Vang Vieng was a bit of a bust.

Vang Vieng was the disappointment that we anticipated it being, but for completely different reasons. This town used to be famous for tubing down the river. There were numerous bars and numerous injuries and even some deaths. As a result of the debauchery the Laos government intervened in 2011 and closed them down. The bars that show endless repeats of Friends and Family Guy are still there but they seemed to be empty most of the time. The majority of tourists were from South Korea, they seemed a lot more calm than the usual backpacker crowd but had a penchant for selfie sticks. There were still a few of the old style backpackers lingering, mainly shouting a lot and drinking enough to soil themselves proudly.

It is probably really pretty when you aren’t at the bus station:

Vang Vieng tv and karstsPinion at the bus station:

Sheila at Vang Vieng bus station

We had hoped to spend our time in Vang Vieng kayaking down the river, instead we ended up suffering from more than a hangover from Luang Prabang. Our hotel there had managed to lose half our washing and so sent it on by bus. The first day they ignored us and after we eventually got hold of them they agreed to send everything the following day. That day we waited at the bus station for a couple of hours before the bus arrived and we got most of our clothes back. Still some things were missing and they promised to send them the following day. Again we waited at the bus station, and then watched as a bus drove straight past. We had luckily met a lady called Noi who was also waiting for the bus. One of the customers in her hotel had left their passport in Luang Prabang.

We followed Noi back into town and I hopped onto the back of her motorbike. She managed to hunt down the bus, who had pulled into a dark alley. A weird guy approached from the side and then the driver forced Noi to pay him more than the cost of a ride from Luang Prabang for the passport. I managed to grab my parcel from him before Noi and I jumped back on her bike. She explained to me that the other weird guy was about to steal my bag just in time for her to shout a loud, “fuck off!”

Our clothes parcel (i’ve had some interesting names this year):

Missing clothesNoi dropped me back at our hotel and I opened the package, the hotel had sent someone else’s clothes. We now have a t-shirt from Equador and Pinion did not get her salmon coloured shorts back (there is always a blessing when bad stuff happens). After spending 3 days chasing our laundry it was time for us to head to Vientiane. Noi was the star from our time in Vang Vieng. I think we’d probably just rather forget the rest.

4 thoughts on “Vang Vieng was a bit of a bust.

  • September 6, 2015 at 12:03 am

    It sucks that the town has lost it’s legendary party status, but I have to admit the numerous incidents and even deaths made it an eerie place. It was almost like everyone blocked those things out by binge drinking and binge family guy/friends sessions. At least you got to see the gorgeous lush forest and mountains surrounding Vang Vieng 🙂

    • September 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

      We were really happy to hear it had quietened down ( is should probably rename the blog rambling grannies), the thought of floating downstream on a tube with a couple of beers was nice but the whole party scene doesn’t really fit in with Laos. The mountains and countryside are lush though! 🙂 faye

  • November 17, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Interesting as I was there in around June / July and I had a very different experience. I certainly didn’t see the South Korean tourists… maybe it was just the time of year. I will admit it is a strange place though.

    • November 18, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      We were there in mid August. I think it coincided with a school holiday in Korea, some of the guys we met said there were lots of adverts for Laos on their tv channels.

      Completely agree that it is a strange wee town.


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