Ever Kayaked before???

Vang Vieng Travel Blog

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Nope, Never!!!

Well at 8am this morning I was up and packing my bags ready to go kayaking. Trying to decide what I should pack in my daypack. Should I take a first aid kit, is it dangerous, how many changes of clothes, camera, phone, valuables, so many choices!!! Anyway I was ready in time for 9 when the tuk tuk came and picked us up from our hotel. I was almost glad to be getting away from Vang Vieng after being there for 6 days. I was all tubed out and with no power in the town I needed to get away for hot showers and ATM's. Plural because Vang Vieng only had one and that didn't always have money in it or power!

Once on the tuk tuk we drove across the airstrip to the other side of town to the truck which we would be traveling on for an hour to reach the Nam Song River which was our starting point. Once here we were given a life jacket and helmet ( I think I was underestimating how dangerous this might turn out to be!) and some basic instructions as to how to Kayak. Basic as in our guide didn't speak a lot of English and was giving us this lesson on dry land. Showing us how to move the paddles. He also went on to say stay away from the rocks and the whirlpools!! Because if you get stuck in a whirlpool you can't get out!!! They also stressed to us that a paddle costs 200 Baht! So don't lose it! With that, we was in.

Tammy, a girl I had met in Laos, and I partnered up to tackle this and quickly chose our kayak and got in! Once in the river it was nice paddling along at a nice gentle pace. As soon as I thought I had the hang of it though, we were called to one side for a quick chat before we went any further. It was at this chat that we were told we would be approaching our rapids, and in here is a big whirlpool. The best way is to go around it to one side, as this would stop you from getting flipped into the water or getting sucked into the whirlpool. So we headed in and when Tammy and I came out the other side without falling in I was so chuffed with ourselves. We'd made it when many of group had fallen in! We even made it through the second set of rapids and whirlpools ok. It was only at the third ones that a huge wave got the better of us that sent us tumbling into the water! We floated down the end of the rapid, where a guide was able to help us back into our kayak to continue our journey down river.

Further down we were called to one side where there was some rocks where we could sit and break for lunch. Our guides made us some lovely chicken kebabs with rice and baguettes while we lazed on the rocks sunning ourselves. Gave me a chance to take in some of the rural views as was away from towns and villages, as was in the middle of nowhere. Defiantly one of the best meals I'd had so far in Laos. Cooked on a campfire it was flavored nicely. I was a bit worried as to whether the chicken would be cooked throughly or not though, but it was and it tasted sooo good!

After lunch we got back into our Kayaks and continued down river to meet our trucks with our luggage that would be taking us to Vientiane. It was an hours drive in our wet stuff back to the fountain in the center of the city before I could change into dry clothes. Once there we met with the rest of the group and headed to the bus station so we could try and catch a bus to the border so we could try and catch the night train from Nong Khai back to Bangkok this evening, But the train was due to leave at 7.05 and it was 6pm already. So we ended up taking a taxi to the Friendship Bridge back to Thailand and took a tuk tuk the other side to the train station. The train had already left and the ticket office was closed so we traveled back into Nong Khai to find somewhere to stay the night in Nong Khai. A nice little place perfect for an overnight stay called the Sawasdee Guest House.

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Vang Vieng
photo by: razorriome