DAY 7: VANG VIENG
The weather was slightly better during our 3rd day in Vang Vieng, and actually even if it wasn’t, Celine and I would still go out to do our water activities cause it’s our last full day in Vang Vieng. We booked our tour package the day prior for 70,000 kip. It includes tubing in the water cave, lunch, kayaking and a trip to the Blue Lagoon. Not bad. I mean, those were the activities we listed and we planned to do it in two days.
We were picked up by our tour guide at around 8:00 AM – he actually came early and we didn’t have enough time to prepare our things. Celine totally left in a hurry. LOL. We traveled northward, going way past the bus station where we were dropped off. Our first stop was Than Nam Water Cave. We actually had to walk quite far from where the truck parked and dropped us off. I think we walked for about 30 minutes, on muddy roads and rice fields. It was actually raining a bit, but being in Vang Vieng for 3 days, we’re used to it. I’m very happy with my water shoes, I didn’t have any issues with walking that far and it was super comfortable.
We reached the Than Nam Water Cave in no time, left our stuff and got ready to do some tubing. Ok, it’s really hard to navigate the tube so I don’t think I’d be able to do this in Nam Song. I will probably get lost in the shrubs and I’ll be found after a few days. Most likely dead. Or I might never be found. At least in the water cave, there are ropes that we can hold on to, to guide us inside and going out as well. I think we went through it too fast, I actually lagged behind a bit so I can enjoy the walls of the cave. We had flashlights attached to our foreheads so we can see what’s inside. I also discovered this nifty trick of using my legs against the walls of the cave to push myself to move forward. It was quite easy. Also, the water in the cave wasn’t that deep anyway. I just wish we took our time inside. I felt like the members of our group were in a hurry too much to get through it. LOL.
After that water cave tubing experience, we had our lunch – or more like second breakfast because it wasn’t even 11:00 AM when we had it! I must say though, it was a very satisfying lunch! We were given a piece of baguette, a banana, fried rice, 2 sticks of kebab and bottled water. The fried rice and barbecue were really delicious! I definitely needed that for our next set of activity. After lunch, we walked back to go to Tham Xang or Elephant Cave. It’s called Elephant Cave because there’s a limestone formation that’s shaped like an elephant. We took some photos and then went back to the truck.
We drove for a bit before getting off again to start our kayaking activity. I don’t know the place but I researched and I believe that our starting point was Khmu Village, which is 10km north of Vang Vieng. I had experience with kayaking cause I did it during our company’s incentive trip to Bohol back in June. Celine and I were on our own because the two guides went with the other pairs. Ok, we definitely kayaked the shit out of Vang Vieng, we thought that it was just going to be a pa-cute kayaking activity, but no, we kayaked for 3 hours! We kayaked for 3 hours under the rain, in the very wide Nam Song River. Hahaha. We definitely encountered “Are we gonna die here?” moments when we hit some rocks in the rapids and when we bumped into the shrubs, not knowing what kind of deadly animals are in there. It was really funny though cause Celine and I both had the instinct of lying on our backs when we hit the rocks. Then when we hit the shrubs, I got off the kayak and pushed it back to the middle. Looking back, if there were snakes or deadly snakes or crocodiles there, I wouldn’t be here reminiscing about these moments. Thank goodness, there weren’t any and I’m still alive. LOL. After those moments, we definitely got better. Walang kokontra! Hahaha!
The tour guide said we were going to stop at bars but we only stopped in one and being the #TitasofLaos that we are, we spent those few minutes at the bar by the fire, warming ourselves up. Hey, it was not just us! All our tour mates just sat there, by the fire. LOL. It’s crazy though because we could see the tubers and seriously, there are no guides, it’s just them, their tubes and their drinks! I cannot! I’ll certainly be lost or stuck in the middle of the river not knowing how to navigate around. Kayaking got a lot easier during the second leg and we’re getting more and more familiar with the city – meaning, we’re back in town! The end point of the kayaking activity was very close to where our guest house is. I was so tempted to just walk there and have my hot shower right then and there. However, we still had one more activity – Blue Lagoon!
I think at this point, we were all feeling really cold and sore, but we can’t miss the Blue Lagoon! It’s about 7kms away from where we were. The view going to the Blue Lagoon is just amazing!!! Our initial plan was actually to bike going to Blue Lagoon and I will definitely do that when I come back. It’s post card beautiful. I wanted to just stop and appreciate it but we were in a truck. 🙁 The driver originally planned to come back for us at around 5:00 PM but we told him that all we need is an hour in Blue Lagoon as everyone is already in dire need of a hot shower. I just really wanted to swim for a bit and take pictures. It’s beautiful but I’m surprised that it’s quite small. Too bad, we didn’t get to go to the caves! We were able to try jumping off the tree though (just on the first level LOL). I wanted to try the swing but I wasn’t too confident of my grip, since we just kayaked for 3 hours! My arms were dead-tired.
