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The scenery of Vang Vieng

Somewhere along the road between Luang Prabang and Vientiane lies the village of Vang Vieng. It is a typical traveller village offering an side step between the two main destinations in Laos. Nobody can tell us why it is so popular, so we have to find out for ourselves.

Vang Vieng Market

The tuktuk brings us to the bus station in Luang Prabang. Our bus has half an hour delay, but that's no problem. We are used to delays and it gives us the opportunity to watch the surroundings. Our bus is a normal one, though not very new. But there are also transformed trucks and other vehicles. And the luggage is put on the roof. Luggage also include things like motorcycles, by the way.

Bus station Luang PrabangWhen we leave, it doesn't take long before we drive in a beautiful landscape. The road winds itself through the mountains, but it is a good road, constructed not so long ago. We hope it stays that way, since we heard that yesterdays bus took 15 hours (instead of 8) because of landslides caused by rain. We pass several villages, mostly from hill tribes with huts built from wood and cane. Then we meet the bus from the other direction, and suddenly the drivers decide to turn around. All passengers have to change buses to continue their journey. And nobody knows why.

Landslides

Landslide on the road from Luang Prabang to Vang ViengThe landscape remains beautiful. Nice mountain formations are passing by and we drive along ravines and steep mountain walls. On some places we notice the landslides from the previous day. A lot of soil and mud that came from the mountains onto the road. Bulldozers are still busy clearing the road, but our bus can pass with spinning wheels. And thus we arrive in time.

A tuktuk brings us from the bus station to the village, where we start our hotel hunt. Vang Vieng is full of them so it doesn't take long before we find a good one. When we are settled we search for a nice spot along the river for a beer. There we find the attraction of Vang Vieng: beautiful karst mountain formations along the river.

Scenery in Vang ViengThe next morning we walk through the village, but it takes some time before we leave the traveller area. The people here are clearly used to westerners, even more than in Luang Prabang. Here, the party tourists form a majority, doing the village more harm than good. But a little further we can find the typical Laos atmosphere. We enjoy a nice walk along the houses and the river, before we settle again on a terrace for some relaxing.

Tubing

Our last day in Vang Vieng we are ready for some action. And thus we hire a large truck tube and a tuktuk to bring us 4 kilometers upstream. There we sump into the river and let us float downstream. The beautiful karst mountains pass by while we are sunbathing in the water, nice!! Once in a while there is some current, and we see some children to wave to. We also see a bungalow park being built, so more tourists will be attracted to this area. After a few hours of floating we arrive back in Vang Vieng, where we return our tubes. The rest of the day is relaxing time again.

Vang Vieng doesn't have much to offer. It owes its popularity to the beautiful surroundings and a party image. Too bad, for us it was mainly a place to relax. We hope that will still be possible in the future.



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