Vang Vieng: no tubing, no drugs, but beautiful moutains
|View from our guesthouse in Vang Vieng
Luckily for us, the whole tubing and partying is much more low key today. The Lao government issued some regulations and cracked down on the local drug trade. Only three of the previously over 20 bars along the river are still operating. It is still possible to get all kinds of drugs, including mushroom and opium shakes, but nowadays you have to actively seek them. They're not openly on the menu any more.
|Cycling in the countryside
|Inside the cave
We left our bikes opposite the blue lagoon - the water is really an intense blue due to some minerals - paid the 10'000 LAK (1 EUR) entrance fee and decided to visit the local cave first (included in the entrance fee). It's possible to rent torches there, but we brought our own. The path to the entrance of the cave is is a steep climb, but it is well maintained, so no problem there. The cave itself was a great experience. While the first big hall gets a lot of daylight, the second, lower part is pitch dark and quite slippery. A torch is essential there and having done it barefoot, I'd recommend proper shoes. The rest of the day we spent swimming in the lagoon, drinking fruit shakes and eating delicious baguette sandwiches (a french colonial legacy).
|Swimming in the blue lagoon
The whole trip was exhausting, but amazing and extremely rewarding. Except at the waterfall, I only crossed locals in their sleepy Lao villages. And I was even lucky enough to have the waterfall all to myself. Of course I took advantage of that with a refreshing swim in one of the pools.
After three days in Vang Vieng, we took a comfortable shuttle van for six hours to Luang Prabang, definitely more comfortable than the slower and bumpier buses. If you hesitate about going to Vang Vieng: don't! We can recommend it a 100% and there's a lot of things to do other than tubing and taking drugs. Promissed, you'll have a great time there!
More pictures from Vang Vieng