There is more than tubing in Vang Vieng and less than you expect in Vientiane
In these few weeks of travelling I already learned that you need to take things how it comes, especially when travelling by local transport. Your bus or train might show up in time, but NEVER expect it to arrive in time! Do not get agitated but stay zennnn…..The day when I travelled to Vang Vieng turned out to be a very very long day, mainly due to a wrong booking by the agency but also because one of the cars in front of us broke down on a mountain and we had to wait till that got fixed. I did end up at my destination, only about 6h later than planned.
Initially I didn’t plan on going to Vang Vieng. I heard it was a party spot and I didn’t really feel in partying all the time. At the end I was glad I didn’t skip this town, It became one of my favorite places in Laos!Together with Klara, a German girl I met in the hostel, we did the tubing thing. Since the accident with the Aussies a few years ago, the tubingfever has gone down a lot. Many bars along the river are closed, only 4 were open. I don’t consider this a bad thing. It’s good that Vang Vieng gets a little back to how it was before the tubing activities.
Don’t see Vang Vieng only as the tubing and partying place, do consider it too for its laidback countryside and cave-filled rock formations! Rent yourself a mountainbike and you’ll be surprised with what you see outside of town!The Blue Lagoon was really pretty and yep blue! I very much liked the way going to it. Even me with my poor shape I managed to bike the 6km to the Blue Lagoon. If you’re in a very good shape you could consider doing a 35km loop by bicycle, but as the roads are sometimes a bit steep and all dusty a motorbike would probably be a better choice 😉
I’m not sure how I feel about Vientiane. I thought I could easily spend 4-5 days in Laos’ capital but at the end I only stayed 2 nights. My absolute favourite sight in Vientiane was Xieng Khuan or better known as the Buddha Park. This little park, full with bizarre Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, makes all other religious sculptures look average and maybe even boring.
The most important national monument in Laos is the Pha That Luang. The stupa is 45m tall and build in 4 levels. You need to pay an admission fee to enter the innerwalls where the stupa is situated. We thought that would also grant us access to the stupa itself so we were a bit disappointed when they told us the inside is not open to public. On the way to it we also passed Vientiane’s own Arc the Triomphe, the Patuxai.
I was in Vientiane during the weekend and read in Lonely Planet that on every Saterday there was a free meditation sitting in Wat Sok Pa Luang, a temple a little outside of town that you could attend. We arrived a bit earlier to check out this ‘forest temple‘ and were surprised about the quietness we found here. The 1-hour meditation itself included a 30min sitting meditation and another 30min walking meditation. I liked it so much that I consider in doing a longer meditation course!