Swimming a little bit to dance a lot a bit

Trip Start Dec 01, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Phouna Guesthouse

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The ride from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng is beautiful and naseating. Tourists are packed into mini vans that hug the curves up and down the hilly terrain of Laos.

Vang Vieng has become a main stop on the backpacker circuit through Laos. This is a small town in the middle of the jungle with beautiful limestone cliffs, picturesque peaks and hidden caves. These are not the reason that the backpackers flock here. Instead, the main attraction is the Nam Song river that winds its way through the town.For about $5 you can rent a tube and float down the peaceful river... or, I'm sure it was peaceful at one time. Now it is  lined with bars with loud music, the infamous buckets and lots of backpackers.

We arrived on our first evening and found a cheap hostel on the edge of town. At dinner, our New Zealand friends happened to walk by. They had come with the Canadian girls the day before, and we had expected they would spend their first day tubing.However, it seemed none of them had been able to make it out of bed that morning, and so we would all have our first day of tubing together.

The next morning we met up for breakfast- bacon sandwiches on french baguettes and coffee shakes.  A friend of the Canadian girls, Laura, also came into town so we met her.  We decided to only get one tube between us- we had heard that tubes were not necessary, and often got stolen by people to reclaim the deposit. Darlene got the tube and the rest of us headed to the river to meet her. 

The first bar, inexplicably named "Bar 2", had a flying fox. This is a zip line with a bar to hold onto that flies out over the water and then hits a spring. The handlebars fly back and the rider is propelled at top speed into the water. Darlene, the bravest of us, got up the courage to try it first. The New Zealand boys- not to be outdone- went soon after her. Then the rest of us couldn't say no. After a drink at the first bar we moved onto "Mojito Bar" which was about 100 feet away. This bar had a high dive, another flying fox and free snake wine. Please see the photo for an explanation of the snake wine. This flying fox was especially fast...or something...because Tommy and Rob both lost their pants and laura lost her top on day 2.

The third bar- "Bar 3"- had the most people and dancing. It also had a rope swing (Lindsy dragged everyone she could find on this one, including one unfortunate boy who split his pants in the process) and a hot blue eyed bartender. We got stuck here for quite awhile. In fact, with the brief exception of a swim across the river to "Love Life Bar" we pretty much stayed here for the rest of the afternoon until the sunset. As we headed back into town, we realized that of the 4km of tubing, we made it about 300 feet. That evening after dinner we headed out to Q bar for more dancing.
That morning we said a sad goodbye to Rob and Phil, who were heading back to Bangkok to continue their journey onwards to Norway, and Darlene who was also heading back to Bangkok. On the next day we decided we needed a break from tubing. Sarah wasn't feeling well (from the food...NOT too many buckets!) and spent the day in bed, while everyone else rented scooters and explored the caves. Which, after Katie's unforunate incident in the dj booth the night before that landed her on crutches, was quite a far uphill climb. We forgot about flashlights, so only had 1 between 6 people. Then we drove around the valley to the lagoon where we played with some local kids. That evening we hung out at one of the weird things they have in Vang Vieng- a TV restaurant. Every restaurant in Vang Vieng has lounging tables that face tvs playing either "Friends" or "Family Guy" constantly. Seriously, every restaurant. This is weird, but sometimes after 7 months of travelling with no TV all you want to do is zone out, eat a pizza and watch some sitcoms.

The next morning Asher and Tommy headed to Vientienne, and Sarah, Lindsey and the remaining Canadian Girls (Katie still on crutches, Laura and Kal) headed back to the Nam Song. This time we were determined to get past bar 3. We also didn't take a tube at all, because last time we had returned it late and had to pay a fine. Also, the river is so gentle, you don't need one.  This day was a little colder, so we waited awhile before getting back on the rope swing and the flying fox. We did make it past bar 3- all the way to mud bar (about 200 more feet down the river) where Lindsey and Laura frolicked in the mud pit, while Sarah sang Oasis around a campfire. We had an early night.

The next morning Lindsey and I were scheduled to Kayak to Vientienne, but when we got to the to Vientienne. We wanted to go on the 10 am, and he said that was fine, but then chased us down the street to let us know it was sold out. We could still get on the 9.  We woke up the Canadians to say goodbye, but when we returned at 9 to the travel agent, he informed us that the 9 am bus had only one seat so we would have to go on the 1:30 pm. We were pretty annoyed, especially because no one could really confirm that their was actually a 1:30 bus, and there were some local buses, but no one could tell us when they were. Finally we found someone who could tell us that we could get on a 1:30 bus. We hung out with the Canadian girls and watched some more friends. Then we left them in Vang Vieng and headed to Laos's capital.
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rayray51 on

ok this is like 4th of july on steroids! me = srsly le jealous!!!!

jdn86 on

this place is awesome

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