Vang Vieng is know for drunken tubing down the river that runs along town. A couple of years back, the city shut down the majority of the bars that lined the river previously. Apparently, tourists were getting hurt and a few had died in the past. Imagine that…tourists being drunkenly irresponsible.
Now the river front has two bars on it, and the atmosphere is relaxed at both places. Grant and I grabbed a few beers and hammocked the afternoon away at the Smile Beach Bar. We were rewarded with watching a few kayaks lose control right in front of us and nailing young tourists drinking in the river. It was pretty funny. We also saw an awesome sunset, so the overpriced beers were well worth it.
The next day we were determined to adventure around as much as possible. We woke up early, grabbed two mountain bikes, and hit the road before 8. Starting early is critical because the temperature rises quickly throughout the day.
We attempted to climb a mountain with a view, but the path was closed for whatever reason. Oh well. We moved on to Lusi cave which was only a gorgeous 1km hike away. The cave was fairly large, and we found a great view out of one of the openings looking into the valley.
Next, we biked over to the blue lagoon area for a potential swim and more cave exploring. The lagoon was over crowded with tourists, so we opted to just see the cave. Due to the slippery nature of the opening of the cave, not many tourists venture into the chambers inside. Thr cave was awesome. At one point, we found a wall with muddy handprints all over it. We found some mud and added our own to the mix. After, we enjoyed watching tourists jump into the lagoon from a tree growing right over the water.
On our bike trip back to the river, we found the best noodle soup place ever. The meat and broth were delicious and it was 50 cents for a bowl. Definitely worth the stop!
After, we cooled down at a river beach we found near our hostel. The current was much stronger than anticipated, but we found a slow pocket to laze around in. Kayakers and tubers floated past constantly, and they got a kick out of watching Grant swing into the shallow water from a tree vine.
All in all, we really enjoyed the beauty and activities offered in Vang Vieng. It is well worth the trip even if you are not looking to drink yourself silly each day.
See you in Phonsavan.
Danielle and Grant