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The Awesome Adventures of Hannah and Emma

Loving (and Leaving) Laos... OR Tuk-Tuks, Tubing and Thai Visas

LAOS | Tuesday, 20 October 2009 | Views [830] | Comments [4]

Laos is the most chilled out, laid-back, relaxed place I have ever been. Seriously. It's like the Jamaica of the East (or so I assume, never having been to Jamaica). While it's taken Hannah a little while to get used to living on "Laos time" (a 2.5 hour bus ride actually takes 4 hours, ordering at a restaurant does not guarantee seeing your food in the subsequent 45 min), this is exactly the change we needed from the intense, hectic pace that we had been experiencing on our trip thus far.
We spent our first couple days in Vientiane (the capital) taking in the sights and hanging out sipping lattes at the amazing french-style cafes (or what I imagine a French cafe would be like). Things are just so easy here. When we went to the Thai consulate to get our visas for Thailand (which we had been slightly worried about) we were told that they are having a promotion and our 60 day visas would be ready the next day, free of charge!.

We then headed up to Vang Viang, the notorious backpackers paradise (supposedly) 2 hours north of the capital. 5 hours in a packed mini-van bumping around in torrential rain and holding our collective breaths on the country's only "paved" route, we arrived.

Vang Viang is a place that almost cannot be described. It is every twenty-something lost wanderers dream. The town is packed with bar/restaurants filled not with tables and chairs, but pillows and low tables so you are practically lying down while you lounge, watch seemingly endless reruns of Friends and eat the best pizza ever.
And then there is the tubing - Now, Hannah will probably give you a much more pragmatic and mature description of this most ridiculous of activities (due in large part to a case of Moonshine induced paranoia), but I thought it was just plain awesome. Take a hundred backpackers, the Mekong River, 7 bars, huge inflatable tubes, free shots of moonshine and the completely real and distinct possibility that this may be the last thing you do in this life before you pass out and drown - and you have one heck of a party. There are people who come for a couple days and end up staying a year (like one Canadian we met who was dressed up as Where's Waldo and had gone tubing 290 days in a row) but that is a bit too intense for us. Plus I don't think our bodies could handle any more of the bruises and scrapes we woke up with from bumping along rocks in the river. It really is the stupidest, most dangerous thing ever... but so much fun (if you're not a total idiot - which we clearly, are not).

The next day we hopped a string of buses and terrifying tuk-tuks (all of which managed to dump us at the side of the road to let us figure out our own connections - thanks guys) and travelled over 26 straight hours to finally arrive on Ko Samet, a glorious beach filled island in Thailand where we shall be taking up residence for the next two weeks!
Ben Update: In response to all of the inquiries - Ben did indeed make it home safely and is anxiously awaiting his next trip and our reunion in the UK!

Tags: drinking, laos, mini-vans, tubing, vang viang, vientiane




I lived and worked in the city Of Rayong which is about 20-30 minutes west of the dock to go to Koi Samet!

My brother is living in Rayong now.

  mary ellen Oct 21, 2009 6:57 AM


Hey ladies, loving your post, brings me back so many memories. I'm glad to hear you came out of Laos alive, I knew you would enjoy Laos. See ya on the flipside. Chans

  Chans Vilayvong Oct 21, 2009 7:22 PM


Hi ladies,
I am loving the blog. It sounds like you are having a blast! Keep those posts coming!! :D


  Lorianne Oct 24, 2009 1:22 AM


It's about time for a new posting Emma. Terrific to read about your adventures. Keep up the good work; winter is nudging its way into our lives in Toronto so stay in the warmth of Asia as long as you can.

The Goose is still serving god-awful french fries but the people are great.

Stay healthy,

Peter S.

  Peter Nov 12, 2009 11:37 PM

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