(Boat race competition in Vang Vieng)
Going to Laos is a mission and that is not a joke at all, but how come backpackers could not help themselves going there? Then, just keep reading… Luang Prabang is also another heritage town you would not want to miss, but Vang Vieng is where you want to stay a little longer than you planned to. Why? There are a lot of reasons, but which category you would fit, whether you’re a party animal, a nature lover, foodie, or loves ‘magical stuff’, they all have it in Vang Vieng, whatever it takes to make you happy.
Why Vang Vieng a Party Stop in Laos?
Vang Vieng is Laos’ paradise. It is a small town in the middle of mountains and surrounded by stunning natural resources. Now let me start enumerating reasons what keeps us coming back for more to make this post interesting.
(View from the common balcony in the hostel)
Prime hostels are facing the mountains that look amazing anytime of the day, although I enjoy the view every morning (and perfect with hot black coffee) at the common balcony in the hostel. Prime hostels are not expensive but they are always booked out for the obvious reasons, rooms rates range from $8-20USD* even up for a yuppy ones.
So you want to do something? There’s a lot to do there, you could just walk from the town to the caves if you feel like caving; However, I suggest that you hire a motorbike if you want to do more than just spelunking. The caves were not as good as the Krabi ones but it was still a good view from the top, overlooking mountains and rice fields. From there(I mean after caving), you can go straight to the waterfalls with your motorbike, just be ready for a rocky ride because most of the roads are not yet developed.
(Party people waiting for the fun time when they get really drunk!)
Tubing, Slides, Swings, and Party!
The real fun starts when you start tubing. It costs 70,000 Kip ($8.75 USD) as of March 2009 from the You Tube video (it was just 50,000 Kip *when I was there 2008) which includes a tuk-tuk ride with the other backpackers going further up the river (where the tubing starts) and a tube that will float you away to your river adventure moments.
TIP: Make sure you begin tubing in the morning so you can have more time to stop at the riverside bars.
Tubing along the river was ecstatic! I was on the water just relaxing and enjoying the view of the rainforest around, the beautiful lush mountains, fellow tubers who might be way further back or ahead of where I was. Kayakers too. Bar people along the river will wave at you, inviting you over to stop and have a drink, you then get to choose which bar you want to stop or you can even stop at each bar along the way. All you have to do is wave your hand and they will throw a rope that you can hold on to get you at the side, and ready to hop on the chosen bar to start the bigger fun!
Most bars offer free shots of local liquor “Lao-Lao” which in my opinion will hit you on your second shot no matter how trained you are in drinking. Some bars have pool tables, sling shot area. Not to mention what the popular bars have, big slides, flying trapeze, and flying fox splashing into the river! (I’ve tried them except the slides that were under construction that time. I hate that I deleted my photos and You Tube videos of that! Grrr! Did it for a wrong reason!) I know, it’s interesting! Although there were a lot of accidents happen in those because they do it when they’re all drunk and silly not even aware where they would land. There are no safety gauges in Laos so you do your adventure at your own risk. Keep in mind that there is no proper hospital in Laos too so you have to ride all the way to Vientiane (the capital city) and fly from there to Bangkok (if you want a real and proper hospital, if you know what I mean).
After a crazy tube ride, you can chill at the literally laid-back restaurants watching ‘Friends’ series. Affordable and freshly cooked food are served at a cheap price if you know where to find them. The town is small enough not to find places, so take a little adventure to find them. Internet is hard to find in Laos and if you do, it is quite expensive. When you’re in Laos, you should be ready for an older civilization kind of lifestyle.