you're beautiful yet dusty as hell
I had no idea what to expect before arriving in Laos. Would it be dirty? Would the locals hate backpackers? Would I be able to figure out the currency? FYI it's called kip and confusing as shit.
Not knowing before but if you ever have the option to fly, bus it, slowboat or whatever into Laos... just fly. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT take the bus from Chiang Mai to Vang Vieng. Longest, cringe-worthy experience Anna and I have made so far. I wanted to kill myself. Oh and let me point out that what they call a "bus" here is actually a mini van. Jokes on me I guess.
Needless to say this trip is not suppose to be all rainbows and unicorns so it was an experience I'll never forget.
Crossing the border was semi easy, semi sketchy and I semi felt like a fugitive. But we made it into Vang Vieng all in 1 piece while smelling quite horrid. My initial thought about Vang Vieng - dusty and more dusty but oh how there's a lot more Vang Vieng offers than just dust in your eyes.
A quick background on VV - it's backpackers paradise: bars, crazy parties, drink specials, happy places, and tubing the river. People told me it was a black hole where backpackers would end up saying here longer than anticipated, very similar to Pai. And guess what? They were right! Anna and I extended our stay here by 2 days.
So how was Vang Vieng? Oh, let me tell you
Day 1: Arrived at "Real Backpackers" hostel and woke up our roomie Rich. This nice lad took us around town and to lunch.
*Note - before any bus ride always, always stock up on "real" food, not gas station food. All I wanted was a toastie from 711 or fruit but noooo there are no 711s in Laos and the stations here have only chips, crackers and candy.
We ended up at Tifalcony Pizza... what would later be our regular spot throughout our duration. Yes, the owner knew us.
Day 2: Spend the day by the river, soaking up the rays at Smile Bar (another regular place for us). The night was filled with probably the best pizza we've had on this trip accompanied with some Aussie company.
Day 3: 2 words - Blue Lagoon
ay 4: Finally floated the river. I felt like I was back in college floating the broad at Lambda rush events. No pledges were present though. That night? I think was mostly spent hungover, watching Friends. Oh yeah!!! Every bar/ restaurant in VV plays reruns of Friends 24/7. God it was amazing!
Day 5: Partook in a 5 hour trek across the mountains. I thought I was going to fall over and die. The trek consisted of 2 up hill and 2 downhill with minimal stops. Talk about a workout. For lunch, we stopped by a creek where our guides proceeded to cook food on bamboo leaves and sticks. Hands down, best meal I had in Laos. Our last night started off with a trip to Tifalcony Pizza then made our way to Sakura.
You know that scene in the OC where Marissa and the gang go to Tijuana for Spring Break and go to the dance club. Yep, that's exactly how Sakura was like. Now I won't go into detail because to be honest, this story has to be told in person. Any written words on here wouldn't do justice.
We survived Vang Vieng and that's all I have to say.