Vientiane and the quiet parts of Vang Vieng

We didn’t know what to expect from Laos but we’re realising now that it’s a beautiful country with loads of stunning landscapes to explore. Once again we haven’t budgeted enough time to really see anything so we’re having to make the most of the little time we have.

Our first stop in Laos was Vientiane which we decided to fly to rather than lose a day on a 24 hour bus. We arrived in the evening after spending our flight with a Swiss guy who we happened to literally bump into in our kayak two days previously in Cat Ba. Our hostel was a short walk from the night market so we found some cheap street food and wandered briefly before heading back. At the hostel we booked a minibus to Vang Vieng for the next morning and got an early night.

The ride to Vang Vieng was fine, though I did worry a bit along the way about our bags which were tied to the roof on the crazy bumpy roads. Everything was fine though and we were there in relatively good time.

Vang Vieng has a reputation as a party town but we’d also read that it’s beautiful if you get out of the centre. Rather than stay in a busy hostel in the centre we booked a bungalow which was a 20 minute walk out of town. When we arrived and were greeted by three dogs and five cats, I knew I was going to enjoy it here. The price of the bungalow was a little high for our budget but we figured we could manage it with cuts to food and other expenses.

Although we hadn’t planned to go out to party we found ourselves in Sakura bar on our first evening, which serves a local whisky every evening for free between 8-9pm. We parked ourselves on stools at the end of the bar and watched the growing madness of a happy hour in a party town. We left at around 10:30pm to do the walk back to the bungalow and were greeted by two of the cats wanting attention and trying to get into our room.

The next day we wanted to see more of the area so we hired a scooter and went out on the bumpiest roads I’ve ever experienced. After a day of riding we felt exhausted from all the bumps and vibrations from the road, but it was worth it for the sights we were rewarded with along the way. We even took a dip in a cold spring where fish were trying to nibble on my feet.

Our final morning in Vang Vieng we decided to hire a scooter again and do a loop around in the opposite direction to the day before. We weren’t sure how much we’d see in the few hours we had before our bus to Luang Prabang, but we actually managed to get quite far despite the scooter almost failing on a number of hills. There was even a moment on a bridge where Mark didn’t manage to drive straight across and I had a slow motion roll off the side of the scooter onto the floor. It probably looked hilarious, but I’m glad the road was quiet at that moment.

Back in town we ate some tasty tuna sandwiches for lunch and dropped off the scooter before heading back to the bungalows for our pick-up. We said our goodbyes to all the cats and dogs we could find and on we went to experience more winds and bumps in a single journey than I could have imagined possible.

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