Vang Vieng was the last stop on our mini Laos tour before reaching the capital Vientiane. The town has somewhat of a binary reputation. Some, mainly backpackers in their 20ies, come here to party in the pubs and bars and/or to consume drugs (which are openly advertised on happy menues and include marihuana, opium & mushrooms). Others just come to enjoy nature such as the wonderful rock formations and the river meandering through them. We enjoyed some of the popular activities such as river tubing and rock climbing. We also reunited with our German cyclist friend Harry.
River tubing: Scenery & Drinks (basically)
Tubing is a kind of must do exercise here. For LAK60,000 you get your tube and a tuk tuk takes you up the river Pakpo where you start your 5km float. On the way you have two bars. One right at the start (run by the same people who you find in Viva pub at nighttime) and one half way. Many others have been shut after things got out of hand in the past (many backpackers died due to incapacitation etc). Arguably the first bar was the more enjoyable one over a good game of beer pong. When not in the bars, you get to enjoy some amazing scenery. Plan 4-5h all in.
Rock Climbing: Out of shape
With all the rock formations in Vang Vieng there are several climbing tours on offer. We went for a half day tour (9.30-1.30pm) that took us back to the same river. In total we managed 3 climbs, as the guide had to secure 5 climbers. So quite a bit fo waiting. Laura did very well for her first time and climbed all three routes (different to one Canadian male who bailed on the last one). It went pretty well for me, but the last one I struggled as well. A 6A+ was just a tad too much without any training for a while. So here you go. Lhotse is easier than rocks in Vang Vieng.
Hanging out in town
After we enjoyed lunch after our climbing trip, Harry arrived in town after 220km on bike from Luang Prabang. Good to catch up and chat a bit before going across the bridge to another part of town (advertised by a Brit as his favourite place in the world). There was a nice bar near the bridge though best place in the world is a bit over the top. By the time we left it was dark and not easy to find our way back. Long night!
Off to Vientiane. Best off luck to you Harry on your final weeks in Laos and later on in Indonesia and Canada – maybe I catch you there in summer.