Vang Vieng was full of surprises. We traveled there in our 14-day trip through Laos and Thailand in April 2012.
Vang Vieng. Blame Adventurous Kate for making Vang Vieng seem so interesting to me. Kidding. I read her blog religiously when she was in South East Asia and the stories about Vang Vieng and the fact that she couldn’t move on from the town for a while triggered my curiosity. The tubing, the hangover, the partying and the deathly accidents, these aren't my daily life. If I was in my teenage years or early 20s I might’ve wanted to go to Vang Vieng and get all crazy just for the sake of trying something new and have something cool to tell my peers. But nowadays, I just wanted to be there and see what it’s really like. What? Just looking? Sounds boring, huh? As it turned out, it wasn’t. Not for me, at least. :D
|Ready to flow...|
FROM VIENTIANE TO VANG VIENG
3 of us decided to take the bus to Vang Vieng, while I wanted to take the minibus because I felt like it. And this is one of the things I love about traveling with these girls: we don’t always have to be together in the trip, everyone has their own choices J
* Both the bus and minibus charge the same fare for each passenger: LAK 40,000.
* It takes about 4 hours from Vientiane to Vang Vieng.
We booked the seats at a travel agent we randomly picked near the hotel. The ride was comfortable. There were these German girls and guy who couldn’t stop talking almost all the way to Vang Vieng, but I managed to fall asleep anyway. Mumun, Vindhya and Uci were picked up on time, but turned out to be the last, so they got the least comfiest seats in the bus. They were add-on seats with no backrest! I can only imagine the tired back I’d be having.
Looking for Spicy Lao Backpacker Hostel
I arrived at about 6 pm and found a difficulty finding our booked hostel. I asked some locals but some of them didn't have any idea and some gave unclear directions. Maybe Spicy Lao Backpacker Hostel wasn't popular, maybe they just didn't get what I said.
So I continued to walk straight along the main road, but as the day got darker, I couldn't help feeling a bit worried. I walked and walked and walked until I found this tall gate of something that looked like a temple. Being not a fan of reptiles and having a feeling that I was lost, I felt a bit uneasy to see the huge green dragon statues guarding the gate. I turned around and asked for direction again to the first person I met. Turns out, I just needed to turn left just before the temple, walked about 3 minutes and..voila! Spicy Lao Backpacker Hostel! Hooraayy!! I was lost and now was found. Phew!
Spicy Lao Backpacker Hostel
This hostel doesn’t exist anymore. Our friend Adam told us just a few weeks ago when he was in Vang Vieng. But I wanna tell you about it anyway cos we loved it.
When I arrived ahead than the other girls, I checked in at the reception, which was a flimsy shack. Kitchen utilities were organized neatly on a rack beside the reception table and a vending machine was installed behind the table. The receptionist, who was also the owner, and his wife, were sitting behind the table, on something that looked like a bed without a mattress.
|Picture courtesy of Vindhya|
Anyway, we found this hostel on the Internet, like we always do. God bless Donald Davies. The hostel had ‘tree house’ concept and some may call it a dump (hahaha). It wasn’t really surprising that the booking system was messy, there was a double booking and our room was occupied by someone else. So they put us in the nearby hostel owned by their sister, the Sunset Homestay, which was actually more expensive, but they charged us the price of the Spicy Lao hostel. So responsible, I like them J
* You can’t really expect too much for a hostel that charges you LAK 30,000 / person / night, can you?
|Picture courtesy of Vindhya|
The next day, there were beds ready for us at the Spicy Lao. Yess!! We didn’t get the exact room we booked for, but we loved it anyway. It’s door-less, it’s very kampong style, it’s got no storage let alone drawers with lock, it’s so different from what we’re used to. There were 6 beds in the room, each with a mosquito net.
Shower and toilets are located at the other end of the hostel. It may looks so simple and isn’t tiled or furnished with anything shiny, but it’s got hot shower! Common area is a hut built among the rooms where guests have breakfast, share their drunk stories from last night, charge batteries, get connected with the world using the free wifi, and simply get to know each other. Like many times, we are the only Asian guests in the hostel.
Hammocks are hung in the hostel. Everybody sort of waits for others to get off of it and change turns. What would be nice than dozing off on a hammock after a night of partying, right? Well, we didn’t party. I was mostly working on my iPad in the common area. Lame? Well, a working girl’s gotta do what a working girl’s gotta do. How else would I pay for my trips if I didn’t work? *long sigh*
So what did we do in Vang Vieng? What’s the downtown like? Ever heard of ‘happy pizza’? And how was our tubing experience? Check out the next posts for answers ;)