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Rivers, Rain and Reruns of Friends

LAOS | Saturday, 8 April 2017 | Views [339]

Riverside views.
Vang Vieng, Laos.

Riverside views. Vang Vieng, Laos.

From Vientiane we got a mini bus to Vang Vieng. It took about 3 and a half hours with a 15 minute stop off at a little side road food market. At the stop off point we had all just pilled back on the bus after enjoying a grilled corn, we noticed a few other drivers talking and pointing at the bus. The driver circled us about 5 times looking down at the mini bus. Eventually he told us all to get off. We stood at the side of the road for another 15 minutes while he changed his flat tyre with the spare from underneath the back of the bus. Panic over, all back on the bus, let's hope that spare holds out!! It did and we arrived safely in Vang Vieng's Main Street a hour or so later. We were happy the second we stepped off the bus. Very little traffic, huge wide roads and paths, lots and lots of hostels, guest houses and restaurants, a lot of which play reruns of Friends' episodes on loop so you can eat and just relax with some trash TV (We did this one night and before we knew it the place was closing!)

The people are very relaxed and friendly, they are obviously used to the presence of tourists and have fully embraced it as it seems to be the biggest source of income to the town. We checked into a guest house that was comfortable. Our standards weren't high considering what we have stayed in previously. The room was a nice size, comfy bed, clean and some impressive views of the mountains just outside the bedroom door. There was a table and chair outside the door too so I sat and read a few times out in the sun to enjoy the view while I could.

We wandered out to see what we could find. We marked a few places that looked good to eat for the next few days, found plenty of travel agents with bus and tour tickets, and stumbled over a little Irish bar that we couldn't resist visiting. With a team of Irish bar staff we settled quickly and realised this place was hugely popular with almost everyone who entered ordering food. It all looked amazing. They also do live music a couple of times a week. So before we knew it we had eaten, drank too much and we're dancing around to the live music with the crowd that had formed in the bar!
The next day we struggled to get up at a decent time (no surprises there!) we headed through town and grabbed some food. Decided we would look at the activities on offer and price a bus back to Vientiane for our flight to Vietnam (we decided not to chance the 24 hour bus as we hadn't heard a single good thing about it, so we spoiled ourselves with a 1 hour flight.)

We headed down to the river and found it lined with little bars with pontoon type decking instead of tables, the scenery was amazing. We headed for the bamboo bridge that joined the two sides of the river. When we reached it we noticed how battered it was, another rickety bridge. It wasn't until we were about half way across that we realised why it is probably so battered.... a scooter with 2 people and massive bags of food where headed straight for us... I wasn't sure exactly how to react! The bridge was barely wide enough for 2 people to pass let alone a person and a scooter. We positioned ourselves as close to the edge as we dared, balancing against a single piece of bamboo acting as a hand rail, and trying to position our feet so we didn't slip through the gaps. The scooter drivers just have no fear. We were passed by another 4 or 5 scooters in the short time we spent crossing the bridge each way. We decided to head back to the river on another day and to carry on exploring.

There isn't much in the way of culture in Vang Vieng centre. It's mainly bars, restaurants, travel agents, bakeries (French influence again) and a couple of late night clubs.
The trips are mainly to local lagoons and the biggest attraction is 'tubing'. This is where you rent a big rubber ring, a tuk tuk bus takes you to a start point in the river, and you sail down, stopping off at bars for drinks and games. We knew before we got here we would do this! But not today.
That night there was a massive storm! We sat outside the room and watched the sky flash with lightening. It rained all night, right into the next morning.

The rain stopped about 10 and we headed to the river. We chose not to do tubing as the weather was still cloudy and we didn't want to be on the river in another storm. We found a little pontoon, bought some drinks and spent the day relaxing. It was bliss.

A lot of our days seem to be like this, and some people may see that as wasting our time on this amazing trip. But this is one of our biggest reasons for this trip, to see some of the world and explore new cultures, but to also relax and enjoy sometime together. After all this is technically our honeymoon ♥️.

Tags: bars, bridges, hills, irish bar, rain, relaxed, river, thunder storms, travel, views

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