Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vang Vieng Part II

Our bus didn't leave until the afternoon so we had some enjoy the scenery from the river before heading to Vientiane.

It was quite lovely and very peaceful winding our way through the river in the morning. The locals were just waking up and heading to the river for their daily wash. They wear sarongs in Laos since most of the bathing is communal or in this case the local river.
As we were making our way down the river we couldn't help but notice the changes that will be taking place here in Vang Vieng. What is a sleepy, relaxing town, populated by back packers will soon become resort location for your high end travelers. We saw cottages being built along the river, and bridges that are wood will be replaced by more solid concrete bridges .

Going down the river we understood more clearly why people wanted to spend the day tubing. There are little bars or more like shacks along the river where people stop and grab a drink before continuing on to either another bar for a drink, or you can try the rope swings if you have the nerve to attempt to climb these things. It would have been interesting to see the river in the afternoon when it becomes much hotter and people are tubing.
Not sure I trust this contraption. We did manage to see a few people kayaking and a lone tuber first thing in the morning.

Later we headed into to town so that Mark could get a haircut. The cost for the cut, USD 2.50. It was more expensive than in Xiamen.
We continued wandering through the town where we came upon a toll bridge, well their version of it. The cost is approximately USD1 to walk over to the other side. We thought we would go and see the caves since we still had some time left. Unfortunately the sign said 500 meters, it was more like two kilometers. We ran out of time and turned around since it would take an additional 20 minutes to tour the cave. On the way back we saw some locals who clearly didn't want to pay the toll.

We were happy to have been able to enjoy this little town while it was still casual and relaxed.
The drive from Vang Vieng to Vientiane wasn't as picturesque as the drive from Luang Prabang and took approximately 4 hours.
Once we were settled we found the Indian Restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet, and it was very tasty and quite inexpensive. We later walked around Vientiane, found a French restuarant/bar and enjoyed some wine. We spoke with the owner who had been living in Laos for 17 years. He was originally from Nice, France. Personally, I would have stayed in France but that's just me.

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