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Vang Vieng, Parties and Sun Glasses

LAOS | Thursday, 13 January 2011 | Views [1046]

Did someone say "Partay!"?  Many words could be used to describe the small town of Vang Vieng, roughly 6 hours north of the Laos capital city Vientiane, but 'party' seems the most appropriate.

After preparing ourselves very early in the morning, we were picked up via tuk tuk from our guest house in central Vientiane and driven to a few waiting buses that would eventually take us and many other eager back packers to Vang Vieng.  Thankfully, this bus trip was not as grueling as our last 22 hour trip and was quite comfortable.  Packing some food had obviously been a winner during our last ride, so we did again, making some of the other passengers quite jealous as they stopped to pay highly marked up (more expensive than Australian prices) food and drinks from various break points.  

We eventually made it into Vang Vieng bus station.  With a few confused looks on peoples faces, many jumped into jumbos to make their way into the town center, which turned out to be only a few minutes down the road.  Luckily for us we had a brief conversation with an English traveler who had informed us of a few places to stay and a decent bar which would not be too far to walk from the station, so we took his advice and walked.

We were amazed at the amount of travelers in this small town, many hurrying around trying to find a guest house before they filled.  What we were not prepared for was the overwhelming amount of foreigners who were there for strictly one thing: getting wasted and hooking up.  Ignoring this aspect, we donned our thongs, singlets and shorts and began immersing ourselves into the towns culture.  Vang Vieng had been molded into the ultimate tourist party town, with bars on every corner that could offer you anything you desired, western influenced restaurants that would play infinite re-runs of Friends and Family Guy episodes, and stores that stocked endless supplies of very cheap Ray-Ban sunnies and Beerlao singlets.  The locals here were some of the friendliest people we had met yet.

The next day we decided it was time to experience the main attraction of Vang Vieng: tubing down the Nam Son river.  We gathered some of the friends we had made in the last few days and made our way to the the river, noticing the many bars, swings and slides along the way.  The first bar and starting point was a small 20 minute walk from where the tuk tuk had dropped us with our inflated tractor tire tubes.  We all decided to enjoy a cold beer before jumping into our tubes and floating excitedly down to the next set of bars.  As mentioned, there are a few activities to enjoy along the way.  For the adventurous, the rope swings were the most popular, and we would all cringe as each dare devil would narrowly miss rocks.  You can definitely see why so many injuries occur here each year.  One of our most memorable and enjoyable moments of the ride was the mud volley ball, where, as you guessed it, you could play an interesting game of volley ball in some very thick, slippery sludge.  Sufficiently coated in mud, inebriated and very relaxed/tired, we eventually made it to the end point and last bar.  After some dinner, a banana pancake (delicious!) and some more socializing, we quickly found ourselves fast asleep from what was a very enjoyable day.

We spent the following days exploring the surrounding areas of the town and making the most of the relaxed atmosphere.  We can see why this place is so popular.  The bars really come to life after sunset and become the playground for many of the tourists.  Even with a curfew in place before midnight, many party goers could be heard (very loudly) trying to get back into their guest house rooms just before the sun came up.  Both of us soaked up as much of this town as we could before deciding to head back to Vientiane.  A few of us decided to take a different route however.  We came to the conclusion that kayaking down a river through some rapids back to the capital city would be fun, and fun it was!  We made it back a little sun burnt but very satisfied with our efforts that day.

With the memories of our adventures in Vang Vieng still playing out in our heads, we began planning our next destination south.

Tags: kayaking, tubing

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