After our adventure through the cave we caught a bus up to the capital of Laos Vientiane where we spent a couple of days strolling around, drinking delicious coffee in the morning, grazing on pate baguettes for lunch and devouring delicious french cusine at ridiculously cheap prices for dinner.
We then took a very local bus, veg under feet, etc.. up to Vang Vieng. VV is a small town crammed with lots of same same bars showing endless re-runs of f.r.i.e.n.d.s and hoards of English and Irish watching them. How ever the town is surrounded by amazing limestone cliffs/caves, endless green fields and rushing rivers so the f.r.i.e.n.d.s mania is easy to escape (if you want to).
The main reason for all the travellers is the famous tubing... you float down the river on a tractor wheel inner tube being pulled in at will to the many bars dotted along the river side to sample the beer/rope swing/zip wires. We went for a float on our second day and had a lot of fun, although if anything it made us miss our friends from home as we could have had a lot more fun with them there too.
The second day we hired bicycles and rode 6km up and down dirt tracks to Tham Phu Kham cave (a big dark cave with a gold Buddha inside and a blue lagoon). Sounded great but once we'd scrambled up the 200m cliff to the cave my flip flop decided to break and then we realised we'd forgotten the torches: Not a winning combination for caving. How ever we braved the cave, determined to find the blue lagoon, shoeless and in the dark. But alas we couldn't find the lagoon, we're actually pretty certain it doesn't exist! Tom managed to do some magic with my flip flop (the Jarvis boys would have been proud) so i could get back down the cliff. After a quick dip in the river below we cycled on home.