The rain of Vang Vieng

Posted from Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Laos.

Apparently Vang Vieng is really beautiful. Apparently.

Apparently Vang Vieng is really beautiful. Apparently.

It was bound to happen. I mean, it happened in Vietnam, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before the reality of weather patterns and mountain-induced cloud formation caused the sky to rain on my parade. And so rain it did – from the moment I left Ponosovahn to a few hours into my journey to Vientiane after I left Vang Vieng.

Vang Vieng is mostly known for its tubing scene, which has calmed in recent years following some unfortunate fatalities and numerous other accidents. Most times people tell you the tubing has shut down, but that’s not the case. There’s plenty of rumours surrounding it though. I even heard that one of the youths who died was an Australian senator’s son. But the main rumours I heard were drunk or stoned youngsters would break their necks or backs going off some of the steep and crazy slides along the river. These slides are shut down now, as are many of the bars that used to cater to this activity’s raucous nature. You also hear of people hitting sharp rocks that lurk beneath the water’s surface, especially in the dry season when the water is not at its most glorious depth and the current not as swift. I kind of wanted to do the tubing, despite the dangers, for these dangers are fairly standard when drinking on moving water. But it was cold. There was no sun to dry you off after a dip. And it was still raining. This crap weather also meant the other outdoor activities like kayaking, trekking, climbing and rafting were out. Shit, I couldn’t even see the scenery and I had heard this place was beyond stunning. I may never know.


A bamboo bridge over the river that people take motorbikes on. Oh yes.

A bamboo bridge over the river that people take motorbikes on. Oh yes.

The only activity I did participate in was spending far too much time lounging in one of the many cafes that play reruns of Western sitcoms all day long (Friends, South Park, Family Guy.) I made the most of their free wifi and had some very cheap fruit shakes. Some of the cafes also serve “happy” shakes or “magic” pizza. Oh I’m very serious. I’m sure whatever mushrooms or pot they use to make these isn’t very good so I opted to not explore what would happen.

One of many chill-out cafes. This one played Family Guy.

One of many chill-out cafes. This one played Family Guy.

You read that correct.

You read that correct. This is a menu.

I spent two nights in Vang Vieng at the Domon Guesthouse (60,000 Kip) along the river. I had hotish water, a king-sized bed, cable TV with HBO and a balcony. I did my laundry in the sink and hung it to dry, and watched even more TV whilst trying to catch up on my blogging.

I suppose at some point I also had to slow down. I didn’t quite realize how much I needed to take a day or two for myself and just forget about seeing sites or moving places. I needed to relax and chill and remember that outside of my travelling adventure there is a whole other existence. Shit. I could be going to work. Instead I’m washing my underwear in a bathroom sink and using my Nivea tin as a plug. I’m choosing a café because the fruitshakes are 20 cents cheaper at one over the other. And my main concern is often if the bathrooms are clean and that there’s no bed bugs. Life sure has changed.

So I booked a ticket for 40,000 Kip to Vientiane, Laos’ capital. I heard more rumours from other travelers that there’s not much to do in Vientiane. I didn’t really care. My only concern was applying for a 60-day Thai tourist visa so I can spend some much needed time on some beaches.

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