Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vang Vieng: The Land of Tubing and "Friends" Watching

After a day long bus trip we were dropped off in Vang Vieng. We'd read how small this place is but we were still a bit surprised. The locals knew this too since there was only one tuk tuk there trying to convince people to pay him to take them into “town”. We declined and walked- this took less than 10 minutes. We started shopping around for a guesthouse and found one for 50,000 kip/night with a private bathroom near the river. The downside was that all the clubs were located across the river from us so if we were in our room early then we could hear competing music. Vang Vieng was an interesting place. It is the biggest party town that I've seen in Laos. You wouldn't really expect a third world Communist country to be the best place to party. True enough, all the music stopped at midnight and technically all the clubs, bars and restaurants closed then.

I was still experiencing mild vertigo (but true to what the doctor said, the worst was over) but I discovered that it was lessened if I slept sitting up. So that's what I did for the next week or so. We spent some time exploring the little town and watching an incredible amount of Friends in various restaurants. There are a few places in town that play other shows on their TVs (we saw a place with the Simpsons and a couple with Family Guy) but far and wide it's Friends all day long. Luckily, we love Friends so we were more than happy to watch a million episodes while eating or lazing about.

We booked a day trip through one of the local tour agencies to go tubing in a cave and then to go kayaking down the river. I was a bit nervous since the last time I went kayaking (while we were in Koh Mak) I was clobbered a bit. They promised that the kayaking was very easy though. It's the dry season right now so what they said was true- in some parts the river was so shallow that we had to worry about getting stuck! Anyway, tubing in the cave was interesting, if not a bit spooky. We had a delicious lunch and then we stopped at a different cave that contained a large Buddha. Then it was time to kayak. We were given life jackets and we had a dry bag for our belongings and away we went. It was the highlight of Vang Vieng for us. We kayaked down the same route that the regular tubers take. We passed by numerous riverside bars and stopped at one for a beer and a swim. Matt had a great time going down the giant slide and swinging off the massive swing into the river. I was feeling yucky so I just chatted with the other people in the group and took pictures. It was a great day and we met some awesome people from Germany, France and Japan.

We took a day off to recuperate and so that Matt could study. I was also able to use Wifi at one of the cafes and so I attempted to upload some pictures. This was highly unsuccessful for the amount of time I spent there. After some deliberation we decided to continue on to Luang Prabang. This was sort of a spontaneous decision and if I was doing it again I would have stayed longer in Vang Vieng for sure. Oh well. Here are the rest of the pictures, but since it takes so long to upload, they are a work in progress.


Carter said...

Sleeping sitting up?!?!



ambearo said...

Well, it's just like what it sounds. I'm so glad I'm traveling with my own pillow because I've needed it so much! I'd try to find a bed that was tucked in a corner and I would put one pillow behind my back and the other behind my head and sleep like that. Not the best ever and I really appreciate sleeping lying down now!