A group of us took a last minute mini van from Vientiane to Vang Vieng. It’s about 3 hours north of the capital. The roads are insane and the trip was gnarly as we were tossed around the mini van with every bump, every second. We were able to book a decent hotel when we arrived though and the next day rented some cheap and crappy motorbikes to check out the Blue Lagoon. It’s easy to get to and not far from the city. The ride there was beautiful. Large limestone cliffs and mountains are the backdrop for rural chill Lao life.
My friend was powering through the day, but had actually gotten food poisoning in Vientiane. I’ve heard the city has a bit of a problem with sanitary food conditions, so I would watch out if I were you and there. Ian got so sick we had to take a quick trip to the local hospital. I got to see first hand the unsanitary and kind of terrifying hospital conditions here. This is a main one as well, so what the hell do the other ones look like?
The lagoon was pretty busy while we were there so I didn’t really take any pictures. They would have just turned out as hordes of Korean people. Vang Vieng used to be a pretty crazy tubing town with lots of drugs and rowdy happenings. Then there was like one death a month, so the government came in and cracked down. After seeing the hospital conditions, I could also see how people easily die once injured. Now it’s a chill city that has catered itself to Koreans. There are still a few opportunities to get down, and we went out to enjoy ourselves, probably pissing off Koreans with our non-Korean selves. Also, yes, there are still lady boys in Laos.
The next day we we woke up… late again… and then made our way tubing. You can rent a tube and dry bag then a one way Took Took ride up the river. The water was flowing pretty good so we made it down the river in about 3 hours. There are a few bars off the river you can stop at. My favorite is the one where they fish you out. Men stand at the beach and will throw a sprite bottle filled with water and tied on a rope to you. You grab it, and they reel you in. Now that’s getting customers. I ordered a bacon cheese sandwich and got a fried fish baguette. That’s a pretty typical experience in Laos. Who knows what you will get. Because we got such a late start in the day, it was pretty fucking cold by the end of it. I was kind of shivering and chasing sun. There is also this “Stop Tubing” sign and it’s a trick. I’m a dork so pulled off the river and stopped and lost my friends. I caught up though and found my way back. Overall it is super chill and definitely worth like 60,000 kip.
After tubing, there was an amazing sunset on the roof of our hotel. I played some The Jesus and Mary Chain on my little blue tooth speaker (About You) and sipped on a cold Beer Lao (super good beer here actually, better than any other beer in Asia). The sky lit up a neon pink into the atmospheric smear of limestone mountains, blanketing the horizon. It was epic and emo.