A spoilt paradise "Vang Vieng"


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Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng
December 10th 2009
Published: June 18th 2017
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My way from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng was a stunning bus ride in the lush vegetation of Laos. One of the aspects that I appreciated most during this travel were: passing through sleepy farming towns, fishing villages, amazing landscapes, noisy bus packed up with local people and a good amount of westerner travellers as well, great ambiance and above all being utterly surrounded by nature.

It was pure pleasure when I leaned over the bus window and the breeze cooled me off from top to bottom giving me that sensation of wellness in that hot day. I just love these exotic travels on a rackety bus making its way through the forest, where you never see the end, and makes you envision what you might encounter further up along the unknown path.

Bus and train travels have this curing effect on me and to admire the landscapes that evolve after me is just priceless.

A few hours of lovely ride in the nature before arriving to this little village called Vang Vieng and soon everything suddenly changed. It was pretty much a backpacker town full of young westerners that mainly appear there for parties, drugs and sex.

It is pretty common in countries like Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam for their affordable prices and the allurin party atmosphere that creates there.

Excessive tourism is a gloomy mien especially in the developing countries and one of the many instances was this place.

Thoughout town there were hotels, guesthouses, bars and restaurants by the Nam Song river. I stopped a moment trying to view this place without this massive development of tourism, drunk people, alcohol, drugs, smoke and so on. It would have been a place where someone would spend the rest of his/her life being surrounded by sublime karst hill landscape, forest, exploring caves and the beautiful Nam Song river.

This sort of pastime is now shattering the local people traditions and culture. Once the word spreads circa a place it turns into the same place that you would find allover the world where you see the same things, people with same wishes, providing cmfort and good time for everyone and where the most beautiful thing that one might see would be missing and that would be the diversity: being attracted by someone with a colourful dress and hat, someone carrying a banana basket on the head, kids smiling genuinely and all the traditions that every country in the world had but that, sadly, are slowly disappearing.

A lot of dark sides behind the tourism industry but, unfortunately, the society nowadays is becoming more and more slave of the economy where the most important aspect of all seems to be the profit.

I stayed in a small guesthouse overlooking the Nam Song river and valleys, I remember the absolutely wonderful colours of sunsets, the tranquil and gentle water of the river following its course as far as the eye could see.

The next day I decide to explore more the outer area and I went to visit a cave. What surprised me was not much the cave itself but a kind of altar that was built with all the typical regalia to venerate the gods and spirits of the various religions.

Out of the cave I started to walk around exploring the farmland. For me, that I spent a long time farming in Australia and New Zealand, it was as a paradise there.

I love being involved in some outdoor activities and farming is my ideal job. I could see livestock grazing peacefully surrounded by this stunning scenary that made me wish to stay longer. This is one of those places that I am looking for as, one day, I will have to choose to live a less materialistic, simplier and more spiritual life.


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19th June 2017

A spoilt paradise
Looks sublime Marcos. But...how sad your impressions were of a spoilt paradise where pursuit of the dollar overwhelms to some extent the spirit of the place.
20th June 2017

A spoilt paradise
Hey Dave, Unfortunately Southeast Asia suffers this excessive tourism that, as You said, the pursuit of the dollar overwhelms to some extent the spirit of the place. Always appreciate your comments Dave..
8th September 2018

Good information!
Now Vang Vieng changes a lot. Beside the most popular Viman Vang Vieng Restaurant in town ( at the walking street ) we now have the one more good thai restaurant, VANGVIENG THAI at the Wat Kang Temple street.
9th September 2018

Good information!
Hello, thanks for the information.

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