Vang Vieng is the most openly avoided city in Laos. Why?
Because tourists were dying. *gasp*
The river through town used to be lined with sketchy rope swings and spring break style wild bars selling buckets of booze. Common sense says binge drinking and rivers do not mix.
The town has since shut down a majority of the bars, and the rope swings are gone. We find it sad that this reputation overshadows Vang Vieng. Ok, true the town itself could be called ugly compared to the UNESCO designated Luang Prabang, and it is super weird that some restaurants have been playing "Friends" on repeat for years.
However, anyone that claims that the surrounding area is not completely stunning, is a liar or blind.
Vang Vieng was our favorite town in Laos, this picture was taken from our usual breakfast spot "Green".
The chariot of southeast Asia.
This is the only way to sucessufully achieve self guided exploration.
We would like to give a shout out to the best app out there, Maps.me.
Infinitely useful, and available offline, these are the types of "roads" you will find; obscure, trail like, and bordering on non-existent.
Caves were an unexpected activity for us in Vang Vieng. We are by no means spelunkers, but they are everywhere in the area. Maps.me has a fun little icon telling you where they are all located. This was the only cave where we hired a guide. We were glad we did, as this cave was a labyrinth of danger, where a person could fall or get lost. She was no more than thirteen years old, charged us around $3, and even helped Nick light these photographs with her torch.
The only light inside the caves comes in from the entrance, otherwise they are PITCH BLACK.
Every cave we visited had an entrance fee of $1.25 including a dim torch.
One cave even threw in a banana. What a deal!
Num Bor Keo Cave
The rest of the caves were much less treacherous than Lusi Cave, and very deep, up to a mile.
Num Bor Keo had very large rooms, with space to move around. All of which had fascinating travertine formations of all colors. Some even sparkled.
After paying admission, you enter the cave completely unsupervised. In fact, we were inside so long that when we exited this cave, no one was even outside. We wondered when, if ever, someone would come inside to check on our safety.
The river through town is the only place to retreat from the high humidity, and sun. The locals also used it as a scooter wash.