I travelled with two English girls from Luang Prabang and we don’t know how we managed it but we ended up on a mini van that took the old, bumpy, windy road for 7 hours to Vang Vieng. On the new road it takes 4! So not the best start. We arrived to our hostel Real Backpackers, which was really nice and the staff were so helpful, at about 9pm. There was a problem with my room so they gave me a night in a nearby guesthouse in my own double room ensuite for the same price. I wasn’t complaining! I even got a towel! The travel towel is wearing very thin at this stage.
We went nearby for food which we immediately noticed is more expensive than Luang Prabang. I got a papaya salad, one of my favourites. We ignored the pumping tunes and got an early night feeling pretty rough from the bus.
We got free breakfast at the hostel again. Something I love about Laos most hostels donfree breakfast which is always a choice of eggs of some sort. Good way to meet people and save money!
We were still a bit dishevelled after the Water festival and bus so we decided to get a tuk tuk to the blue lagoon and cave. I had to also find a phone I could pay to use to ring the bank as my only card left decided not to work. The bank were very helpful though in fairness and I got sorted. Bank cards are like gold dust especially when travelling alone and it’s so hard to contact a bank with no sim card. Pay phones don’t exist anymore. Before we left I also did some major bargaining and research around the town and got the best price I could for a visa and bus to Vietnam. I got it for 85euros. Cheapest I could find and most people I knew paid more but still so expensive! I had to hand over my passport and hope for the best it would come back in two days with a visa. Dodgy I know but the done thing here.
The blue lagoon was nice. It’s quite small and there’s a swing rope and a tree to jump off into it so that was fun, but the water is so cold it’s hard to swim in it for too long.
The cave involves a very steep climb for about 10minutes before going down into a dark cave with nothing only random spray painted blue arrows on rocks kindof directing you where to go. There was only a handful of tourists in there scattered around which was nice. The Buddhas in the centre of the cave with the sunlight shining on them was a brilliant sight but you have to ignore the plastic bags and drink cans scattered around. Laos has a serious litter problem!
We went for an explore around the cave which we regretted at times in flip flops but it was a laugh all the same. We relaxed for a while beside the lagoon and watched the locals eat picnics of sticky rice, fish and beer Lao before getting our tuk tuk back to the hostel.
Fortunately/Unfortunately there is a free whisky hour from 8to9 every night at the well known Sakura bar nearby so that became our nightly routine. You also got a free tshirt for every 2 vodkas bought so that was the uniform of all tourists in Laos! It was a good bar and was busy every night and then that closed at 12 and everyone moved onto the club after which was a different one open everynight so everyone went to the same one. It was good but after two or three nights it was very samey.
The next morning Becky was feeling under the weather so we postponed tubing and I took my much needed admin morning. I found an Internet Cafe and job searched and fixed the cv etc. Not easy on ancient computers that cost a fortune to use by the half hour. I met Rhiannon for a cheap noodle soup lunch and went for an explore. I found nice river side bars and a cute bridge over a river. I watched the sunset surrounded by a few hot air balloons from an empty riverside bar and saw children play beside buffalos I’m the river. It definitely reminded me of how far from home I was!
We ventured out for some more free whiskys and played some drinking games with some more girls we met at the hostel 🙂
We couldn’t put it off anymore tubing had to happen. There was a huge group going from the hostel for Ryans birthday aswell so itvwas the perfect day to go. We were a joke beforehand. All 6 of us looked and felt like death and didn’t want to go #travellerproblems but as soon as we sat into the tube on the water, with my vodkamixer in a water bottle in my lap, we loved it.
There is very little tubing involved as the first bar is nearly straight away. They play games like musical tubes and volleyball for a few hours and then it’s another 10 minute tube down to the 2nd bar where there’s more basketball, volleyball and games. We had a great group and we all loved it. We tubed back in time to get our deposit back which most people don’t do and we stumbled upon the nicest, cheapest restaurant in Vieng Vien, Victors Place. We ate every other meal here for the next two days it was so good and cheap! Hard to find in Laos. We managed to make it to free whisky hour to continue celebrating our new friends birthday. Any excuse! Unfortunately iv no tubing photo evidence as obviously nobody brought phones or cameras but I won’t be forgetting it in a hurry.
Becky and Rhiannon left the next day to South Laos so I had a diary and research day and went to the friends bar, which is a restaurant that plays friends all day constantly. Such a good idea! Went to Victors Place with a few from the hostel for my sticky rice and soya curry and we ended up barricaded in for a few hours because of a rain storm. We didn’t care aslong as we were fed! 🙂
We all had decided a night in was needed thank God. I had no interest on starting my 30hour Vietnam bus journey with a hangover and plus I had to watch what Laos kip I had left.
Overall I liked Vieng Vien wouldn’t say I loved it but only because it was after the madness of the Water Festival. I think I would have appreciated it more at another stage of the trip. I still loved the people and I liked the easiness of everything being a walk away but it’s not somewhere I could stay for very long because of how small it is and it is very touristy.
Good news is passport came back with a visa. Relief! Now to endure the dreaded 30hour journey to Hanoi obviously a flight is the most common way to do it but that’s double.the price. Itl be an experience 😉