Tubing, Trekking and General Randomness

Vang Vieng Travel Blog

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Ok, so we boarded the train at bangkok after a maple waffle (just for good measure) and took a seat but some rude train guy kept shifting us as he tried to make the beds around us-was that a hint that when we started moving we had to go to sleep. Me and Lindsay sat down swigging a small can of beer each trying to cheer ourselves up as we new of the long night ahead but to our right there were nuns so we quickly disposed of our bad habit and got into our top bunks and relaxed. ps. do not get top bunks on trains in thailand as we weren't very well balanced and you only had two straps to stop you falling out of your midget bed and the train jolts, rocks and brakes hard so you fall about everywhere. I attempted to get 40 winks but some guy was snoring like a tractor so i sat and read for almost the entire journey-sheltering around my light as the wind and rain lashed our coach-yes, it was chuffing raining AGAIN and it was freezing on the bus-so much so that i wore every jumper in my bag and looked like an eskimo!!! We also had curtains to shut out the world with but people kept pulling mine back and staring in which scared the bejesus out of me!

We got to nong khai about 2 and a half hours late and so sleepily made our way round the station hoping to buy a ticket for the train to vientiane but to no avail.. APPARENTLY we had been lied to by the guy at the ticket office in bangkok-not only had he told us we had aircon (turns out we didn't need it!) but he said we could take a train, instead we had a tuk tuk take us to the bus station for 60 baht-WHAT A CON MERCHANT!! He took us 2 minutes down the road and dropped us so we held a protest in his tuk tuk (motorbike tuk tuk) until he finally moved his lazy ass into action and took us to the bus station to get a bus but due to being delayed, we'd missed the first bus so had to sit in the midday sun for 2 hours and wait. We took pride of place next to some rather underdressed ladyboys who were getting the come on off a drunk young man who was falling all over and dribbling (sexy!) clearly he was too drunk to see the adam's apples or facial hair!!

We finally got a ticket and boarded the bus to vientiane-again, sat next to the ladyboys who talked in their gruff voices and walked like women-very confusing! We had to get off at the end of thailand and fill in a departure slip, then board the bus again THEN we got off as we got into laos just to get our passport stamped. Then back on again til we got to vientiane-the most boring city (looked like a village) i have ever been to! We were again dumped at a bus station and a tuktuk (driver of a jumbo tuktuk-one that's like an open back taxi but still very small) took us to an atm which refused cash and said weird things, then to an expensive hotel before we finally put our feet down and he took us to somewhere more reasonable. The guy seemed friendly but didn't stare at our faces but our breasts-namely, lindsay's!! pervert so we avoided him like the plague after buying a bus ticet to vientiane and showering, we headed off into town but as it was a sunday-everything looked closed. We had to as a teacher for directions to somewhere we could eat and so we finally landed on a swedish cafe (it served meatballs and lingonberry-ikea style!!) then we fumbled around the city looking for action before rain stopped play and we had to head back home but luckily the simpsons movie was on cable so it wasn't all bad!!

Next day the bus for vang vieng turned up early and we weren't altogether ready so we threw our stuff in our sacks and ran to the bus which dumped us at the side of the road where we got onto another bus 20 minutes later-our luggage was laid out on top and we could just see it flying off along the bumpy roads!! We headed along dirty roads and out of vientiane to vang vieng and arrived about 2pm. We found malany villa and dumped our stuff and washing, then plodded into town to get food, then to find the tubing place and then to relax with beer and cakes from the bakery before a night of friends at a cafe and some food while laid back watching the sun set.

Next day we rose about 10 and ran to get food before TUBING!! to those of you who don't know what it is-it's a playground for big kids.. you basically float down the river on a rubber ring and people from bars on the side of the river drag you in to ply you with beer or get you playing volleyball or mud wrestling!! Or you can go down the water slide or on the rope swings!! Lindsay was well away but my ring had a mind of it's own and stopped at every bar on the way down (the ring was blatantly northern!), at one point i had to stop to help a girl who had fallen badly from the rope swing but otherwise my day was laid back. I hit the second bar where i agreed to meet lindsay but she wasn't there so i laid back and floated down to the 3rd bar where she stood by the side waving frantically at me. My ring was jogging on so a guy swang down to get me, then swam out to pull me into his bar. After a shot of whisky and a large beer and chit chat with some randomer called peter and someone who knew skipton and uwe we decided to hit the next bar but i managed to get there, lindsay was down at bar number 4!! The guy threw a bottle attached to string out to me and hauled me in and in not finding linz-i hopped over a tiny bridge, climbed over a fence, ran through a field just to get to bar number 4 where i saw linz looking disorientated and looking for me!

