We left Vientiane in mid/late January and our group shared a large bus with another group of tourists. The 4 hours bus ride to Vang Vieng was pretty easy as the countryside is really picturesque. Rice paddies, cows, goats, children playing. At one point we drive past a long line of young monks. They are called novice monks when they are still learning and the procession was for a funeral. Vang Vieng is home for the next 2 and a half days. It can be lovely and peaceful and the surrounding limestone mountains can be seen from every part of town.
This was the view from our guest house Kham Phone.
One of the first sights we saw when we got to Vang Vieng was a herd of cows strolling through the town. They ate every potted plant in their path until they were chased away by unimpressed plant owners.
Our first meal in Vang Vieng I had a yummy mango fruit shake and a chicken lao noodle soup and The Koala got a a bbq mix grill.
The river runs right through town so there are many bridges along it’s length. Some you have to pay to cross, others are free.
We did a bit of exploring in the afternoon of the first day. Over a bridge and through a village where the locals live. It’s dusty and the roads are bad. It’s a world apart from the nice roads and footpaths in town. A group of adorable kids run up to us calling “Sa-bai-diii! Sa-bai-diii! Money kip! Money Kip!” They hold up their hands, giggling. Begging encourages all the wrong things but The Koala can’t bear their sweet little faces and gives each of them some money.
We walk through rice paddies and climb caves that in wet season, are filled with water. There is no water up there now. There are flags through the rice paddies we later learn are to be followed closely. Oops. Land mines are found all over Laos and walking between flags is the only way to ensure your safety. Our Intrepid Travel guide tells us that one of his friends was walking in Vang Vieng after dark and was killed by a landmine. It’s so sad and unfair that there are landmines still being discovered in Laos. But what can you do?
We have dinner with the group and practice a few buckets of booze in preparation for the next day.
Vang Vieng Highlights:
- Beautiful mountains.
- Charming town.
- Caves, waterholes and mountains to walk/bike/scooter/tuk tuk to see.
Vang Vieng Tips:
- If you see flags, follow them. Don’t go marching off the path into who knows where.