We took a 7hr bus journey through beautiful mountain scenery, albeit very up and down and side to side so sleeping was impossible, to arrive in the town of Vang Vieng. It lies next to a river surrounded by towering stone hills (technical term - kirsts) which make the whole setting very picturesque, though typically it was overcast and fairly cold when we were there. Into this calm serenity chuck backpackers floating down the river on rubber rings, stopping at riverside bars that pump out euro dance/ pop music and lots of alcohol and you have an idea of what the town is about! Layne and i did a day trip exploring caves by candlelight cos they didnt provide enough torches and we floated in a cave on said rubber rings. We then spent the afternoon flaoting down the river and stopping for a few beers. I started to feel really ill (thanks to Indias polluted streets we've both been struggling to fight off a chest infection) and hitched a lift on a kayack so I didnt have to sit in the cold water. Layne did a really big rope swing and drop into the water which looked like fun but I was so cold that I could hardly speak (lucky Layne!). The next day we caught a minibus to the capital Vientienne which in my ill state was like a bumpy ride from hell. At least it was warmer in Vientienne and we just chilled for a day and half waiting for our flight to Hanoi!