After a week long stay in the capital of Laos we arrived at our next stop! The tubing capital of the world: Vang Vieng. Unfortunalty, there be mosquito's here!
We arrived late in the afternoon, found a cheap ass hostel down by the river, got some dinner and had a look around the town before settling in for the nite. The town is nice and simple and reminds me a lot of the islands in Thailand. Especially Ko Phanang. But instead of sea, Vang Vieng is surrounded by huge cloud tipped mountains and jungle. Anyway, more of that later. Went to bed insect bite free, a record stretching back to the start of Vietnam. I woke up however with, 13 bites covering my feet! Super Awesome!
No matter though because Van Vieng is a very cool place. We got some push bikes out (mine a nice pink affair) and explored the countryside around the town. We biked for a couple of hours until we had gone off the edges of the little map the hire place had given us. We turned round and made it back just before it started to poor with rain. The next day was one of the very best I have had since travelling. We had signed up for a day of trekking the nite before so got up early and jumped into a mini bus that took us out to the starting point. It turned out to be a party of four. Myself, Lew, a lady called Jennie and the local guide. We trekked four half an hour or so before we reached the river. Our crossing was a stick thin bamboo suspension bridge hanging twenty feet above the water. Nerve wracking, but great fun. We made it accross and trekked through some paddy fields before reaching a clearing next to the river. Here we built up a fire and had some tastey bbq for lunch. After lunch the trekking got much harder. Up and down steap paths and climbing over rocks. The payout was well worth it!
We arrived at the most amazing waterfall I have ever seen. Hidden in the middle of the Jungle, most of the way up one of the mountains. The water was crystal and easily clean enough to drink, which I did. The waterfall itself was around 25 feet high and plunged into a pool of freezing blue water. No second invites needed, I was in. Jumping off the sides of rock formations into the deep pool below. So deep I did not once touch the bottom. We spent what seemed like hours just jumping in, swimming back to the edge and jumping in again. I was sad to leave that place. But we needed to get back. And we didn't make it before dark, or the rain. We made it back to the suspension bridge in pitch black and just as we set foot and the pitifully thin, falling apary bamboo, it started to rain! Looking back, having made it accross without so much as slipping once. Im glad that it did. It just added to the experience.
The other major thing we wanted to do in Vang Vieng was Tubing. Mainly so I could get myself a tubing t.shirt and not feel like a fraud. We managed to pick a very sunny and hot day to do it in. We arrived at the launch point early and introduced ourselves to the river via a huge slide going from the top of one of the bars. After that we were off. Floating down the river, soaking up the sun and taking in the sights. One of which was 6 grown men trying to pull a cow accross a bridge. You don't see that everyday. By the time we had floated back to the finish point we had stopped for beers and scrapped our asses on many a rock. All in all a very fun day. I strolled into town and quickly became a member of the cool kids club by buying a bright yellow "tubing in Vang Vieng" t.shirt.
And that, dear friends was Vang Vieng. Or more accuratly all I can be bothered to write about Vang Vieng on this pain in the arse keyboard. Another week gone and we are now off to our third stop in Laos. So I will catch up with you there.