We capped off our tour by having a cup of hot Ovaltine in one of the restaurants there. It was niiiiiiiice. Also, we got to influence one of our new friends – Kate, 1/2 of the English couple, to try it. She said it’s her new favorite drink. We were dropped off at our guest house first cause it was the nearest one. Celine and I definitely enjoyed hanging out with this bunch of people and we’re lucky that we were grouped with them.
Boy, we were relieved when we’re finally in our room! We can finally have that hot shower! Our plans to have a night out was crushed because Celine and I were too tired to move. We didn’t even have dinner LOL. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning the next day.
DAY 8: VANG VIENG / VIENTIANE
It’s our last morning in Vang Vieng! It was again a lazy morning because we didn’t really have anything planned anymore but we decided to go to Vientiane in the afternoon. We didn’t really have anything planned in Vientiane anymore, but to visit the night market so there’s really no point in going there earlier.
Celine and I had breakfast in a random restaurant on the main road – where we saw our friends from the tour the previous day. Since we weren’t able to go back to Sakura Bar, we just took a photo in front of the bar. HAHAHA. We also walked back to the river and took more photos. We checked out around lunch and had some sandwiches at a roadside stall near our guest house while waiting for our ride to the bus stop.
Ok, the van was super delayed. Oh by the way, it’s better to book tickets from Vang Vieng to Vientiane in travel agencies, unlike in Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, wherein it’s more advisable to buy from the bus station. We arrived in Vientiane at around 6:00 PM. What’s funny though is that our hostel is very close to where we were dropped off but we walked to a different hotel. Our map failed us. LOL. Good thing, it wasn’t that far.
Avalon B&B is super cute!!! The design is very modern and everything about it just screams new and hip. My problem though is that I feel like their target crowd is tall people. Everything is too high for us. Good thing, we have our own bathroom and toilet in our room and it’s just right for us Asians. LOL. There are 6 beds in our dorm room and our two roommates were both Malaysians. I even realized the next morning that we were in the same flight with one of them. Too bad, I wasn’t able to take photos cause my phone’s battery was empty and I actually had to leave it for charging. Anyway, so in our room, there were 6 double deck beds, each bed has its own socket and overhead lamp. There’s also a corresponding locker for each bed. They also have bicycles that you can use for free. We also booked our car going to the airport with them. Funny though, the car is cheaper than going by tuktuk. I also appreciate that the guy in the front desk made the effort to contact both car and tuktuk drivers so we can compare prices. Oh, and there’s a 50,000 kip deposit for the keys – since they will give you two keys, one of the room door and the other for the locker. The location’s really good, too. The hostel is actually in like a residential area, but very close to where mini-vans stop. There are a lot of tuktuk drivers waiting around here. It’s also walking distance from the riverside. I think my only complaint – nothing huge though – is that they didn’t have towels. You have to rent it. It’s not a problem for me cause I brought my own, but one of my friends left her towel in Vang Vieng so that was a bad news for her. LOL. I would’ve wanted to stay in this dorm longer but we had an early flight the next morning so we didn’t even get to eat our free breakfast. 🙁
Anyway, once we have deposited our bags and took a bit of rest, we went out to walk to the riverside to visit the night market and have dinner. I think it’s a 10-minute walk from our hostel. Our main purpose was to buy souvenirs for our friends back home and I was able to buy some keychains and ref magnets. I didn’t really buy a lot since I only had to buy for my teammates and my close friends. I bought the rest of my pasalubong in Kuala Lumpur. Once we were done shopping, we went to find a pharmacy so we walked back to the road where Poppy Pharmacy is located. We were surprised to see a Filipina in Vientiane! Ok, during the course of our Laos trip, she’s only the second Filipino we met. The first one is that guy from Vang Vieng. The Filipina pharmacist is from Iloilo and she’s only been working there for a few months. She said that she’s 1 of only 2 Filipino pharmacists in Vientiane. I’m sure she also doesn’t meet a lot of Filipinos so it was nice to see a kababayan in a foreign country. It was pretty cool! ^^
We had dinner at this restaurant near Cafe Amazon. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name! It’s a posh place but don’t let it fool you cause the food’s cheap and the manager’s super nice. I ordered omurice and the serving was huge, I didn’t get to finish it all. I also had Thai coconut and I really enjoyed scooping the meat after drinking the juice. ^^
After dinner, we walked back to our hostel and called it a night since we had an early flight.