Hungover in Vang Vieng, Laos

The timing worked out perfectly, my birthday was around the corner and the A-Team was running from Vietnam for a crime they didn’t commit and entering into Laos. Vang Vieng seemed like the most logical answer to meet up with our new friends from London and celebrate my birthday. What more could we ask for? A small town with a chill atmosphere, parties, and tubing!

Vang Viang, Laos
The Otherside Bungalows

We arrived to the small town on a craptastic “VIP” bus from Vientiane, however our ride really sounded like nothing compared to Adam and Anna’s story of their 20 hour bus ride from Hanoi involving puking girl who was sleeping on Adam’s lap with the chickens. We found ourselves some well built bungalows located on the other side of the river from town. They were called “The Otherside Bungalows” with perfect distance away from the nightly sound of thumping top 40 music and hooting and hollering from the “I had five too many buckets” group. You could even say we were staying in the countryside as every day around the same time a herd of cows would come and eat the grass.

Vang Viang, Laos
The bridges of Vang Vieng – super safe to cross on when your stumbling on your feet!

Vang Vieng is a interesting town. It compromises of about 3 main streets which all are filled with restaurants, internet cafes, hotels, and shops filled with junk from China or tubing souvenir shirts. There really isn’t much variety in anything. Most restaurants have the exact same menu as another one and all shops sell the exact same garbage. Any bridge is built out of a mishap of wood and bamboo, just looking at them is scary enough let alone walking over them in various states. But for some reason you are able to spend many days here. Its probably the fact that everyone is in a constant flux of hangover and never want to bother moving onwards in their travels as the thought of getting into one of the horrible buses just makes them want to vomit.

Vang Viang, Laos
Buckets- The drinking method of choice

At night an island lights up that is filled with a variety of outdoor bars. Each one seems to have its own sort of theme set by music selection. There are also a few bars located on the streets and every single one of them has bucket specials. From rolling the dice to get free ones, 2 for 1 and half off specials, or even just arrive between 9-10 and get a free bucket. As excessive as it is, it really is the most logical way to drink in Vang Vieng. But, be prepared! Your mornings become write offs and before you know it days have passed where you have done nothing but sleep all day, eat, then drink the night away again! Good times!

Hmm… which sandwich/pancake cart should we choose?
flickr photo credit: mariachilly

We can’t forget about the gauntlet of sandwich and pancake carts (again all with the exact same menu) that are impossible to avoid on your stumble back to your room. Its 3am and some easy to access food sounds like the best idea in the world! With them all set up right next to each other there is no need to wait in a big line. Just order, watch them make, and enjoy! Sandwiches like Bacon, Chicken, Cheese on a french baguette or roti pancakes like Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate. Mmmm….

Vang Viang, Laos
One of many pool games that I constantly sucked at

So yah, our days spent here in Vang Vieng with the A-Team were fantastic. Almost too much drinking, many many games of Queen of Spades, constant pool championships, and just some plain old relaxing. We were having the time of our lives and hadn’t even gotten onto the infamous river yet! Days we made plans to hit it up we always seemed to find an excuse… the sky was too grey or our hang overs were just too much. Also, we thought we should hold off on the tubing until my actual birthday in a few days.

Vang Viang, Laos
Probably telling Scott he is doing it wrong

We did however manage to get on the river one day with some kayaks. The sun decided to come out in its full glory, we didn’t win that many buckets by rolling the dice the night before, and we figured it be a great way to size up the bars on the river for tubing. It was my first time ever on a kayak. Scott took the back and I took the front. I felt Scott didn’t steer good enough as we often found ourselves getting stuck, almost hitting tubers, and even totally bailed and flipped right over in some strong currents. Lucky we had our camera in a dry sac (that worked this time!) I then decided to take more control on the steering and found we avoided things perfectly. Hmmm… Next time I think I will try taking a kayak myself and figure out where the problem was. Me, Scott or most likely both of us with some really bad teamwork.

Vang Viang, Laos
Can’t wait to go tubing now!!

It was super nice though on the river and made us really excited to get on some tubes for my birthday! Stay tuned for that story!

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