Vang Vieng

April 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Laos | Leave a comment

Vang vieng is a riverside town, surrounded by countryside and cave-filled rock formations.  Nearly everybody who visits Laos heads to vang vieng and this is usually for the sole reason of tubing. The town has turned into a bit of a student hang out. There are numerous bars showing endless re-runs of ‘friends’ and they all serve shitty food – which is the perfect combo for hungover idiots.

The rock formations were amazing to look at

Perfect, relaxed chilled out scenery

View from the river

we hired a bike to do some exploring; all the locals were busy riding across this bridge, but as soon as we saw it kelly hopped off and i thought it best to push my bike like an amateur rather than fall into to the river like an idiot

the kids here were so funny. This one little kid was walking along the road carrying a heavy load and took it upon himself to get a seaty, i couldn’t really kick him off. – this was the day we rented bicycles instead of a motorbike. the roads are crazy and cycling was definitely tough.

Our favourite place was the blue lagoon. The water here was so inviting and relaxing. We spent a couple of days  here just reading and swimming. the lagoon was really so unbelievaably blue with lots of fish and butterflies around -there were also very few other people around. it took forever to get to, esp on those damn bicycles, but was well worth it.

It took kelly a while to get her confidence up but then she started her gymnastic display off the tree. This shot looks like it’s going to be the biggest belly flop ever, she pulled it off though and landed perfectly and graciously accepted the applause from all the fans around the lagoon

this water cave went really far back, it got to a point where we couldn’t see anything and a few reeds tickling your leg can really send you sprinting back to the light. supposedly you can swim against the current deep into this cave, but we wussed out about 40 meters in.

Another fantastic cave, we explored this on our own for a while, there was one point where there was a hole with a 5o foot drop. this cave, located a steep climb up from the blue lagoon, was huge. we couldn’t even cover all of it, and we wandered around for about an hour. definitely creepy and somewhere you could easily get lost. yeah the 50 foot drop had one little skull-and-crossbones hand-painted sign that we nearly missed. safe.

a scary looking passageway

shortarse hudson. most of the caves had beautiful stalagmites growing from the ceiling, like this large white one behind us. the pics don’t really do the insides of the caves justice – they were so black and empty, but the stalamite stuff really sparkled.

this cave had a lagoon inside, you couldn’t see anything without a torch. The guide took us there and we messed around on tubes with him. We talked him into jumping off the side of the cave into the freezing cold water; obviously he expected us to do the same, but it was fun. -oh yeah, when hudson refers to “the guide,” he means this random local that we didn’t pay or anything – this guy just walked up to us in the woods, led us to a hut where he gave us some rice whisky out of bamboo shoots and then “guided” us to this cave with a black-water lagoon inside. it was out of a horror movie for sure. hudson managed to climb up the rock wall and jump like the guy did, but i was a big wuss and only made it b/c the guy grabbed me and hauled me up the wall like dead weight.

the guide. in his undies.

After hearing ‘you’ve got to go tubing’ from far too many people, we had to try it out. The river is sidelined by numerous bars dishing out buckets of whisky and free shots and they all have crazy rope swings and even giant slides. A good combination.

total chaos. could never be legal in most countries.

We had to try the swings. You know when someone falls badly as you can hear the slap on the water and the groans from the people on the side. Kelly had the unfortunate pleasure of a huge flop, she had the bruise for about a week afterwards. -yeah it was so bad that a local through a rope at me because he thought i might be too dazed to swim. which i was.

this slide was pretty fun, managed to land without much pain or maybe it was the beer that helped. we saw loads of kids all over town with huge bandages, limps and gashes so i think we faired pretty well, despite my giant bruise.


One of the only tubers who made it to the end. What generally happens to people (us included), is that they stop at all the early bars (there are 8 within the fist 100 metres) and lose track of time, and eventually just get a tuk tuk ride back before it gets dark instead of tubing down the 3 hour strecth of river.

Have to say im really glad we did tubing, it was a lot of fun and kind of like being at university again. We met a lot of people who were staying in vang vieng for weeks and were just going everyday – definitely couldn’t handle that. After tubing the best thing to do was to chill out in one of the bars and watch a few (seven) episodes of friends. there was a crazy island night scene that the die-hard tubing crew liked, but it was a little cheesed out for us – even after an afternoon of whiskey buckets.


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