Thursday 17 Jan
Laos - Vientiene & VangViene
Since my last entry in Bangkok we got an overnite train from Bangkok to Laos border, spent an hour or so at the border getting across no mans land between Thailand and Laos and then on to Vientiene. Not much there! Stayed one night to break up the travel to Vang Viene where we are now!
5 hour bus journey across jungle covered mountains with whopper drops on either side covered in jungle and not even a concrete road, just dusty, sometimes the bus almost came to a halt it had to go so slowly!!!
The views on the way to Vang viene were absolutely fantastic! Arrived in Vangviene, a small enough town on the foot of jungle covered mountains, the mountains surround the whole town. We left the lads with bags and beers and went looking for somewhere to stay! We are in small little rooms in a guesthouse, handy location, shower (not hot, but we've been having cold showers for weeks now! Brrrr) 40,000 Kip a nite, about 3.50euro's!
First nite we met Dave and Coyner who came to Laos earlier than us, they brought us to smile bar on a tiny island in the middle of the big lake at the foot of the incredible mountains, wooden bridges across to the bar, sitting in little wooden huts or swinging on hammocks, we had whiskey buckets (the norm here and in Thailand with the partiers!) and danced to the music at the big bonfires not far from the waters edge!
Next day, yesterday, after breakfast we went tubing! They drive you a good bit down the way from the town and in you go to your tube and just float...it takes hours BUT there are wooden bars on stilts at the edge of the lake that you stop into all along! You could float the start to finish in 2 hours, it took us about 7! Partying at the Swing Bar, clearly the most popular!!! People everywhere on the different levels of wooden platforms on the edge of the lake, and a 50foot possibly more drop from where you climb and wooden ladder to the giant swing that brings you right over the lake and you just drop and swing back in!!! Did it yesterday, p'd drunk!!! Absolutely excellent, then played volleyball for a while and home we went for naps and showers! We slept through so missed dinner and Scott and Brian went to find some food, places closed early enough here but the parties start at midday onwards! While they were out getting food they spotted a drunk lad being carried along by some other lads and realised it was coyner! No shoes, covered in cuts and bruises, found apparently in a ditch asleep at the smile bar!!! Ouch!!!
Today we were up early to go get breakfast and be back at our guesthouse for our lift to the day trip we booked! Firstly they drove us out on the back of a tuk tuk...still half asleep. Then they bring you on foot through elephant village, a little tiny village of houses made of wood and wicar (if thats how you spell it) and onto to the caves. We had to wear head lamps, only 1 for every 2 people...you entered by ducking and following a rope on your tube....once you get yourself about 5 mins from daylight the cave gets to small and you get out on foot, tiny walk ways, thin and then really low, hard climbs through jagged edged holes...this just wouldn't be allowed in Ireland! Then onto our hands and knee's on muck, ducking your head...you get sooo filthy, then on your hands and knee's through water and all of this for an hour with huge spiders everywhere but I didn't seem to notice...your just trying to keep going cause its really small and dark and hurts your hands and knee's and back!!! An hour later we got to the other side for a BBQ lunch - basically rice! Rice and vegetable and chicken skewers! Then we walked back down the mountain and the little town to the river and jumped into Kayaks! We Kayaked for bout 6/7K and then took a break for an hour at the swing bar! More drink, buckets and swinging from the big swing! Everyone's just partying and watching all the jumpers and swingers!!! Some people land with a slap, some do flips, entertaining actually!!! Then we kayaked home!
Got back from that and had a nap, woke up about an hour or so ago and went for Indian dinner...yum, i'm aching from the 10k kayak and the crawling and climbing through the caves. What an incredible two days...been excited to get them up here and now I'm thinking it doesn't sound as fantastic as it is...i couldn't be...you can't even imagine this place...its the most beautiful place I've even seen with such incredible views, party spots and fun things to do!!! More tubing tomorrow if I can move my arms and legs that is!!!