Most people associate Vang Vieng with people drinking excessively, experimenting with drugs and crazy parties. We went in to this expecting a 1-2 day shit show with plans to get out asap. That’s not at all how it was. We found a guesthouse in the center and barely heard any noise at night. This was nice because for the first 2 days here, I was stuck in the room with food poisoning.
So what did we end up doing while we were here?
We went for a walk through a village towards the Blue Lagoon. We didn’t go that far since it’s about 7km to walk there. But the area is just beautiful. You have to cross the “bamboo bridge” which is a toll bridge. 4000k to walk across… its more if you bike or take a vehicle over it. We paid it but we had friends who told us because the river is so low in the dry season, they just walked across the river in knee deep water and saved the money.
We joined in on the tubing party. I asked a girl who had gone tubing how it was… this was what she said to me: “First you take a tuk tuk up to the first bar where you hang out for a couple hours and get, like, really fucked up. Then you tube down and by the time you get to the end it’s like 5:30pm and you forget your tube and don’t get your deposit back.” Sounds like how I wanna spend St Paddy’s Day! Sign me up!
You can get beers for about 15,000k each if you drink cans instead of bottles. They also sell laughing gas balloons if you really hate your brain cells.
If you get back before 6pm, you get your full deposit back. It says it takes 3 hours to go from top to bottom non stop… There’s no way the river was that fast. We made it to the halfway point by 6pm.
Of course we stopped at some bars on the way down.
I watched one girl put her face in that mud pit… all I could think was “you’re gonna get typhoid!”
Needless to say, it was an expensive day where we paid 75,000k for the tube plus 15,000k per beer on the way down. Being on a budget, we didn’t get nearly as drunk as some people.
Between 8pm-9pm they give out free alcohol at Sakura Bar. I would go in, get a drink and leave. Then when I needed another drink, I went back in. This is a good way to save money. Two girls tried to promote it to us while we out for dinner one night when I was sick.
Girl 1: “You should come to Sakura Bar, free alcohol from 8-9”
Me: “Another night, tonight isn’t working”
Girl 2: (in a drunken slur) “Don’t be a pussy. The alcohol is free!”
Me: “I’m sick”
Girl 1: “What kind of sick?” (fair question for this town)
Me: “Food Poisoning”
Girl 1: “Oh Shit! I’m sorry! Did you eat the street food?”
Girl 2 interrupts: “I get sick everyday”
Girl 1: “It’s different! Leave him alone”
Me: “Have fun getting sick tonight”
The coolest thing we did in Vang Vieng though?
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE!
For $80usd each we went for a “sunset” ride. Sunset is in quotations because you don’t actually stay up for the sunset. Length of your trip is entirely about luck. We went up and down in about 30 minutes. But a balloon full of people went up before us and came down after us. Regardless we had an amazing time!
We hovered nerve rackingly close over roof tops and trees. (Crappy blurry pic is of us brushing a tree top)
Our pilot looked at us while we were over the river and asks, “Do you want to touch water?” We shrug and say “why not?” He dropped us right onto the water. There were a bunch of people hanging out beside and in the river with very confused looks on their faces. After that we had much more confidence in our pilot.
As you can see by the pics, we had a lot of haze.
Still for the price we paid, this was an awesome deal! Check hot air ballooning off the bucket list!
That’s it. We spent our time quite laid back in Vang Vieng. The party didn’t seem to be too crazy, but a lot of bars have been shut down. They used to have 400 people a day tubing and now it’s closer to 150. Next up is a grueling 7 hour bus to Luang Prabang along a windy road that’s supposed to make a couple people in the bus sick.