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Published: January 30th 2010
We were woken up by the driver at 3am who said we'd arrived at our destination and must leave the coach. We were sleepy and confused, as we weren't meant to arrive until 4.30am. This meant there were no coach connections to the boarder, so we had to team up with a softly spoken German girl called Leah to get a taxi. She was lovely and sat with us when we arrived at the boarder and had to wait 2 hours for it to open. It wasn't half as bad as it sounds, we were all quite happy sharing travelling stories and writing up our journals.
Eventually the boarder opened at 6am so we walked to the passport office, signed our Thai deparure cards and boarded a coach across the Thai-Laos friendship bridge to the Laos VISA application office. Filled in more forms, paid 1500THB (about 30quid), waited maybe 20 mins and were able to walk through to Laos. Two lads called Joe and Tim were going in the same direction so we agreed a private minibus price and set off to Vang Vieng (saying goodbye to Leah who was heading elsewhere). It took a few hours to get there, slept
a little and read some of Joe's Lonely Planet guide for South East Asia. There was a guy sharing our private minibus with his sister - he'd been born in Laos; spoke excellent English; was really secretive about himself but mentioned having an Agent in LA; so we think he may have been a celebrity in Laos.
Got out in Vang Vieng and wandered round looking for a Guesthouse. We spotted one hotel with a pool but the prices were extortionate so we made a mental note to come back and use their pool. Found a Guesthouse in the centre and couldn't believe it when she said 150THB between us... that's our cheapest yet! The bed was huge and covered in Pink Princess bedding so we snapped it up right away. Everywhere in Laos takes Thai Baht and US Dollars as well as their local currency (Kip), so it's convenient, but can get a little confusing... especially when you pay in Baht and they give you the change in Kip. Laos is really, really cheap compared to Thailand though.
Had lunch in the Family Guy bar - they have loads of bars (with but padded cushions that you lie on)
playing US sitcoms (Family Guy, Friends etc) on their TVs all day and night. Bumped into Alan (the Geordie we'd chatted to on the coach from Bangkok to Chiang Mai) who told us he'd loved Tubing but was now off to Cambodia.
Got ready to go Tubing (after our standard afternoon nap!) at about 5pm. Nipped for some food in a Restaurant overlooking the River and had Sweet and Sour Chicken. The food is so much nicer in Asia than Take Aways back home! It's not deep fried or unhealthy and is full of fresh crunchy veg.
Had a cuddle with a local cat, meowing at everyone for food. It was getting dark and we hadn't seen anyone heading down the River on a rubber Tube... what was going on?! Spoke to a group of people behind us and Tubing is meant to be a daytime thing... doh!
"All dressed up and nowhere to go".
By this time I'd started on the Whiskey buckets so we went for a few more beers in bars nearby then went home nicely sozzled.
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