Unofficial caving experience....

Trip Start Jan 08, 2011
Trip End Dec 20, 2011

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 122;

Took the Bus From Vientiane to Vang Vieng.

Arriving here felt really strange there is lots of restaurants/bars with relaxed seating, with either family guy or friends on and every seat taken by a "backpacker" and if there not watching tv there getting drunk and yelling at each other, saw two girls walking along the street completely drunk in bikinis at around 10, one couple having an argument, this is not what we expected to find in Lao.

Day 123;

Where to begin, after a few boring days where we spent a considerable amount of time stuck in a room, it feels though we have a new leace of freedom, eg, things don't cost an absolute fortune!

The night life here is a little out of the ordinary, but the day times are amazing, there is sooo much to see and do. (i really am showing my age now right)

After being woken at various points in the night and morning, Phil gave up and got moving, he got us a map of where we wanted to go, so we had a plan.

Whilst Claire and the drunkards were still snoozing, sat and watched the locals fishing in the river below and the "karsts" I think they are called surrounded by the cloud and mist , it might be what it is here [fine if you like that thing] but it definitely is A mazing, and nothing can take that away...

The first cave we went to was basically a tourist cave, owned/claimed by the "Vang vieng" resort, not sure how that works but anyway, paid a toll to walk through the resort, out the other side across the suspension bridge over the mekong, ticket to the cave [yep you guessed it, foreigners pay times three] and took the steep steps up to the entrance, inside - lights all the way round and a path way, it was still way cool,although made safe for tourists even the steps up to it and the pathway inside, all in concrete is impressive if you could see it you would understand, how they got it all up there and in there who knows!!!!
views from the stairs and the lookout points were awesome.

at one point we did come to a no entry sign and we thought but there is still a path?? No lights but we thought, ahh we got the minerals - went a fair way in, dark, spooky, a no entry sign and no one around it was pretty weird feeling, we got to where the path ended, stood for a minute looking in... and chickened out, and plus if anyone has watched the film the descent as many times as us you can understand why.

The views from one balcony view point was amazing, again would put pictures on but the phone lost them again.

After that we walked to the swimming place just by the bottom, before the water from inside the caves meets the mekong so its beautiful and blue and cleat, so we swam, then just behind that, where the water actually leaves the caves, there was a cool little pool, and a cave that you could swim into and under - - - way cool, the force of the water was strong and the whole time your thinking I hope there's nothing in here!!! But you swim in it anyway!!

Walked back and took a different crossing over the river, saw some signs and thought why not, followed the path for miles, right out into the sticks, along dirt tracks at first and then across fields and past rice fields all surrounded by these karsts and again its just amazingly beautiful - so you can escape the Vang vieng bubble and get away from that. A little sign every so often but pretty much just walking and wondering if your going the right way, eventually found it, paid some money to some people - remember this is really in the middle of no where, nearest road is a good 45 minute walk, the only human you have seen is a local building a shack in a field, the closest thing to civilisation is maybe a shack you pass along the way....but apparently they own these caves...really weird.... so we pay and they hand us two toy torches..

Anyway trudged off over more fields towards one of these karsts, with what we didn't know at the time was a "guide" into what you can only describe as jungle, yes me and Claire, jungle, flipflops, spiders, shorts, snakes, you know, up these slippery rocks and we get to a hole, we kinda looked at each other as if to say are we sure about this???

Perfectly safe I'm sure and I bet a lot of people have done it but it was definitely the, erm, unofficial shall we say, caving experience - now this, was a little different.

Crawling along on hands and knees, squeezing yourself through gaps, wondering if you'll get back out and generally just bricking it,is the way to describe that.
Especially after just entering the cave, the "guide" shows you a very poisonous looking spider...mmm, no idea if it was, not that big, with the spindly legs and it just looked like something to be wary of, so that always helps to get the heart pumping a bit quicker ay!!

Did two of those caves and headed back, that was enough for one day!!!
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