D) Vang Vieng (ENG)

12/03/2018 – 16/03/2018

 

A few words about Vang Vieng

The city was famous in the past for being one of the most dangerous place in Laos, especially to foreigners. Most accidents were due to tubing, drinking and drugs (you can literally find anything there).

Even now, many people die every year, but fewer than it used to because the government closed dozens of bars.

Still, we were shown quiet an unusual menu in a bar we went to for dinner. We could order anything made of opium, weed, magic mushrooms (from joints to tea or even packs). Quite nice, but we were not into it :p

Well rooted in a karst landscape area, with huge limestone rocks such as those we saw in China (Zhangjiajie, Guilin et Yangshuo) and bathed by Nam Song river, the city is worth seeing, chilling out and the viewpoints are amazing!

 

How to get to Vang Vieng from Luang Prabang?

You have got two options:

  1. By bus
    1. LP Southern bus Station (3km from the city centre)
    2. Schedules and price:
      1. 95.000 – 110.000 LAK/pp (9,5-11€/pp) if you depart at 6:30 AM, 7:30AM, 9:30AM, 11AM, 2PM, 4:30PM or 6:30PM
      2. 130.000 LAK.pp (13€/pp) in VIP if you depart at 8:00 AM
      3. 150.000 LAK/pp (15€/pp) for a sleeping bus, departing at 8PM and 8:30PM
    3. 6 to 7 hours trip
  2. By minivan
    1. In front of the LP Southern bus Station
    2. Schedule and price :
      1. 105.000 LAK/pp (10,5€/pp)
      2. 8:30AM, 9:30AM, 10:00AM, 2PM and 3PM
    3. 5 hours trip

 

Where can I sleep?

There are fewer accomodations than in LP, but still plenty of it :p We chose « My Villa Home », a guesthouse with bungalows along the river. Comfy rooms, but no decent wi-fi, for 83.000 LAK/night (8,3€/night). Note that without a booking through Booking.com, you will pay only 70.000 LAK/night (7€/night) without AC and 120.000 LAK/night (12€) with AC.

You can book cheap breakfasts at the guesthouse (fruits, thé/coffee and noodles soup or eggs) for 15.000 LAK/pp (1,5€) but they are not exceptionally good.

 

 

Where can I eat?

There are plenty of restaurants and street food in town, but a bit more expensive than LP by 5000 LAK (0,5€).

Generally speaking, here is what you can expect:

  • Good sandwich (veggies, mayonnaise, bacon and cheese, or else) : 15.000 – 25.000 LAK (1,5-2,5€)
  • Noodles soup : 15.000 – 25.000 LAK (1,5-2,5€)
  • Fried noodles with veggies or meat : 20.000 -25.000 LAK (2-2,5€)
  • Small beerlao : 10.000 LAK in a restaurant but 8.000 in a shop (1€)
  • Big beerlao : 15.000 LAK in a restaurant but 10.000 in a shop (1-1,5€)
  • Western food : 25.000 – 60.000 LAK (burgers, pizza, etc) (2,5-6€)

 

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Fried noodles with vegetables and pork
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Fried noodles with eggs
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Noodles soup (Wiwi noodles :p), tomatoes, peanuts and steamed pork

What to see / What to do ?

  • Relaxing by the river (restaurant or wooden shelters)
  • Tubing
  • Trekking (alone of with a travel agency)
  • Lu Si cave
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Waterfalls
  • Rock climbing
  • Ziplining
  • Kayaking
  • Quads and buggies

 

A few pictures of the town

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Vang Vieng Walking street, quite different than those in Thaïlande :p
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« When they ask you to pay for using the bridge and you are like : LOL, I’ve got a truck » 😀

PS: Among the three bridges in town, only the northen one is free. It is located close to the Moon Bar. Otherwise, you will have to pay 4.000 LAK/pp (0,4€) for a two way ticket 😉

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Restaurants along the river
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What a cutie!
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A cruel reminder of the Vietnam war
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Tractor to get around with granny (and trashcans as well)
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I think there is a great story behing this picture: « Honey, do you remember when we bought the new car and I told you nt to worry about the garage? » LOL
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A perfect place to chill out
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Wouldn’t it be a dress, I would have bought it!
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View on the river and the mountains

Viewpoints

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Path to Pha Poak peak
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A cave along the way

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Lu Si Cave

What a great adventure it was! If you liked the Chom Ong cave in Oudomxay, you will really appreciate this one even more 😀

They are quite similar, but you don’t need a guide in here. « Danger » signs and arrows along the way will help you not to loose it 😉

The path is slippery and sometimes it required a bit of climbing and crouching, and my god, the adrenaline surge to be alone in the dark with only your headlamp and a few bats is really nice!

Count at least one hour to get t othe river cave (that’s where we stopped), but it ‘s possible to walk (or swim) further on. We were told there is even a way out to the other side of the mountain! Maybe another time…

The way to et to the cave was also really nice for its views over the landscape.

 

 

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Entry gate

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FYI: Headlamps are provided, but sometimes you get one with low batteries.. Not very reassuring for exlporation. Hopefully, we brought ours, just in case!

 

Blue Lagoon

We were luckyto discover the landscape in search for the lagoon. I wrongly pinpointed it on maps.me, leading us to a good « nothing » right in the middle of a crop, 7km away from the lagoon!

Unfortunately, it seems that hitchhiking is not common is Laos (as it is in China)… We then decided to walk, under a burning sun, thinking about nothing but this heavenish lagoon, with greenish-blue waters.

Once we got there, we were really disappointed, it was sooo crowded and the lagoon in itself was not that great.

 

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Next step: Ventiane, capital city of Laos!

 

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