of their eyes often reveals their location. You will then head to bed at about 9:30pm before rising early as you will need to be awake well before sunrise the next day. You will sleep in a basic room which is provided by the community at the based-camp for overnight.
Today we rise early at 3:15am because the gibbons wake up with the sun and call to mark their territory as soon as dawn breaks.
At 4am, whilst it is still dark, we are following a small trail to the protected gibbon area about 45 minutes away to make sure that we are there in time to hear their call. We then reach the edge of a grassy savannah and wait for the call of a certain gibbon family, currently the only group that accepts people in their presence. The different groups start to call (sing) at around sunrise with some calls carrying up to 2km. Once the habituated groups of gibbons starts to sing, the gibbon guide will try to locate them in the forest as fast as possible and he will guide us to the spot so we can watch them as they go about their morning activities in the tree canopy. In some cases, they let you come very close – less than 15 meters – which provides an excellent opportunity to take pictures. This is a special time as the gibbons can travel quickly in the trees and leave in a split second, anytime they want. Once they do, it can be very difficult for us to find them again, however the group can often be followed for a couple of hours throughout the forest. After the gibbon spotting we head back to the station for brunch at about 10:30am.
We then pack up and get ready to leave. We take motorbike back to I Tub village. Again, some parts we will be on motorbike, some we will walk. On the way we visit a Chinese and Laos settlement and take a short walk around the village. It’s a nice idyllic village with friendly people and on certain days you will be able to witness traditional local weaving. We then continue back to Veun Sai town, cross the Sesan River by a small ferry, before stopping off for lunch at a restaurant that boasts a beautiful view of the river and its banks. Our journey has now come to an end and we are picked up by car and travel back to Ban Lung arriving at approximately 3pm.