Day 56-61 in the world of Sam and Dani: We booked a mini van for our 6 hour journey to Vang Vieng and were guaranteed it would be air-con.. lies! The first 10 minutes were, then we were transferred into a dilapidated, grotty van at the local bus station. Travelling over the mountains wasn't much fun, the roads were extremely narrow and windy and the driver beeped his horn every 10 seconds or so to warn any on coming vehicles, you can imagine how annoying that was. On route we seen a young boy (must have been no more than 8) with a rifle at the side of the road! We were all gobsmacked but this lad was just sat there playing! We stopped off at a ''service station'' - I use this phrase lightly as the staff were useless- and found a toddler playing with a kitchen knife on a table! We all made a point of looking shocked to the women sat with her hoping they would realise that something was wrong, and even after Critch actually telling them how dangerous it was they still didn't take it off her.. what a strange country! When we eventually arrived, we checked into a guest house across the road from an irish bar (which became our local) and had a mooch around.
There isn't much to do in Vang Vieng apart from two main things: 1) Spending hours in cafes watching friends or family guy- cafes have tables with beds rather than chairs so you can spend hours lazing around recovering from the second thing to do.. 2) Tubing!! The best way to explain this is a bar crawl down a river on rubber rings. You hire your tube in the town for 115,000kip (55,000kip hire, 60,000kip deposit) then set off in a tuk tuk to the first bar. It is a lot of fun but also soooo dangerous! You start drinking at the first bar then tube down the river to the next, drinking lots of buckets and playing on the rope swings and zipwires. When you float down, staff from the bar throw life-rings and bottles on ropes to pull you in. Poor Lynz got hit with a bottle in the mouth when they tried to drag her in and ended up with a really bad fat lip (the pictures don't show it properly). One of our favourite bars was the mud bar, which you can tell my the pictures was a lot of fun! Sam went on a couple of zipwires but because the current was so strong ended up floating down to the next bars and having to walk back. The second day we did it Phil went on a rope swing but her hands slipped and she fell into the water and knocking her funny, she ended up with a black eye and bruised stomach for days!
You get your deposit back for the tube if you return it by 6pm (when it gets dark) but very few people do. We didn't even manage to take ours back at all as we realised they were on top of the tuk tuk as it drove off =( If you tube in the dark it is obviously a lot more dangerous and if you float past the last bar you wont get back for a few days due to lack of transport down that way. We had a brilliant time but some people weren't as fortunate.. On one of the days we did tubing a guy went missing and his body was found 3 days later by his new wife (they were on their honeymoon). Tubing is a must but you need to be very careful!