After dragging lindsay back to my bar, we downed beer and sloshed about in the mud with an irish guy who we met when we queued up for our tubes. Everyone was bikini clad and drunk throwing hoses around or mud. We scuttled down to the bathrooms to wash off but a spider the size of my head resided in there so we legged it over to a hose pipe instead and had a hairy fat ogre wash us down!! NICE!!! Lindsay had a spider on her shoulder earlier on and some guy flicked it off and he came over to chat to us about some girl he'd saved from a spider even though he was scared-not realising it was lindsay! We met some rich californians too who were cool and dragging us around to mingle. We all danced to the killers like right spanners in our merry state then hit the next bar together.

We were only at the next bar for a wee while as we had to get the tubes back before 6 so we could get our deposits so we set off but somewhere along the lines i lost lindsay so ended up floating down the river tied to an alaskan navy guy and an old lady as we bumbled down we had to paddle faster and faster cos time was running out. We swished along and at one point had a hyper peter beside us muttering about being 19 and able to drink in asia-bless!! We hit the shore and i saw lindsay in the distance so i was happy, then i met with a bristolian and we ran like wildfire across a rickety old bridge and got there just in time to get our deposits-all of us thoroughly shattered, muddy, wet and drunk=GOOD TIMES!!

That night we just sat back and watched crap on tv after a humungous tea and another large beer!! Next day consisted of what was meant to be a 5 hour bus journey but in fact an 8 hour one-yikes!! We travelled for about an hour before the driver piled 8 laos people on and their menagerie of kids, they stood for a while before people gave up their seats. We stopped shortly after and had a bite to eat and a drink then they piled us all back on and still the kids and adults were piled into the middle. The roads were rough and windey and at one point we were teetering on the edge of a cliff trying to get past some wagons carting logs up the rough terrain in front of us-clearly only doing 2 miles an hour as they forced their way up!! We spun through luscious green hills cascading down a mountain of rock and bowing down to the river-the sights were beautiful and we were in awe but we were all hot and sweaty and squished so most people didn't even notice.

We finally dropped the laos people off and their luggage near a village where we stopped for dinner, i had a sandwich that had been cut with a fishy knife and gagged so threw it to the dog who grabbed it and promptly ran away with a full sized baguette between it's gnashers!! Then 3 hours later we were there and dumped at yet another bus station where some guy invited us to take his room in a guesthouse so we clambered into the jumbo with about 9 other people and trundled down the road dropping people at various points in the centre-we were taken to our room through what looked like a farmyard, from the outside-it was infested with grasshopper and geckos. Inside, it was infested with ants and mosquitoes but we were lucky, the guy who also stayed there who got our jumbo had cockroaches ranging from baby-kids-daddy one's, the size of a small child!! We wandered out late at night and sat by the river eating, then wandered down into the centre but clearly took the wrong turn as we could've got there a lot quicker-didn't notice the shortcut! We wandered around a wat (temple) then went for quotes on buses around vietnam before finally resting our eyes.

This morning we got up and headed for breakfast where i got the best coffee ever and a breakfast wrap that hit the spot. We rested a while before going to the palace and seeing the floating buddha exhibition (it was just a load of photos of orange cloth or buddhist monks-not an actual floating buddha-boooo!) then we wandered round to the palace and read the story of the old king and looked at various artefacts but for 30,000 kip it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Then we wandered up chomsy hill but not to the top, just to a small desolate view point where we got trigger happy and stared out at the night market starting below, after the walk down we hit wat xieng and walked around the grounds looking at gold buddhas, then we saw more temples before embarking on a jumbo ride to a waterfall. After a lot of bartering... we were off!!

He drove us down to the waterfall but we didn't know there was 2 and so hiked up into the jungle after posing for random photos at the bottom. We walked deep into the heart of the wood crossing butterflies, spiders, random large bugs and crawling under trees, tiptoing over bridges just to get by. The waterfalls were stunning and peaceful and up there we encountered nobody. We had to crawl under a bug ridden fallen tree which wasn't pleasant but to get to the top was magnificent. Then we had to paddle through the streams and waterfalls and dance over bridegs just to get back but somewhere along the lines the path got lost and we were stranded. Lindsay at first opted for up but we eventually took the downwards traiul climbing over livewires and threw dense grass areas with bugs crawilg and scratching at my skin but suddenly we saw a light after our 2 hour trek and the jumbo tuktuk driver stood smiling at the bottom. He let me ride his tuktuk and pose for photos like a muppet before driving us back into the night market where we plyed ourselves with fruit smoothies and bought gifts handmade in laos.

Now we have to get to bed as it's an early start so now we've had tea, it's time to go. adios amigos. Tomorrow is phonsavan!! then vietnam-til then, kids xxxx

ps. i am now betrothed to a thai tailor-i made a joke about not buying his stuff so he asked if i would marry him instead-i said yes, in 3weeks when i am back but then realised after shaking on it that the hostel we are staying in is opposite his shop-so how do i get out of that one, eh..? being blunt??
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Vang Vieng
photo by: razorriome