The drive from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng was really beautiful. Guidebooks will tell you don’t go to Asia during the rainy season but I disagree. I love how green and lush everything is. The sacrifice for this verdant scenery is a dealing with a few showers. Hmm…doesn’t bother me any. As I am learning about Laos, I had no idea that this country had so many illustrious mountains.
So Vang Vieng, once the party capital of Laos, maybe still is but it has so much to offer outside that. The party people sit in the bars all night and then campout all day in front of a TV watching episode after episode of “Friends” at one of the restaurants. These pizza only eating people are missing out. Coming to SE Asia to eat pizza and watch TV? Sounds real fun.. I say rent a motorbike, eat some delicious Laos noodles, and go explore!
I really liked motorbiking here! The roads were really muddy and precarious but it was a great way to see some really cool scenery. At one point, I was behind a tuk tuk carrying a load of tourist all hanging out the back smoking cigs. I felt their plumes of cigarette smoke were blasting my face and filling my lungs with toxic fumes, so I decided to pass this tourist carnival. I gave my bike engine a rev, tooted the scooter horn, and gained some speed to pass. As I passed, the tuk tuk driver looked at me, and wanted to race. I gave a little wave and ducked my head to gain some more speed and flew past him. I won the race and got in front the tuk tuk but as I was trying to make distance there was a slippery hill. I admit I was going too fast and I’m normally a very cautious and safe driver. So coming down this steep slope, I couldn’t do anything but try to coast and ski the bike down the wet clay and muddy decline. Before I knew it, the bike tires slipped out from from underneath me, sending me and the bike crashing down. We slid for a bit on the muddy “slip and slide” and finally came to a stop. Everything was in slow motion and I was like “noooooo” and then “oh no I am going to have to pay for a new bike”….and then “oh no!!!, I don’t want to go to hospital in Laos”….As me and the bike stopped sliding, I quickly did an assessment, and picked myself up. “I’m okay”…a few minor bruises and a little banged up, I pulled myself and the bike up. I knew I had to getup and get out the tuk tuk’s way. I got up and then noticed one side of myself covered in mud. I rolled the bike to the side of the road and then saw the tuk tuk approaching. Trying to save my ego and pride, I turned my clean side so that it was visible only to the road to try hide my muddy half. I hoped that they didn’t see the fall. I thought maybe they will just think I am stopping here on this muddy slope for a rest stop. As the tuk tuk passed me, everyone rubber-necked and stared at me. Humiliated, I gave a friendly wave and tried to convince myself they didn’t know. I’m sure they probably knew and thought “what an idiot.” Good news on the bike too! A wash in the river, a mirror bent back in place, and a foot peg bent back, it was good as new.
This was definitely one of my highlights of Laos. I absolutely loved this!!! So one day exploring the blue lagoon on motorbike, I saw this “cave” sign. I knew there was a cave somewhere around there but I didn’t really know what it entailed. So I walked over to where the sign was and their was a lady renting headlamps for $1.50. “What is this?” I thought! “This sounds fun!” So I immediately threw the lady a $1.50 in Lao money and started climbing up the trail to the cave. It was about 10 minutes of climbing steep boulders before I reached the cave entrance. I met 2 guys walking down on my way up and asked them how far it goes back. He told me 5 minutes. Hmm.. Okay. As I later found out on my own you can spend an hour and a half exploring. When I got to the entrance, I flipped on my light and started to enter the dark cavern. I will admit it was a little creepy walking into a dark cave alone but somehow I was filled with excitement of walking into an actual cave by myself. I felt like an explorer and adventurer! There is no way that they would allow something like this in the US. It would be filled with lights, manmade walkways, railguards, and warning signs. It would feel more like a disneyland attraction than a natural wonder. As I continued through the labyrinth of dark cavernous corridors, I kept looking back to make sure I could find my way out. I didn’t want to get lost but I was way too curious to stop either. I kept walking, climbing, and spelunking into this cave. There were some huge incredible corridors that were 4 stories high and hazardous holes in the ground that dropped off hundreds of feet. Water was dripping from the ceiling onto the petrified mud that made some of the steps very slippery. I definitely didn’t want to fall into one of these holes. Stalactites and stalagmites were everywhere and some stretched from the ceiling to the floor. I of course had to yell just so I could hear my voice echo off the walls. The beautiful spookiness of being by myself down there was really peaceful but it looked like something off of a sci-fi thriller. While I was on my way out of the cave, I ran into some lost travelers that couldn’t find their way out. Thankfully I paid careful attention and was able to direct them to something that looked like a wall which was actually the way out of the cave. I’m sure it is terrifying getting lost down there.
Typical Lao soup. So tasty!!!!! I guess it is Lao style Pho.
Sandwiches in Laos are really good!!!
Town of Vang Vieng