Friday, March 17, 2023

Vang Vieng

As our boat plan fell flat we saddled our motorbikes and drove south to Vang Vieng. But managed to miss a turn and drove up the shitty road we came from three days ago… after realizing our mistake we turned around and took the other much nicer way. Here there was also a mountain pass to cross, with 1900 meters above sea level it was shrouded in mist.

A gifted local photographer took some shots of us 😆

And then the road disappeared ðŸ˜ģ just rocks and dirt and us bouncing down hill. A bit further down they had started to (re?)build the road by grading the surface and spraying tar on it which made it extra slippery and dangerous when we had to drive on it to avoid oncoming traffic. All went well but our bikes are now splattered in sticky goo 😕

Vang Vieng is a party town once (in)famous for its tubing on the river. But first we decided to visit one of the many blue lagoons. What a sight 😂 packed with tourists, mostly from China, talking (arguing?) loudly while holding on to their buoyancy devices ðŸĪĢ

But hey they had salted caramel ice cream 😊

Reading up on the tubing we found out the water is cold and the sun mostly blocked by the mountains (besides the smog). So we opted instead for a jungle hike. Finding somebody to take us trekking in this party craze was harder than anticipated but we found a tour operator and a guide. Tui, the guide, then wanted to show us some local delicacies and we headed to the old air strip where food stalls were catering to the locals. Some chewy meat and lots of beer later we headed home to wake up with a slight hangover ðŸ˜ĩ A short drive and we were already climbing the mountain range and heading to a closed off valley. Of course Tui didn’t show up and another guide lead us 😉 We learned about all the different things the jungle provides and collected some bamboo to cook our lunch in as well some fig like fruits and a banana flower/heart to eat.

Not Tui but Wu

Grilled fish, steamed fish with banana flower, dried meat, two kinds of bananas, heaps of sticky rice and the usual herbs and cabbage to wrap everything.

Bamboo 😍

We then crossed the valley basin and climbed over another part of the range back. It was a great experience and quite the contrast to Vang Vieng itself. 

For the evening we then hit the Irish pub to play badly pool until it became too packed and it switched over to “Smashball” with the youngsters. ðŸĪĢ Once this closed we followed the throng to the next watering hole but never made it as we met some Laotians on holiday from the capital. Which meant more Beer Lao, music (they had a boom box, Girl Talk!), singing, dancing and drinking some weird “tea”. Then a snack before bed, a Bahn Mi sandwich from the food stalls still open at 3am ðŸĪŠ.

All in all a great birthday ðŸĨģ