I drove 190km from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng, taking in the breath-taking scenery. The journey was pretty uneventful except taking a lot longer than expected meaning that I was driving in the dark for an hour. The drive was through windy, hilly roads with wind, rain and fog being thrown at me from all angles. Children in the villages were greeting me, walking with bags hanging from their head, playing on the street and walking mindlessly. There were cows roaming the roads and people in the rice fields with baskets on their backs.
By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was exhausted wanting food and sleep. In my room was an older guy from America, who could chat for England. I grabbed tofu fried rice at a restaurant before retiring to my bed.
My full day in Vang Vieng, I decided to drive through windy, pot-holed road and over the Friendship Bridge (10,000kip) to the Than Plu Kam(10,000kip), also known as Blue Lagoon. I was slightly disappointed as the pictures looked incredible but I think because of the season the water was a murky green. Visitors were swimming, jumping, sliding and climbing by the pool of water. It probably would have been better if I was with a group of people to enjoy the Blue Lagoon. However, the climbing up steep rocks to the cave was worth paying. There was a sign at the beginning of the trek to warn people that a rented head torch needs to be used in the cave as it’s too dark and dangerous. I ignore the sign and I managed to navigate my way around in flip flop. It was slightly dark in places and slippery in other parts but I coped. Inside the cave is a golden temple and amazing rock walls.
During the afternoon, I went tubing (55,000kip) down the Mekong River, where you sit in a large rubber ring and float down. I arrived at 1pm, which was the recommended time as this is when people generally start congregating. Once a group was piled into a tuk tuk, we took the 10 minute drive to the first bar, where we received a couple of free shot. I met loads of people from all over the world.
Before going tubing, I got warned that many travellers lose their deposit due to being too drunk and not returning the tube by 6pm. I didn’t want to fall into this trap. The bar people were trying to keep you at each bar to buy drinks and play games. I ended up hanging with two girls from San Francisco and a girl from Australia.
We tubed to the next bar, where we danced to some pumping tunes and received more shots. After a short float down the river, we got to the third bar, where we shoot some hoops. Also, I fought this Slovakian girl at boxing, where we sat on a pole over a pool. I managed to hit and balance well causing me to win the two games we played. The last bar was not much further down where a group of us played volleyball in a mud bath. It was so slippery, which just made it more amusing. Some of the guys started throwing mud so in the end we were coated.
I had been told by others that the rest of the tubing was about 3km meaning we would have to leave the bar before 5pm, which a group of us did.
As we were leaving, tubers were just arriving and the people throwing the bottle so us we would have enough time and that it would be too dark. This was untrue. We returned our tubes on time.
The tubing was incredible with a group of us linking, while floating and admiring the beautiful scenery. The sky, however, opened wide, causing us to get soaked but this just made it more of an adventure.
Once I had showered to warm up and eaten dinner of fried noodles at a restaurant showing Friends, I headed to meet some of the girls from earlier at a bar called Sakura. It’s a cool place that offers free drinks from 8-9pm and clearly are the same bartenders as the tubing places. The girls weren’t there but ended up chatting to other travellers, where we went to a different bar with a pool table, also giving free shots. I had one called the fire cracker, where they set it a light. A group of us, including to two San Fran girls and some German guys, decided to walk in the pouring rain back to the other bar, which was packed full of people. When it had closed, we went to a club, which was open till late so we danced the night away.
From meeting some Laos guys the night before, they told that it’s not worth seeing other caves if I had seen one so I decided to drive straight back to Luang Prabang after having breakfast.
On the way back, I fell into a problem… Mud: thick, deep, rocky mud. I somehow carried on into the mud thinking there was no other way. I missed the turning up a steep hill. So I kind of got stuck twice , the first time it was that bad. When I backtracked I saw no other way and thought the only way was through the mud. The second time, my bike got stuck vertically, my flip flops were sinking so I went barefoot. After about 10 minutes of pushing and pulling and twisting, my motorbikes was free. I started to panic thinking I would never get out. Both myself and the bike was covered in mud.