Vang Vieng was an amazing town and I really wish I had more pictures to share with you! You see what happened was tubing.
We went on a sort of pub crawl that involves floating down the river so right away my DSLR was out. But thankfully our new friend Kirill came to the rescue with his waterproof camera. He was even so nice as to let me use it for the day, making a point that it was waterproof.. Not sink proof.
Point taken. So I wrapped it up tight around my wrist and despite all the bracelets we were earning (you get a bracelet for each drink) kept a close eye on it. After all, I live for the pictures.
Unfortunately at the end of the day the poor camera sunk. Somehow in the struggle of getting out of the river Kirill dropped it. Womp, womp.
Now if you ever find yourself in town go tubing! Just leave everything you care about at home..
As for the second day, we ended up getting just as soaked but my poor little camera was along for the ride this time.
We woke up the morning after tubing feeling a tad bit rough, so I was appalled when Maggie told me she had made plans for us to bike to the blue lagoon. Bike?! Bicycle?! Me?? Hungover?
I slammed down a water and a delicious street sandwich before hopping on a bike and somehow didn’t feel so bad!
We rented the bikes for the day and after test driving about a dozen duds (seriously, test drive the bikes before you take one!) we hit the open road.
As we coasted down the road I laughed and pointed down a rocky path saying wouldn’t it be horrible if our right turn ended up looking like that?? Not 10 seconds later a few locals waved us down and shouted that we’d missed our turn. Wonderful. That rocky path was our right turn.
I am not quite sure how I navigated down the hill across two rickety bridges and around the rocky (oh and muddy) paths. Right as I was getting my groove we hit a huge puddle. Go fast, I thought. Boy was I wrong. Peddling as fast as I could go, I lodged myself right in the middle of a muddy pit.
Maggie was right behind me losing her flip flops to the sludge while another friend was right in front and we were all fighting to pull our bikes free from the mud. Leigh was the only one to survive the giant swallowing puddle by some miracle. Unfortunately as we were fighting this battle for our bikes the clouds rolled in and opened up on us. Thank you rainy season.
We pushed on and realized we had seven kilometers to the lagoon. Gah! The rain eventually stopped but the muddy road remained slick. Despite the whole mess we were having a great time laughing at ourselves and the views were great.
Somehow we made it to the lagoon in one piece. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting because rather than a natural lagoon it looked like a man made watering hole. This didn’t stop everyone from jumping in and splashing around though. The water was surprisingly cold!
We were in the good company of an unknown (to us) kpop star and his entire entourage!
The lagoon requires an entrance fee that also includes a nearby cave. We figured we may as well explore since we had the tickets and headed off for the cave. Little did we know this would be quite the spelunking adventure.
Decked out in headlamps we set off to climb the steep jagged rocks, I mean steps, up to the cave. Finally at the top, huffing to catch our breath we looked in to find a steep descent. If we had known what an intense outdoor adventure this would be, we could have probably been better prepared by getting some sturdy shoes and other handy equipment, maybe from an rei boise store, before we came here. But we hadn’t, so what we had was what we got. The poor boy that came with had gotten stuck assisting all of us ladies down the muddy rock. Well aren’t we just so outdoorsy?
The inside of the cave was astonishingly huge and eerily cool with small rays of light sneaking in through the rare openings in the cave walls. Somehow a Buddha shrine had been set up at the bottom. This was the kind of cave you could get lost in. I just wish I’d had the proper shoes and gear to actually explore.
When we climbed back out we were greeted by the sound of thunder just before the skies opened back up on us. Remember how we had to climb jagged rocks up to this cave? Well they were steep, with bamboo tied between nearby trees as the only assistance, and now they were slippery. Clinging on to the bamboo railings, we slowly descended giving up hope that we could keep anything dry. I’m not sure how my poor camera survived.
Wouldn’t you know it the downpour stopped just as we took off back towards town on our bikes.
C’est la vie! And you know what, the rain and fog definitely adds something to the sight of Laos’ landscape. It is definitely rainy season in Laos!
Putting It Together
- You can find bike rentals around town. Shops tend to have the bicycles and motorbikes lined up out front so they are easy to spot.
- Expect to pay a deposit and daily rental fee. Take photos of the bike before using it if you are worried about getting the deposit back.
- TEST DRIVE your bicycle first! We had to turn around twice due to loose or flat tires, gears not shifting, etc. And while you’re at it try to get a mountain bike so you can change gears when going up and downhill.
- Chart out your path first on a map and don’t hesitate to ask the locals for help! They are used to tourists in search of local sights and attractions.
- Wear a good pair of shoes and prepare for inclement weather especially if you go during rainy season!