Out of all of the countries I have visited on my travels, Laos is definitely one of my favourite and, by far, the most relaxing. Embrace the laidback lifestyle, live on “Laos time” and leave your worries behind. The more time you spend in Laos, the more you will get used to the slow pace of life.
Nestled between mountains, Vang Vieng is a luscious and beautiful little town, an idyllic haven where you can easily lose all sense of time. It is packed with bars, all teeming with tourists. Simply take your pick and watch the sun set with a Beerlaos in hand. This local beer is light and fresh, the perfect thirst-quenching device after a day in the hot sun.
In pretty much every bar, restaurant and hostel, you will find Family Guy or Friends being aired on TVs in the communal areas. This bizarre tradition has clearly come about due to the constant stream of tourists visiting Vang Vieng.
A favourite bar of mine was Fat Monkey’s. It’s a great little spot overlooking the river and you can always count on being involved in a game of beer-pong with other travellers. Start your night here and then head to Gary’s Irish bar, a popular, rowdy place packed with backpackers. There are plenty of other little bars en route to Gary’s so you’ll never be parched, I promise you that! Finish the night at the Full Moon bar. This is the one place that stays open late in Vang Vieng and is also the only venue with a dance floor.
As for the inevitable end-of-night-feast, there’s little food stands on the streets selling huge pork baguettes and crepes stuffed with banana and Nutella. The food costs next to nothing and the generous portions will leave you stuffed and satisfied.
There are two things you must do whilst in Vang Vieng:
Float down the river in a convoy of rubber rings, waving to the locals and drinking beer as you take in the stunning scenery. Although the riverside bars have been shut down, due to numerous alcohol-fueled accidents, it is still a hilarious day out and you can take a few beers along for the ride instead. Beware of shallow parts of the river, where you can easily scrap your bum if you aren’t paying attention!
- Cave exploring:
There are plenty of different caves to explore in Vang Vieng, including Tham Sang (Elephant Cave) and Tham Nam (Water Cave). A favourite of mine was Tham Pu Kham. It’s a popular tourist spot and for good reason. Impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations can be found inside and a beautiful Blue Lagoon at the bottom. Tham Pu Kham is set high in the limestone mountains. It’s a pretty steep climb to the top, over tree roots and boulders, so be careful if you’re wearing flip-flops! A swim in the crystal clear lagoon is the perfect way to cool off after the steep climb back down and there’s also little wooden huts on the river bank if you need to escape the sun or sit and dry off.
x Morts x