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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for LA21, Laos

May 17, 2005 - On to Vang Vieng

Although reluctant to leave our friendly GH we caught a VIP bus to Vang Vieng this morning. When buying our tickets we found it interesting that to travel VIP was cheaper than to go in a minibus. The bus was certainly nothing special but it did have fully working seats and occasionally the driver would put on the air conditioning. Not that VIP afterall then. We had imagined on board food and drinks, a recent movie maybe, comfy reclining seats. Nevertheless it was a nice journey with interesting scenery along a road that seemed to wind all...

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May 17, 2005 - Vang Vieng

Spent a few days relaxing in this beautiful village by a river surrounded by huge limestone cliffs and caves. We enjoyed floating downriver on inner tube tyres and jumping off high rocks and trees into the deeper parts. Chris was particularly lured by the offer of, "jump and Beer Laos for free!" from the locals. The caves were spectaular; full of stalactites and refreshing COOL lagoons of turquoise water flowing from the cliffs. The Laotians are very friendly and relaxed. Vang Vien seems to be gearing up for 18yr old Brit gap year students...

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May 15, 2005 - Laos - Vientiane to Vang Vieng

We spent most of today wandering around the capital. In going to the top of Patuxia, we realized just how small Vientiane really is. No smog or towering skyscrapers. No congested highways or urban sprawl. It was just green and lush with small pockets of civilization. After this, we wandered north on the Laos version of the "Automile" - now we know where the foreigners buy their SUVs - and ended up at Pha That Luang. The "Great Sacred Stupa" is the most important national monument in Laos and is a symbol of both Buddhism and Laos...

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May 4, 2005 - Vang Vieng

This is a stop off town on the way to Vientiane (Laos capital) and to quote the guidebook' not much to do here except tubing down the river'-so that's what we went off to do! Tubing was Ok but highlights were the swings, jumps and trapeze from the side into the water, some of which from a great height. Other than a bit of sunburn but no major injuries to date. The scenery here is spectacular-limestone mountains and cliffs covered in lush green. We are also staying in a bamboo hut-although this oneis probably 5-star as bamboo huts go-a...

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Apr 18, 2005 - Vang Vieng, Laos

We spent only one day in Vientienne, the capital of Laos, as there's not much to see there. Next we went 3 hours north to Vang Vieng, which is a beautiful village on a pretty river lined with limestone cliffs. It's turned into a backpackers haven, with all the restaurants serving pizza and showing DVDs and episodes of Friends. The day we arrived was the first day of the Lao New Year festival, which lasts for four days and mainly consists of everyone throwing buckets of water on each other. It was treacherous when we had our packs with us,...

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Apr 17, 2005 - Vang Vieng

Yet another bloody mini-bus!! And true to every other bloody bus that we've climbed aboard, this one wasn't going anywhere until every seat was taken, including the ones that fold down into the aisle. As a result, our getting up early to be the first there and claim the premium seats was an exercise in futility. With everyone aboard, and the co-driver sitting on a plastic stool in the stairwell, we were ready to go. All aboard had a good laugh at the expense of the co-driver, but about an hour into the trip we realised that at least he...

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Trip Journal


Andrew & Claire

Apr 15, 2005 - Route 13

Leaving Luang Prabang we caught a mini-bus heading deep into the Mountains south on infamous Route 13. As the only through road between the provinces of Luang Prabang and the capital of Vientiane, the poverty stricken villagers who live along this route have resorted to a new form of economic support... no not agriculture, but banditry. So after hearing a few horror stories about this stretch of our journey, we were definitely on the edge of our seats when we passed the first check point of bandits. We immediately asked our Lao driver about...

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Trip Journal


Pacific Adventures

Apr 6, 2005 - I've found the best watersport ever!

So having spent some relaxing time in pretty Luang Prabang I decided to head south to a town called Vang Vieng, another so called 'backpackers haven'. I booked a minivan to go there as the trip takes 7-8 hours by public bus and it would save me 2-3 hours! My bum has taken some pretty harsh treatment from the public transport in SE Asia so it was worth the US$6! The trip was quite interesting. About 10 of us piled into the minivan, the driver donned his aviator shades, pumped up the Happy-happy-Bontempi-Asian-technopop and took us on a...

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Mar 27, 2005 - Vang Vieng

At some stage during the night it stopped raining and with a bright morning dawning we decided to make our trip by bike instead. After a dodgy start (the bike couldn't get going at first) we set off on route 13, 153km north towards Vang Vieng - self-proclaimed chill-out town. (Apparently opium dens are still in existence in this town!) We were stunned by the quality of the roads, but more than a little disappointed by the scenery after the beauty of Cambodia's landscape - how naïve we were! Within an hour we were beginning our winding...

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Mar 12, 2005 - Vang Vieng

I spent the past week in Vang Vien. Its a dusty little stop on the road north of Vientiane surrounded by a remarkable time warp. While time travels at its normal pace outside, inside things glide by in an undeliniated haze. The town is built between an old American airstrip purportedly used for drug runs from here in the infamous "Golden Triangle", and the Mekong river as it meanders along the cliffs of several tall hills. My days were spent in slow motion: tubing and kayaking down the river, stopping along the way to jump off rope swings...

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Mar 9, 2005 - Leaving Luang Prabang

I can not figure out why everyone raves about Luang Prabang--I didn't care for it. Maybe it was the five dollar guest house with no workable shower-yes there were bautiful buildings but no more beuatiful than Veintiane, yes beautiful river--really worth seeing and interesting crops growing along the side, but to me it felt like Provincetown or Kery West or any other toursity place you have been to. Just two streets-easy to negotiate and figure your way around and some first class food--but Vientiane has that too-but for all the raving that...

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Mar 9, 2005 - Vang Vieng

Wow, this was a weird little town. We went and found ourselves a little bungalow on the riverfront to camp in. 6$ and pre-installed moosquito nets... then we went for a walk down the main street. Both sides were lined with open air bar/restau places. Instead of chairs and tables or even barstools, it was all raised platforms with cushions around tables. Nothing like laying aroud drinking watermelon shakes all day? Only, they were so not Lao and all faced TVs playing nothing but western movies and Friends (episode, after episode, after...

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