THE WEEKLY #23: MY LAST WEEK IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
My final week in Southeast Asia was spent in a relatively unknown town called Vang Vieng. In the Northeast of Laos, Vang Vieng sits on the Nam Song River and has a reputation for parties, drugs and free alcohol. Well it definitely had all of that and more but I chose to explore the limestone mountains, lagoons and rice paddies.
LUANG PRABANG TO VANG VIENG
From Luang Prabang the bus was a 5-hour journey and was much simpler than my arduous journey from Siem Reap to Luang Prabang that took three days of travel. I spent my final week at Chillao Hostel, which cost me a total of $32 USD and included a free breakfast, tea, coffee and each night they put on all you can drink free whisky. Vang Vieng is the cheapest place in the world to be an alcoholic.
It is a place you can quickly become sucked into the cycle of drinking/staying up late and then lethargically waking up late and repeating it all again the next day. However, there are so many beautiful places to check out in Vang Vieng that it would be incredibly disappointing to waste away my time in a bar.
THE BLUE LAGOONS
I had two days that really stood out to me during the week. The first day I rented a moped for $6 USD and headed across the Nam Song River to check out the Blue Lagoon. It is one of the most popular attractions in Vang Vieng, but in reality it is just a little blue pool. The water is more blue than your average lagoon but it isn’t the most picturesque spot. The reason I stayed for three hours was to enjoy a tree that hung horizontally over the lagoon. A perfect spot to perch in the sun and practice backflips.
Next I headed to Blue Lagoon 3, an adventurer’s playground. Several rope swings and a flying fox over a much more idyllic lagoon made this spot my number one recommendation for a day-long chill out in Vang Vieng.
On my drive home I came across a soccer field and noticed some guys lacing up their shoes and boots. I pulled in and asked if I could join. Two hours later we finished playing a full-size game on a grass field, which was covered in cow shit. It was an amazing way to end the night despite having to drive home on the pothole-ridden road in the dark.
HIKING IN VANG VIENG
The second day I thoroughly enjoyed in Vang Vieng involved quite a lot of walking. From Vang Vieng Town, I walked five kilometers to Pha Ngeun viewpoint. From there it was a steep 30 minute hike to an amazing view across the rice paddies. I relaxed up the top for a couple of hours enjoying the sunset as it brought an end to a beautiful day in Vang Vieng. I walked the five kilometers back with a guy from Paris before getting stuck into a $1 baguette and an obligatory 60 cent mango smoothie.
BACK TO AUSTRALIA
From Vang Vieng I caught the 5.5 hour bus back to Luang Prabang, stayed a night in a hostel before flying to Kuala Lumpur the next morning. After the three hour flight, I had an 8 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur Airport before catching an overnight flight to Brisbane, Australia. Here I surprised my grandmother by knocking on her door for an unexpected visit. I’ll be spending a few days here catching up with family before heading down to my Adelaide just in time for christmas.
Well that was a busy week with a lot of adventure and transit. Hope you all had a good week!