Our bus from Luang Prabang down to Vang Vien took a monster 7 hours, but it actually went quite quick, we stopped every 2 hours for a toilet stop and watched a film on the laptop so it was ok, and i didnt feel sick....i have no idea how i am coping without being really sick but im doing ok so far!
We didnt get into Vang Vieng until 3pm which is a really naff time to look for accomodation as most places are already full by then and the ones with only 1 or two rooms will double thier prices so it was hard work finding somewhere, we must of looked in at least 3 places that were charging way more than we were prepared to pay for a dump room. We finaly found somewhere on the other side of the river over a rickity old wooden bridge and it was perfect, bang on budget and a really nice room, one of the best yet so it just shows it pays to look around.
We didnt have very high hopes for this place, in the lonely planet book it is described as having a hedonistic lads mag atmosphere and is an example of what happens when Laos tries to hard to cater for the westeners. It has a reputation of being a party place with loads of drinking but we didnt find that at all, it must have really calmed down over the past few years because it was far more chilled than had been described and everywhere has a curfew of 10:30 anyway. Yeh it was very westernised and almost every resteraunt/bar was playing either Friends, The Simpsons or some other American sitcom, but when you havn't watched telly for a month and you have pretty much been on the go every day since you left it all comes as a welcome break and we actually really enjoyed chilling on the day beds watching friends whilst eating our dinner.
There are loads of activities you can do whilst in Vang Vieng, the most famous being tubing, this is when you get taken up the river and are given what looks like a big rubber ring, you then float back downstream and stop off at the three main party bars along route where there is loads of drinking, as much as they say it is a Laos right of passage we passed up on this particular Laos experience. Instead we sat and sunbathed on what they call the beach, its just a small number of wooden day beds with mats and cusions right on the riverside, so we got to watch people returning on thier tubes. It was so nice to just spend the whole day laying out in the sun, its the first place we have been to where you could do that and it was lush!
New Yers eve was pretty special too, the beach we had spent the day told us they were having a party so after dinner we wanderd over, they had two big fire pits, balloons and music. We made firends with some people and ended up playing flip cup, a drinking game i had never played before but turned out to be pretty good at. Downing Beer Laos....not a great idea when we had a bus at 10 the next day!
New Years day and we were up to catch our bus, we had a tuktuk that was supposed to pick us up at 9:40, when it got to 9:55 we had to get and pay for our own as ours didnt show up, so we ask to go to the bus station, we get there and there is no big vip coach so when we ask if we have missed it we get told we are the wrong bloody station! so back in the tuktuk and over to the right one, like 5 minutes after it was supposed to leave but lucky for us the bus had broken down and they were waiting for a replacement so we didnt miss it after all that!
Off to Vientiane, Laos capital city, update soon x