Vang Vieng Travel Blog› entry 13 of 41 › view all entries
Well i've not written for a couple of days so this may be interesting. Where to start! Knew I was comming to Laos as I had booked the overnight train to take me from Bangkok station to Nong Khai, the border or Thailand and Laos. The train itself was an experience. I was a bit of a chicken and for only 1300 baht ( about 20 pounds ) for the 10 hour ride I thought I'd go first class with a bed. I must admit it was better than i expected, comfortable, fairly clean (once i had squashed a cockroach with my boot) and with water bottles and clean sheets, duvets and pillows etc provided. Not to mention air-con. A must over here. Setting of from bangkok the journey was a bit bumpy but the further we got away the better it became and the rocking with the noise of the wheels on track actually helped put me to sleep! about 4am I woke up though, can you believe I was cold!!! The air-con had gone into overdrive and I had to put on another layer. Anyway arrived in Nong Khai 2 hours late ( apparently transport in Thailand is never on time!) I then took a tuk-tuk to the border and a bus over the Friendship Bridge. Once there I had to get my visa 35 USD and then a taxi into the capital of Laos. Being me though meant it wouldn't be that simple. I thought i'd be able to get my visa by paying by plastic, or if not would at least be able to use an ATM or another currency. NOPE. USD only. Luckly there was a really nice couple there from California who took pity on me and lent me the USD until I had passed through Laos immigration. Turns out they were staying in the hotel where I was meeyting the guys ( Mat and Rob) so I took a taxi with them and split the fare. So was all good.
Anyway in the capital we walked around a little bit and saw some sights. Before going for dinner and something to drink. Mat left early and it gave me a chance to get to know Rob a bit. He's actually really interesting and well knowledged so I was pleased. A few cocktails later and back to them room.
This morning we caught the bus from the capital ( i can't spell it so i've not written it here ) to Vang Vieng. And it's amazing. We drove through villages where you could see women on porches weaving baskets, and children running in the streets. Not to mention loads of animals, cows, goats, chickens and ox's. The journey was only about 3 hours so turned out to be very interesting, especially the further away we got from the capital as we passed mountains with waterfalls down the side.
In vang Vieng is amazing. It only has a population of 25K and about 4/5 main roads lol. You can walk around the whole town in an hour, thats including poping into a couple of shops and things. On the other side of town is the main river, with amazing views and resturants along here. You can cross the river easily by little bambo bridges, walking across them is scary as you feel them move beneath your feet and its only planks that stop you falling through into the river below! The scenary here is amazing though aswell. Surronded by mountains and the river it's so relaxing and chilled I can definatley spend a little while here.
Tommorrow we are planning to tube our way down the river, poping into some bars and caves along the way. And maybe the next day or the day after do an Elephant trek through the jungle into little villages and back. I can't wait.
Instead of taking the bus back to the capital to get the train to Bangkok, we've also been looking at the possibility of kayaking down the river. It lasts the whole day and includes tackaling rapids of grades 2,3 and 4 (whatever that means!) and a BBQ lunch! It's defiantly a diferent way of getting back. So may try that.
But since I payed 35 USD just on my visa, I dont want to spend just 2/3 days here. Especially now I've found somewhere I like, I wouldn't mind staying here for a couple of weeks. I have so much to do though that I might only be able to stretch it to 7 days or so. But it will defiantly be worth it!