Vang Vieng – Laos

I went to Vang Vieng when I was in Laos in October of 2012. I came to Laos with the nightbus from Vietnam, Hue and went to the capitol Vientane. It was a horrible drive in a bus with all locals. Me and a guy from Korea were the only tourists. We had a spot in the back of the sleeperbus, 3 beds for the two of us. It looked good in the beginning but after several people came on it with there bags and goods we were getting packed in. I could hardly see the aisle. On top of that a man had to lie down on the third bed they had packed…. Also the whole evening there was karaoke on the television and standup comedian. The television was very loud….and we were lying underneath the speaker….

Our view in the back of the bus 🙁

When I came in Vientane, Laos it was to busy in the capitol, there was some kind of important meeting going on. In the streets where lots of policemen and I couldn’t find a hotelroom, which I could afford. So after a couple of hours seeking and wandering the streets with my backpack I went to a touristagency and  booked a trip to Vang Vieng. I saw the pictures of the nature and the river and wanted to swim and relax!!!

Most restaurants in Vang Vieng are like these, just lie down and eat 🙂

In Vang Vieng I booked an active tour for the next day.

Tubing and safety

I heared about the tubing and ofcourse about all the accidents/deaths that happened every year. Most of them because of the abuse of alcohol and drugs…along the riverside are accomidations to get booze.. Having fun is one thing but when safety is not garanteed anymore you need to think about not going. There were so many young travelers/backpackers that won´t think of that themselfes.. I think it´s a good thing they just banned it. So sad for the families of backpackers that did drown here in the Nam Ou River.

At the agency where I booked my tour the told me to take the tour which includes a bit of tubing. Not down the Nam Ou river but into a cave. After the cave visti we would go down the Nam Ou river with a kayak. They changed the originally tour into this one.

And yes, that´s Asia. Having a flat tire and changing buses 😉

I booked that new and safer and also active tour. I loved that day. The weather was great and we had a nice group. Two girls from Holland, a girl from the USA and a man from Israel.

First we went to a cave, it was called the elephant cave. They all name caves after something they see in it 🙂

You see the elephant standing up there
Reclining Buddha in the back of the caveTo go to the place we would go tubing we had to walk through a village and we saw how the laotian people lived there. Very primitive. 

Short hike and cave tubing

I thought it was  really great walking through the area. We did see how the local people lived. After this hike we went into the cave with our tube. We got a lamp on our head so we could see in the darkness. At the ceiling of the cave they attached a cord which you could hold on to. And you could grab it to pull yourself through the cave. We were in there for about 45 minutes. Some parts were shallow and we had to walk to the next part of the cave to tube again. At first is was a bit chilly but after a while you got used to it. And being active helps also 😉

I really liked the experience. I didn’t took my camera into the cave so unfortunately I haven’t got any pictures from within the cave.

In the background you see the cave with the cord hanging
Outside the a cave we had a nice break. We enjoyed some time in the sun and on the tube. We had a BBQ on the riverside before walking back to the car, through that local village again.
Driving to the location to go kayaking

Kayakking down the Nam Ou River

We went kayakking for 18 kilometres. Well, that is what they told me….I do think it was maybe half….almost 10 km..back to Vang Vieng.

But it was nice! Doing something after a while not sporting felt good!
Halfway down the river we went ashore to drink something. There I did saw many tourist drinking beer and other alcohols. Most of them were on a tube.  When we went on with our kayak we saw many people on a tube. Many of them asked if we would give them a ride. For most of the people it was too far. They are hours on the tube….just floating. You can only peddle with your arms to speeden up but that is not much.
The agency where I booked my trip did told me that it was hard to peddle the whole way back. Now I saw these people I was so glad that I listened to her!!! Still I saw people drinking alcohol on their tubes, you can´t ban it totally but it´s not how it was years ago.


I had a great time there!! Next day I went on to Luang Prabang. Later I heard about the Blue Lagoon that would really be worth a visit. Well, that visit, I will keep in mind for a next visit to Vang Vieng!!
The perfect sunset to end this day 🙂

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