vang vieng, laos // a river runs through it.

vang vieng laos
after we left luang prabang, we made our way to the town of Vang Vieng, Laos (said: vang v-en). the town gets mixed reviews, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. we knew that the town itself had become a young backpacker haven with an emphasis on tubing and boozing, but was situated in gorgeous laos countryside. hhmm… sounded interesting enough – and it was. sure, you’ve got to weed through some of the backpacker grime to find the good stuff, but once you do you’ll be really happy. the outdoor and water activities are endless: tubing, rafting, swimming, ATVs, hot air balloons, caving, rock climbing & my personal favorite: laying out/reading.

vang vieng laos
this is the epitome of vang vieng. 20-something in a tubing tank top (they must be free because everyone wears them – look at this dude with three of them), ATVs, hot air balloons and fruit shakes for sale in the dodgy little town amidst the beautiful countryside.

vang vieng, laos
our ride: back in another van for a twisty – but absolutely stunning – drive to vang vieng from luang prabang.

vang vieng, laos
the drive: mountain ranges on mountain ranges on mountain rangesvang vieng, laos
late afternoon our van dropped us in the middle of town, tossed our bags off the roof and then everyone scattered in search of a place to stay. we quickly realized  reason #1 so many backpackers get stuck in vang vieng – it was cheap. like, REAL cheap. the first guesthouse/hostel sign we saw was promoting rooms for $3USD. before we’d left that morning, we did a little research and had identified – but not booked – a bungalow style room so we headed in that direction. (we’re finding this is a great way to get a good place. show up with some good places in mind, get a quick look at the room before you commit & then negotiate. always cheaper).

vang vieng, laos
just off the main backpacker drag (totally fine by us), we landed at Phoomchai Guesthouse for $14/night including AC.
vang vieng, laos
our basic, but cozy, bungalow. and how random is this? we’d befriended an awesome danish couple in luang prabang who’d left days before us, and when we woke up on day #2 in vang vieng and walked out onto the patio for a cup of coffee, they were sitting across from us doing the same.
vang vieng, laos
want a map of the town? this is it. for real. eehhh? not to scale. not updated. hand drawn. thanks.

vang vieng, laos
vang vieng, laos
one of the quirky things vang vieng is know for is its dingy bars that play american sitcoms (particularly FRIENDS) on repeat. after a day in a mini van, this was the perfect way to relax and unwind. we curled up with some beers and watched about four episodes.
vang vieng, laos  P1180219
and then we wandered to dinner at AMD Restaurant. a locally owned, operated & delicious little spot. a must try if you’re in vang vieng. and here’s why: all the other restaurants & bars on the main strip have the exact same menu. for real. the exact same. and it’s all terrible imitation western food. this, is tasty laos fare.

vang vieng, laos
our first full day in vang vieng, we got up early, grabbed a you-guessed-it… motorbike… and hit the road. vang vieng, laos
the scenery in this town can’t be captured on film. there are insane limestone mountains everywhere. this i just snapped at the petrol station while we were getting our bike fueled up by some locals who were fueling themselves up with lao lao whiskey at 10AM. the petrol attendants (you can’t pump your own gas) had their girlfriends, a reed mat, acoustic guitar and booze at work with them. they politely offered us some as well.

vang vieng laos
vang vieng laos
our ride through the countryside to the blue lagoon, a notable favorite of vang vieng.
the blue lagoon vang vieng, laos
how awesome is this?
the blue lagoon vang vieng, laos
an adult water playground.
vang vieng, laos
lots of reed mats & huts along the lagoon fill up quick as people prep for a full-day of partying.
DCIM100GOPRO
okay, fine.
vang vieng, laos
fresh coconuts for 50 cents.vang vieng, laos

behind the blue lagoon is a cave. like everything in asia, it’s “enter at your own risk” and bring-your-own-light. so, we entered and danny loved it. me, meh. not so into caves. hiking on slick rock in the dark? a recipe for a disaster for a clumsy person like myself.

vang vieng, laos
DCIM100GOPRO
after the caves, we found ourselves a reed mat and cooled off in the lagoon.
DCIM100GOPRO
vang vieng, laos
and because when you’re in asia, fried rice is a totally normal poolside snack.

vang vieng, laos vang vieng, laos vang vieng, laos
even the monks like the blue lagoon.
vang vieng laos
the Nam Xong river sets the town of the entire town. endless water activities.

vang vieng laoswe later stumbled upon these bungalows for $10/night. not a bad view.vang vieng laos   DCIM100GOPRO

unfortunately, we had to cut our anticipated stay short to get our indian visa process started in vientiane.
but the time we did have in vang vieng we thoroughly enjoyed.

1 Comment

  • Reply February 17, 2014

    Colby

    That blue lagoon looks AHmazing~

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