28th November - 1st December 2014For the first time in over weeks we left the influence of the Mekong river on a 6 hour minibus ride to the backpacker paradise of Vang Vieng. It didn't take long to forget the tedium of Vientiane as we weaved our way through the mountain passes and valleys. Even the restroom breaks stopped by some stunning viewpoints.
|Nam Ou River|
Despite the clamp down the town still attracts many tourists who are drawn by the landscape, lagoons, tubing and rock climbing (to name a few).
Jono, Will and I befriended an English couple Ed and Laura (Dora) who are backpacking around South East Asia following a year teaching English in China. After checking a few options we finally chose "Easy Go Backpackers" as our new home. The basic three bed room Jono, Will and I vacated was exactly what it said on the tin but it was extremely cheap and with breakfast included what more could you ask. The local girls who ran the place were very helpful and always had a smile on their faces. You don't get that at a Premier Inn.
The following morning we strolled the short walk to the centre of Vang. Vieng where you grab an inner tube and catch the Tuk Tuk to the starting point a few kilometres up river.
|First of many beer Laos|
|Messing about on the river|
If the first three bars isn't enough there are a couple of what we called "Ghost Bars" to help satisfy your thirst. There not strictly on the bar crawl route but you don't begrudge them sneaking back in to make the most out of a steady steam of tourists looking for a drink.
|Bar 2 and another beer Laos and whiskey shot|
Skimming rocks and drinking shots.
After the fourth (more like the seventh) there is a 45 minute tube back to Vang Vieng (depending on how intoxicated you are, how many times you fall out, your weight, whether you get snagged on a branch, whether your tube deflates and the strength of the current). If you want to avoid tubing in the dark we were advised to leave the last bar no later than 4:30pm. If your forced to exit the river early you will get rinsed by the Tuk Tuk drivers that stalk you along the riverbank.
|The drunk drifter|
|Jono and Will leading the way|
The party doesn't have to stop in town as in the evening many bars offer free Lao Lao whiskey shots at various stages of the evening. This is enough to finish off even the most alcohol resistant punters. In our case we were pretty merry by 9:30pm, dancing around by 10:00 and who knows what happened after 11:00. It was a great day for all involved.
|Pic with the locals|
|One of the Ghost Bars|
|The drinks getting the better of me now|