The Most Messy Party.

Vang Vieng Travel Blog

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Awoke early to meander through the lazy Laos streets. We had booked ourselves on the 10.00am bus to Vang Vieng so had some time to walk about. I looked for a book but only found those which were new and costing in the region of $15-30 which was crazy so needless to say, i decided to wait until a cheaper alternative presented itself. I bought some breakfast off the street. Four strips of tasty barbecued beef (in a coriander root/garlic/salt/black pepper marinade), a bag of sticky rice and a bag (yes,bag) of Fanta: 15000d/$1.70. What a great meal. No rip-offs, no extra charge for being a foreigner and it was so tasty. Although annoyingly i realized I had lost Madiba, my smiling figure on a necklace. So i bought a wrist-band to compensate. We passed some beautiful scenery on the bus ride. I sat munching banana chips and drinking water as we passed thatched houses settled in green woods, blue lakes, browning rice fields and school children shielding their faces from the fierce sun with their school books. An amazing mixture of aromas hit me. The windows were open, wind cooled my body and i could smell smoking meat on a wooden fire mixed with the sweet aroma of citrus and freshly peeled lychees. The pace of life here is so seductive. The French once said "The Vietnamese plant the rice, the Cambodians watch it grow, the Lao listen to it grow". Avoiding any undue psychological stress is a cultural norm apparently and they feel sorry for people who think too much. Vang Vieng was touristy too say the least. The place was packed with backpackers and tourists. The tourists for the scenery and the backpackers for the tubing/partying. The main streets were littered with cafes serving "happy" food and travellers watching countless episodes of Friends. But you couldn't deny the beauty of the surrounding area. A friendly guy called "Leu" and "Loy" convinced us to stay at their family run bungalows. They were incredibly nice, chilled out guys and the rooms were great with a good price. We got ready and heading straight to go tubing. Although the wait was a little long seeing as i was with two girls who spent an awfully long time doing what seemed like nothing much in order to prepare themselves for the afternoon. I just grabbed my board shorts, sunscreen and money and was good to go. The tubes themselves were "expensive" by Laos standards and we found out that most people just float down the river because they end up loosing their tubes as they are so out of it. But we took one each and heading by tuktuk to the starting point. We arrived there. And it was MENTAL. Basically a beautiful river passing huge limestone karsts. But on the river's edge are raised wooden bars with scores of messy backpackers, lathered in body-paint, mud and skimpy outfits dancing in a frenzy to pumping music from a quality sound system. Drugs and alcohol are passed around and every bar provides free shots of strong Snake/Scorpion or usual whiskey. I couldn't believe the strength when i knocked back my first shot. My mouth was set alight. Nothing like i have tasted before. Drunken workers weave in and out of the plastered party people pouring the whiskey freely. Drinks are cheap as well, if you even get around to buying something. Bottles of whiskey are $2. It's nothing. Rickety wooden ladders climb up to various platforms where ziplines, ropes and swings extend across the river and where hammered backpackers swing across dropping from 40 foot heights into the flowing river. Some wait until the line finishes and the line suddenly halts and then are snapped back,complete two full rotations as they flip and smack into the water below. People float in the middle of the river drinking beer and other float onwards to the next bar where it starts again. Within minutes i was covered in dirt and paint, rubbed onto me by passing bodies and within 30minutes i was drunk as a skunk. The zip-line swing things were so much fun and the sensation was like no other i have ever felt. It was brilliant. We floated onto a bar where a huge muddy tug-of-war began in a mud-pit before a game of volleyball in thick mud. It was CRAZY. Everyone was head-to-toe in mud, it went everywhere.Soon a massive mud fight developed and random girls were jumping on top of me, rubbing mud into my face. A few girls in skimpy outfits began to loose them in the sheer crazyness. A hose was found and we washed each other off before hitting yet another bar with a water slide that catapulted the occupant into the air and smash into the river. I gave it ago, it was actually quite scary and the impact on the water hurt to say the least. But it was FUN. I bought a big beer, and then realised 30minutes later i never picked it up from the bar counter. I had drinks in my hand which i had no idea how i got them. I met two 20year olds from Devon who were high after eating a batch of strong marijuna infected garlic bread. It was weird floating down the river, spotting signs from bars advertising their psycedelic mushrooms. We finally dragged our selves out of the water as night fell (as that was the sensible thing to do according to an Australian who was hallucinating off a happy shake). We walked through town, covered in mud and after an amazing long hot shower we changed and hit the town. I bought some good market food once again. Pork strips with sticky rice for next to nothing. We hit some bars. Talked to two Australian's who were so "shit-faced" they couldn't recall my face from earlier. Bought 10,000d buckets (ridicously cheap) and rum fruit-shakes. I ending up going somewhere and doing something. And then hit my bed. 
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Vang Vieng
photo by: razorriome