This morning we loaded ourselves into our mini vans and headed off through the mountains to Luang Prabang. Whilst the roads were in pretty good shape, we spent seven hours twisting and turning every second, looking down the edges of mountains and across beautiful scenery. I only thought I was going to die a few (hundred) times. Speeding round blind corners whilst looking out the window down the edge into the abyss. Terrifying. Anyway, we survived – minus some
people stopping for mini-vomits due to motion sickness. With a “happy stop” at the most incredible service station high in the mountains and toilets with a view and lunch in the clouds, I quite enjoyed the drive (once I stopped looking out the window!).
Finally we arrived in Luang Prabang. After checking in we headed out for an orientation walk. Our little group got
about a third of the way up the epic hill before we decided it was far too hot and we were far too tired for that shit.
Dinner at Lao Lao Garden! for the twins’ birthdays was a treat – they had reserved us the top section of the garden and decorated it with balloons and lanterns. All 20 of us – 18 tourists, the lovely Channy and our local Laos guide Seng – gathered for Beerlao (the beer of Laos), fruit wine (which some enjoyed more than others at 25%) and great food. Sadly mine arrived third to last so I was pretty hammered from my two giant beers and the free shots we got – no idea what it was but it tasted like an alcoholic lemon and honey. I quite liked it, no-one else did.
I’m getting worse at filling in my diary. It’s too hot. Today was nice and quiet which is just what I needed. I woke up this morning feeling good – probably because I’d had more than three hours sleep! Less good when we realised we had slept through breakfast, so instead we went to a cafe a few doors down from our guest house for french toast and pancakes. With full bellies, and hangovers for some, we jumped into our tuk tuk for a bone shattering 20 minute drive to the lagoon.
It was lovely. Swimming in the natural pool (with some massive fish), chilling in a wooden hut and climbing up the side of a mountain to see a cave [current Jenny: in hindsight, we didn’t realise how high we were climbing, and we might have at least taken a bottle of water if we had known]. Minus the 40 minute round climb, it was a really nice relaxing day before tomorrow’s seven hour drive through the mountains to Luang Prabang. Seven more hours of bumpy, uneven, potholed roads. Joy. Already looking forward to getting a massage in Bangkok in a week!
After surviving the tuk tuk home, we headed down to the river to watch the sun set over the mountains. Sadly it was a bit cloudy but it was still spectacular. Another couple of Beerlaos later (and some pizza), we somehow ended up back in the night club playing beer pong. Turns out Korean boys are pretty good. But they also like drinking the beer they paid for so aren’t too unhappy when you turn down their leftover cups.
Vang Vieng is lovely. It is a tiny town in a mountain in Laos but it is buzzing and full of young people – locals and tourists a like. It lacks a beach but has a happy, laid back beach feel to it. Whilst I admit getting there is hell due to the roads, it’s worth the journey.