We took a mini bus from Vientiane to Vang vieng 7 hours away with some fussy travellers. Once we were close to our destination, we knew it without a doubt. Mountains appeared, deep jungle and the sound of waterfalls.
We were dropped off in town and took a tuk tuk to the other side of the clear flowing Nam Song river. The bungalows were hosted by Nouth who was really welcoming to ‘Lao Valhalla’ (found on Airbnb). The bungalows were meant for 2 people but we managed with another mattress on the floor and then all in the same bed! The gardens surrounding us and the view of the mountains could be seen all around you. Behind the bungalows was a sheer faced cliff where millions of bat’s would fly out of at around 6-7 pm every evening so we led my brother to believe Batman lived there which was great for his enjoyment. 5 nights were spent here although I could have stayed much longer.
The next days were spent exploring the many caves, lagoons and many other things amongst the wondrously scenic karst escarpments of Vang vieng.
The main lagoon in the area was the ‘Blue lagoon’ which on some websites say is very quiet and undisturbed but not when we went. Although it was Chinese new year so it was probably busier than usual – it was full of tourists. But the water was a wonderful blue just like a lagoon was supposed to be.
Many other lagoons around the area were just as beautiful.
We rented a couple of scooters for two days which gave us a huge amount of opportunity to explore.
Driving through the cool breeze under the shadow of the ominous but quirky, steep hills was a wonderful feeling. The roads were empty once we were in the middle of nowhere – no tourists to be seen. We tootled along the roads and stopped whenever we wanted to explore.
The main cave and my favourite was Nang Oua Khiam that had huge stalactites and stalagmites and where they met formed huge columns. The surface of the cave in many areas sparkled with cave crystals that made your own eyes sparkle.
Another cave we went to that we thought would be an easy drive ended up being a long and rough journey over rocks in a dried out riverbed. This cave wasn’t as good but worth it to be encircled by the natural environment.
On the way back to the main road when we were about to set off mum hit a rock and fell and the scooter landed on top of her. Thankfully Jed was with me but since TUT (ian, a.k.a The Ultimate Traveller) was messing about I rushed over and she said four words desperately in a shaky voice ‘get.it.off.me’ which is certainly something to laugh about now but she did hurt her leg :-(.
On the way home of our second day we ended up in the school run of thousands of kids riding their bicycles home and received many waves and smiles. All day many people gave us these kind gestures even when Jed was lying asleep in my arms and drooling over my hands. He ended up loving saying ‘Sabaidee!’ (Hello) to everyone he came in contact with.
The town didn’t appeal to me so much
but it didn’t matter as the scenery and lovely free running river rushing through the hills was marvellous.
My whole description in a sentence for Vang vieng would be to say its like a real life stunning Avatar setting.