Well we left Phonsovan a bit emotional about all the devistation, but really glad we made that stop due to the amount of information we learnt about laos, it can't really be called history at this moment in time as this devistation is still happening almost every day.
We went in search of sunnier climes with the hope of relaxing for a bit, and we definately got what we wanted. Vang Vieng is a place that most travellers stop of at for a few days, that turns into a week or so, and we could see why. The views were fantastic, everywhere we looked we were surrounded by limestone peaks with the river making it all the more beautiful. There was also loads to do to keep us occupied. Also the bars either played re runs of friends all day (which Matthew hated) or you could choose a film to watch while you ate. It was really good for a change. We were having 4 nights here as we needed to arrange our visa for Vietnam and i think we picked the right spot.
On our first day there we went tubing with a couple called Neil and Tanya that we had met on the bus to Vang Vieng. Tubing is the most popular activity to do in Vang Vieng. It consisted of us sitting on the inner tube of a tractor tire and floating down the river. There were loads of bars on the way that held out sticks so we could pull ourselfs in if we wanted to stop off at that particular place. Each bar had a swing of some sort for you to jump into the river and some had volleyball courts to keep you there as long as possible!
We picked up our tubes at lunch time, got a tuk tuk to the start off place and had a beer lao each before we even got onto the river. We then stopped at the first stop, had another beer lao and a couple of shots of 'lao lao' each, it tastes like fire water, but in lao culture if you are offered something you cant turn it down...i think they try to get as many people drunk as possible. We got back on the river and literaly went about 20 metres before we stopped off at the next bar. Here Neil decided that he would try the swing out. It was pretty high and there was a sign as you climbed up saying swing to the right. Well he forgot this bit, dropped into the river and hit his foot on the bottom of the river. He could hardly walk, this put Matthew of attempting it, and i was never going to do it anyway!
We carried on down the river with a few more stops until it got to about 5.00pm when the sun went behind the mountains and it was really cold. We had decided not to take our camera as it is a bit big, but neil and Tanya took theirs and put it in a dry bag with all our money and their cigs. When we got off the river they went into the bag and the only thing that was wet was their camera, typical! So no photos of the tubing.
The day after me and Matthew decided to go for an easy walk to some caves where their was a lagoon for us to swim in, so we thought! Neil and Tanya stayed in one of the bars all day and watched friends as Neil still couldn't walk. The walk to the caves was easy and really tranquil. It was amazing that 10 mins away from the main street we were passing small villiages and walking through their fields to get to the caves. After about a 45 minute walk we crossed the river and reached the caves. We had a guide to take us through the caves, and it was not as easy as we expected. The caves were good, with staligtites and staligmites, but there was a lot of rock climing involved, and some of the gaps we had to fit through were unbelievably small, we were not really prepared for this but managed it. We reached the lagoon, and it wasn't what we expeted at all, it was just a small bit of water with a tube in for us to sit on. It was really dark so we didn't fancy going in. When we reached the end of the caves, we both decided that neither of us are exaclty made for caves that small and will give them a miss in future.
We spent the rest of our days playing pool, drinking beer lao and watching the occasional film until our visas arrived. It was like having a saturday afternoon drinking session back home. We had a really good time with Neil and Tanya and we both decided to travel to Vientien together, Neil still with his stick as he still couldn't walk properly.