Vang Vieng

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November 10th 2005
Published: November 17th 2005
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House on side of the roadHouse on side of the roadHouse on side of the road

This hut was situated in the mountains before we descended into the Vang Vieng valley.
The 6 hour minivan ride from Luang Prabang provided outstanding scenery as we climbed and decended our way through the lucious green mountains of the region. We also passed through a bunch of small villages sporting bamboo houses and shacks. Along the way the people would return my waves with big smiles.

Quick funny one stop, Tamar went to the back of a restaurant to use their toilet and upon returning, she said something bit her. I look at her leg and it was a small scratch and asked her "what bit you as this does not look like a Mosquito bite?". She said a monkey. I said "What? There are no monkeys here." So I went in the back and behold, there was a little monkey tied to a tree. He was a ferocious little buggar who kept leaping at people and stretching the rope to its limits. I let him grab my shoe and try and chew on it for a bit.

We arrived at Vang Vieng in the late afternoon and we got a sweet guest house (Vang Vieng Orchid) for $5 per night. We relaxed a bit before heading out to check out the
Watching Dad WorkWatching Dad WorkWatching Dad Work

These two kids watch their papa work on the house which is on the road between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng.
town. We had lunch with our Spanish friends (it is a small 3 road town so you keep bumbing into people) and then at night we hit the Island bar, a chill spot on the little island in the river. It consists of a bunch of bamboo sitting areas on stilts above the river. We ended up partying with a group of 11 people consisting of 2 Aussies, 2 Israelis, 1 Holland girl, 3 Spaniards, 2 Swedish girls and me. Very international evening as we sat on a bamboo platform with cushions right on the river.

After a morning rain during which I ate breakfast and watched Friends at one of the cafes (all the cafes show Friends...very scary), the sun broke out and we decided to go tubing down the river (the THING to do in Vang Vieng). A short Tuk Tuk ride up the river and we board our inner tubes and begin floating down the river. We made it about 100 yards and the first bar appeared. The Lao owners threw out a large bamboo pole and pulled us in as we joined 12 others and enjoyed our first LaoBeer of the day (it was noon).
Ride in the cloudsRide in the cloudsRide in the clouds

Our minivan traverses the high Loas mountains before we decend into the Vang Vieng Valley.
Each of the bars on the river also feature a zip line or swing which catapults you into the river. We spent the entire day floating down the river with the other 200 or so tubers and enjoying the picturesque views of the mountains and small villages along the river. We made about 4 stops at bars to enjoy LaoBeer, music and swings/ziplines as well. By the end of the 6 hour float, I was happy to get into a hot shower (especially after the waterproof bag I was carrying with all of Tamar's stuff somehow became non-water proof). The photos from this journey were with my waterproof camera and I have not developed them yet. Sorry.

The next day, Tamar was a bit sick so I spent the day eating, reading and drinking at the Red Lion (a bar/restaurant next to Island Bar....great name, eh Marc Miller?) on a bamboo platform about 5 feet off the river. I stared out at the captivating mountains of limestone and the flowing river. It was glorious.

The following day, we rented a motor scooter and visited some local villages. The people were a bit taken by our white skin but
Mountain OutcropMountain OutcropMountain Outcrop

One of the many mountainous outcrops which pepper this area of Laos.
they were freindly and smiled alot. We aslo visited the famous caves of the area but both Tamar and I are claustrophobic so we only made it a few meters into the caves before we had to turn around. For the last of the 3 caves we visited, a river runs through it so we sat on inner tubes and used the rope to pull us through the cave. Good time. No photos of this day as again I took the waterproof camera and I have not had film develped yet.

It is off to Phonsovan tomorrow by local bus which is on the way to Vietnam.

Additional photos below
Photos: 36, Displayed: 24


The Lonely RoadThe Lonely Road
The Lonely Road

There was no one in this town as we tore through in our minivan on our way to Vang Vieng.
Guest House RoadGuest House Road
Guest House Road

This small road features a group of guest houses (see yellow signs) which are on the river side (the river is to the left).
Post minivan revivalPost minivan revival
Post minivan revival

After spending 6 hours in the minivan, we and the Spaniards found a little cafe for some food and Lao Beer.
Bridge to small islandBridge to small island
Bridge to small island

This rickety bamboo bridge is the connection over the Nam Song river to the small island where the river splits into two. The island houses the Island Bar and Sunset Bar, two amazing places to relax, drink and enjoy the wonderful scenery.
Further down riverFurther down river
Further down river

View from the to of our guest house looking south.
Preparing for the BBQPreparing for the BBQ
Preparing for the BBQ

A group of Lao men work to remove the hair from a recently killed pig which will serve as the main course at their BBQ.
Party at Island BarParty at Island Bar
Party at Island Bar

A group of travelers from all over sit, drink and discuss the world all while sitting along side the river in Laos.
Tube Tuk TukTube Tuk Tuk
Tube Tuk Tuk

This vehicle carries the would-be tubers up the river to start the journey.
Tubers relaxingTubers relaxing
Tubers relaxing

At this bar stop, many tubers take a break and lay in the sun.
Laos LotteryLaos Lottery
Laos Lottery

These Loatians sit under umbrellas and sell lottery tickets. Guess they don't have a QuickPik option like MegaMillions.

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