Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vang Vieng

Arriving in Vang Vieng feeling exhausted and ready to pass out-we take a tuk tuk to the center and I take the tuk tuk to my guesthouse of choice, The Otherside guest house.  I read about it on www.travelfish.org, which is a great sight dedicated to Southeast Asia traveling.  I get to the restaurant and am picked up by a nice kid on a bike who says he will take me to the bungalows.  We go over two wooden bridges to “The Other Side” and it is perfect.  We get off the bike and Shy says, “Welcome to my bungalow, I hope you enjoy.”  A bunch of bungalows with your own private bathroom and cabana outside for again 30, 000 kip per night, which is $3.50 USD.   
Vang Vieng is known for its tubing and partying. A bunch of backpackers stop here and go tubing while getting drunk going down the river.  Heaps and heaps of Australians,German, French, and more.   They play Friends, Family guy, and Simpsons episodes in the restaurant and have couch areas to sit in while you eat pizza and drink beer.  This is the complete opposite of what I am looking for, but it is popular destination and on my travel route south.   And again, one does not have to participate in these activities.  By staying away from the tourists and  renting a bike you enjoy the simple beauty and explore the villages outside. 

What does Vang Vieng offer?

It has beautiful scenery with mountains and hills ,the people are lovely-not so pushy like Luang Prabang, kayaking, trekking, and caving as well.  It is expensive and annoying to do the tours, but they have an awesome package to do caving, trekking, cliff jumping, and kayaking all in one. I love the outdoors sports, but am always budgeting everything I spend.  Most things can be done on your own, but sometimes it is just easier when the planning/itinerary is all set up and done for you.

Biking through the hay with the cows, pigs, and roosters into caves. The scenery just gets more and more beautiful throughout the day.  Leaving Vieng Vang, another gorgeous bus ride leaving at 5pm perfect sunset time. Cows kept getting in the way of the bus while we passed through villages. 

Real people doing REAL things: bathing, cutting wood, chopping up meat, riding bicycles, transporting goods, a birthday party with a family all standing around a cake.  The bus is bittersweet.  You see the most amazing sunset and REAL moments, but it is super rocky as the roads are horrible.  It is worth it to open up your eyes and look out the window and see right into people’s lives.  Going through the villages whether with bus, foot, or bike is one of my most favorite things.  I would really like to stay overnight with a family, which my friend went trekking with guide for $15 a day.  We will see if that happens this trip-if not this trip in Laos next time....

                                            When there is a will, there is always a way

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