Published: March 18th 2012March 8th 2012
After a rather twisty, dusty narrow road we finely arive at Vang Vieng.
Our 10 am VIP bus to Veitene finally leaves @ 10.45am it's suppose to take only 3hrs, the road is very rough, the bus speedo os not working, the odd speed sign suggest 30km, the other instrument lights are flickering on &off. Just imagine traveling on 50mts of tar then 100mts of red rocky dirt road all the way, and takes 6 hrs instead! Not only the bus is rattling so are our teeth & wobbly bits.
It must be hard for the people living on the road edge in small villages much of what I can see through our dust covered window is also covered in thickly in red dust.
The bus comes to stop for one last time, we are all so glad to get off, there are mini style buses awaiting, the baggage handlers are like little soldiers herding us on, then later demanding money to take us to the centre of town. Not much of a choice so its pay up or walk.
Booking into our next hostel, located right on the Num Song River, our room overlooks the river
and mountains, such a lovely change from brick walls and broken down roof tops and crazy wiring.
The banana rotti's vendors are everywhere and so very tempting and right outside our hostel.
Day 2 - Full day Underwater Cave Tubing and Num Song River Kayaking is what we will be doing today. We head out of town into the country side, following a dusty red dirt road, as you bounce along you can not help notice thick layers of dusty on the coating all the plant life and shop fronts with all their ware on display. The sky is overcast and a welcome relief, the mountains are hazzy from all the burning off. What a pity, as the scenery is not idea for photos far too much smoke.
A small trek through dried rice fields, through small villages, over narrow bamboo walk ways and stick bridges we eventually arrive at the Tham Nam Water Cave.
The water level is very low, but still enough for cave tubing, we are all looking forward the this part of the trip. Stripping down to our swimmers, head light attached it a short rocky walk to the water edge and
tubes. The water is nice and cold and much welcomed. Before we can get started its a little tricky getting into the tubes and making sure the value is not sticking in the wrong place, all orgainsed we head to the anchored rope that leads you into the cave, its pitch black and the head lamps are turned on, pulling yourself along, you go deeper and deeper and it gets darker and darker. Lights turned on we came across some ducks tucked away on the cave edge, they must have great night eyes, without our head lights and rope we would be lost. The water in the cave is very clear and blue and feels great, there are some places where you need to get out and walk the tube to the next section, then try and mount the tube, not so easy when its all slipper and only our head light to help. This is not a dead end cave so you have to retrace your steps and at time let go the guide rope to allow other visitors pass.
Making is back to the entry/exit point, lunch is waiting (chicken kebahs, rice, bread roll and watermelon). Not
far from the water cave is Elephant Cave and inside there is a natural stone that looks like a elephant, hence the name.
After lunch its back on the small transport open air bus and head to the Num Song River for the kayaking part of our adventure. The kayaks are pushed down an embankment, we are handed out old life jacket (not to sure they would be of any good), broken straps and torn. Two people to a kayak, we have 6 or 8 kms to paddle (we take the shorter). Along the Num Song there are small riverside stopping points (Pubs) featuring various activities (gaint slide, swinging rope and body drawing). The grog is cheap and many a young backpacker is seen totally wasted and attempt to ride their water tube down the river.
As you paddle down the Num Song River you soon realise how low the water level, and on occassions your kayak hits bottom or get stuck on rocks. Its very relaxing as you slowly paddle down the towards the finish. There is movement in the middle of the river, and what was thought to be rocks, turns out to be water buffaloes
lazing, they are so close, what an exciting moment.
Eventually we see Vang Vieng in the distance, this means the end is close. We are very fortunate that our finish line is at the back of our hostel. I would highly recommend taking the kayak option down the river, where as the tubing takes a lot longer and more energy, when the water is this low. Many young backpackers take the tub option, but we soon see familiar faces we had passed along the way a few hours later. The rest of the afternoon resting.
Day 3 - This morning is a slower day, walking around town, a few purchase made and catching up on emails, facebook etc. Mid morning two Amigos head out trekking toward the mountains and later returned very hot and sweaty with thier tongues hanging low. Beer and shower time!!!!!!
Tomorrow we head off to Vientiane the capital city of Lao's.
There are more photos below