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Published: August 9th 2017
Geo: 18.9401, 102.357
Vang Vieng, a town that seems to have lost its soul and fallen in to a viscous cycle of a constant flow of drunken backpackers, but beyond this town lies beautiful landscape that offers heaps of activities such as the infamous tubing, rock climbing, trekking and kayaking etc.
To get here, we hopped on a 6hr mini van ride through some amazing mountain and jungle scenery but on horrible road conditions with holes and rugged dirt sections, landslides are also commonly apparent.
On arrival we found a nice guesthouse for a pretty cheap price that included everything including hot water, four baby puppies, television and a mountain view balcony for a partial sunset.
We walked around town and found there was a day kayaking trip to Vientiane which immediately appealed to us and a great way to move south. We continued on to get dinner, passing restaurant after restaurant playing Friends and Family Guy and where the daily tubing enthusiasts returned with their shirts off or wearing a tubing singlet with and with paint all over them and in a drunken state holding booze in their hands. Of course not everyone was like that, but it didn't appeal to us.
draw for people here is the tubing for 3km downstream and stopping off in bards along the way, not the best combination near a river and in hot heat. The poor locals have to put up with this everyday and the friendliness of the locals drops somewhat in this area.
The next morning we hired bikes to explore some caves and lagoons, it was a beautiful day and pretty hot by 10am. The first cave is not far from town, but you pay extra to enter your bikes per person and where you end up parking it 100m up the road and of course pay entry fee to the cave, so it seems ridiculous to pay silly amounts for everything.
The cave was very nice and had another opening for some beautiful views down the valley and we basically had the cave to ourselves for most of the time.
We continued to another one 7km west of the town and again paying just to cross a bridge. The roads were quite bad, rocky and sometimes muddy which made riding tough on the bum but also exciting.
We were aiming for a popular Blue Lagoon but missed it as there was a sign beforehand deceiving
people that it is similar, many people mistake this with the real one and pay entry fee. But it was still really nice with a lagoon you can swim in and relax with small huts, the landscape is beautiful with rice paddy fields at the base of impressive mountains. It was very nice and relaxing and would have been nice to camp there. But I was still disappointed we missed the proper one and didn't have enough time to get there and back. It's annoying that locals can be deceiving in that way.
We had a bite to eat at a small locals restaurant run by a former "Jungle Monk" who was nice and helps people get to the right Lagoon. After we returned to town and booked our kayaking trip to Vientiane.
We woke up and the tour guy knocked on our door and told us that our group of 8 others had cancelled due to getting too drunk the previous night, so we went with a group of three older New Zealanders and told to keep our price quiet as they had payed more.
We set off on a very horrible, bumpy and dusty 1.5hr trip via tuk-tuk to the Nam
Lik river where we were given brief instructions and set off in groups of twos. The day was beautiful and warm, so being in the water and getting wet was fine. We went through a few rapids, the first being fun as I almost fell off. The rest were quite small due to the start of the dry season and the low water level. It was great cruising the river with jungle on either side, locals fishing and stunning landscape. It was very relaxing and a great way to move south than taking more buses.
After a bit over an hour we stopped for a superb lunch of chicken kebabs, fried rice and baguettes, I score more as one of the New Zealand ladies gave me a kebab and I finished Anna's fried rice. But we missed the opportunity to jump off rocks in to the river which is part of the tour, there seems to be a lot of that going on where er haven't done activities which are included in the tours. A further 30 minutes of kayaking after lunch and we stopped. I would have liked to continue for the proposed 3 hours of kayaking instead of half
that amount, but either way it was a very good trip. We hopped in the tuk-tuk for another 2 hours to Vientiane, with better road conditions.
For amazing landscape and great activities then this town offers lots of it, even if you can't stand the drunken behavior.
Thanks to Anna for her pictures as I lost mine
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