Next on our list was little landlocked Laos. We had travelled overnight again on a coach from Siem Reap in Cambodia and arrived in Vientiane.
Before arriving in Laos, admittedly none of us had done much research on the country and had just presumed that Vientiane, the capital city of Laos would have a lot to offer, after a quick google and a browse in the Lonely Planet we decided it would probably be better if we just moved straight on to Vang Vieng, we booked our coach for a few hours later and had a little wander round before taking a short trip to Vang Vieng!
So, Vang Vieng was pretty much as I expected it to be, chilled out in the day and lots of drinking on the night!
The one thing I wasn’t expecting was that nearly every restaurant/café/bar in Vang Vieng (which there are plenty) oddly all played ‘Friends’ or ‘south park’ inside 24/7! Most restaurants are all nicely furnished with large cushioned areas for you to chill out in and a nice relaxed atmosphere where everyone recovers from the night before and swaps travel stories.
The main attraction in Vang Vieng is of course the ‘River tubing’. Almost 100% of travellers that have been here will have experienced tubing, it’s a must! Grab yourself a big inflatable ring and float down the river with tons of other travellers whilst occasionally being thrown a rope and pulling yourself into one of the river side bars! A short walk from most hostels gets you to the tubing rental shop where they will also organise you transport to the top of the river, and someone will meet you at the exit point to take you back to the main town! Great fun but do watch how much you drink! I’m sure it doesn’t take me to tell you there have been plenty of accidents due to people having too much to drink and trying to float down the river!!
We only spent a few days here and decided to move on! There’s only so much chilling out in one place I can do!
Again to me this was another chill out town! Lots of chilling and catching rays in the days and lots to drink on the night!
As you might have guessed this isn’t my sort of travelling, as I have said before yes I do like a drink and the occasional chill but I’m more of a get up and doer!
Luckily for me Luang Prabang offered the famous Kuang Si Falls! An amazing collection of pools and waterfalls that both travellers and locals (if you go on the weekend) enjoy! Just a short ride from the town itself takes you to the falls, you can choose to take a walk up to the top of the falls (not highly recommended as can be quite dangerous) or simply just stay down the bottom and jump off the rope swing (lots of fun) into the pools or just spectate others jumping of themselves, the locals seem to be pretty handy at doing impressive jumps!
At night there is the local night market, full of lots locally made souvenirs and trinkets and lots of yummy street food to try out!! After you have explored the night market get yourself to a bar and then oddly enough when the bar closes (a lot earlier than you’d expect) head over to the bowling alley for a few games of drunken bowling! Odd I know!
Laos is a beautiful country and I would recommend it to anyone that is currently in South East Asia but as I had already been to Vietnam and Cambodia I didn’t really see that much difference in Laos as it was just for chilling and drinking much like many cities in South East Asia!
Accommodation: Cheap hostel will set you around £3 ($5) and a hotel £7 ($11)
Food: Food being pretty cheap, a meal costing around £1.25 ($2) Make sure you get yourself a baguette/sandwich from a street vendor in Vang Vieng! They are amazing!! And cheap!!
Transport: Coaches from city to city and tuk tuks or walking to get around! Both nice and cheap
Things to do
Tubing in Vang Vieng: Around £4 ($7) for hire of tube and £4 ($7) deposit which you will get back if you manage to return the tube on time.
Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang: Admission around £2 ($3)
Night market in Luang Prabang: Admission is free.