Tubing down party river
Trip Start Nov 15, 2008
59Trip End Jun 15, 2009
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We decided to head to Vang Vieng and stay there for a few days, rather than hang about in Vientiane. We organised a bus from our hotel and were picked up at 1:30pm. It was a songthew that got us, and we loaded our stuff into it with a few Canadians. The songthew then preceded to drive us around in circles for about 5 minutes until we were all very disorientated. We got dropped off at another guest house/tourist office and then waited there for a good while in the sun (realising that we were a 2min walk from our hotel). A mini van then came and we (and about 12 others) crammed ourselves in and prepared to wait to leave for Vang Vieng. Well after another 30mins or so the mini van dropped us off at the local bus station instead and we were herded into yet another vehicle (this time a 22 seater coaster) and finally we hoped we were on our way
The journey was fine, but our driver was a bit crazy about the windows being closed. It was meant to have a/c but it really didn't seem to work so well. The Canadians (Jackie, Adam and Trevor) who had been on our first bus decided to join us in finding a hotel. We settled on a nice place that might have been a bit pricey, but that guaranteed good views (it was dark by this stage so we couldn't see anything). Our first taste of Vang Vieng life was looking out from our balcony as the bars across the river all turned on their lights and started playing music at full blare!
We all went out for dinner and ended up at a place called cue bar that a guy on the street recommend we go to. It was a crazy little place but the food was cheap and the whisky buckets cheaper so we settled in for a few drinks. A lot of the people working there seemed to be 'falangs' and not locals. When we asked one of them they said that they didn't get payed but worked for drink and food (and drugs). Basically Vang Vieng is the kind of place backpackers go to, get completely smashed every day by the river and then continue on into the night. Lots of people seem to get stuck, one person we talked to had been there for 3 mths!
We made a bit of a night of it having a few drinks and when the bar closed at midnight we thought we would try one of the bars on the river. These were all winding down though as well and we stayed for about an hour before deciding it wasn't really worth it. In Laos there is a curfew, so everyone is meant to be home and in bed by midnight. The rules are relaxed a bit for foreigners, but the bars are still meant to be closed. It seems in Vang Vieng the police let things slide a bit, but they still like to flex their muscles every now and again. We grabbed a really cheap and awesome baguette on the way home (chicken cheese bacon and salad) and headed for bed.
The next morning we didn't wake up until about midday so we decided to call it a right off and chill around the town. It turned out that the views from our balcony were amazing so it wasn't a hard decision. There wasn't very much happening about the place, but we did manage to find a bar playing the NRL so we sat down to watch some real footie (the first since leaving home). We caught up with the Canadians again that night and had a few drinks over cards and pool.
Tubing was the name of the game for our last day in Vang Vieng
We sat down to enjoy a beer before getting into the water. I had my leg taped up with a plastic bag and the hope was to keep it as dry as possible. Dave and Adam started the day with a huge zip line thing that left you with about a 7 meter drop into the water, the rest of us sat and watched ;).
The day basically paned out like this: get into the water on your tube float down the river for a bit until you see a bar you like (or until you needed a drink). The bar would throw out a rope to you and then you would hang on while they dragged you in. Then you would sit by the river in the sun have a drink or two, jump from a zip line and continue on your merry way. The only problem is that you are having such a good time you forget that there is still a good few KM's to go, and by the time you realise it is starting to get dark and cold. You are meant to take the tubes back by 6, we arrived back at 7:05. Oops.
The next day it was back to Vientiane to pick up our visa's and then head to Luang Prabang.