Beautiful Memories from Vang Vieng, Laos
|A balloon popping game in one of the bars in Vang Vieng|
STORY: I arrived in Vang Vieng quite late in the afternoon. The mini bus from the capital Vientiane, was comfortable and good, but the views going to Vang Vieng were unimaginable. As we ripped the highway, we passed by countless number of cliffs, rice paddies with a few shacks off the dirt road. It didn't matter to me, back then, that I've been traveling for close to five hours since i left Da Laat Sao bus station, going up and down on very disturbing road.
I found myself at the back of a side open jeepney with a few others i shared the ride with, all heading to have a late afternoon good time. I didn't pay for the entrance fee but i rented a tube so i can float down the river. Hours later, it would be the funniest mistake of my life.
I've been floating for more than an hour, and i can't seem to move away from where i started, and i don't see a tube anywhere. "This is not working", i said to myself.
|Party animals play the caterpillar game|
After several minutes, i finally gave up and decided to walk instead. Walking by the river is serious business, and dangerous. But when i tried for the first time, i realized the river water, where my number 89 tube have been floating for an hour or so, was only at knee deep. Oh, that's why. I chanced upon a path that cuts short heading to the bars. Occasionally floating using my awesome tube, all for the heck of it, i found myself the first one that i like and it's called "Why Not?". People from the bar threw a rope so i can hang on to it, as they stretch arms pulling me and my number 89 tube towards the bar. The same scenario happened quite a few times until i finally decided, i go settle to just one bar.
|Solo traveling need not be lonely in Nam Song River, Vang Vieng, Laos|
I knew of Vang Vieng parties and I've heard so many mixed reviews about it from travelers. What i saw in Vang Vieng that day was what i expected. With beer Laos in one hand as i dance to EDM tracks, i began to wonder why so many young people go here. The parties of Vang Vieng was brought by word of mouth from adventure party seekers finding a new Koh Pha Ngan around South East Asia.
People hated Vang Vieng parties because it's crazy and noisy. I can't argue with them because all of which are true. Yet, there's a different flair about it that i actually find really fun and fresh.
About a year ago, the party haven finally closed after a series of never ending deaths of drunk crazy travelers. There's always an end to a party, and fun doesn't have to be stupid. However, i just got a tip that recently it opened again.
|A basketball game of drunk people|
I can't blame the youth for having fun. It's a natural thing. It's what every young person wants to do. It's real. It's happening.
I've seen people drunk, having sex, doing drugs, committing suicide with all the jump tricks, swimming, throwing up, etc. I will not be surprised if these people did the same thing the next day. The list of things one can do in Vang Vieng are endless and fun times are not hard to come by.
|Equally beautiful yet isolated town of Vang Vieng|
I might not go back anymore to doing it again; the tubing and getting stupid-drunk. However, i didn't have regrets. I had a lot of fun then. Up until now, i still wear my Vang Vieng Tubing tank because my memories of the party place will never fade away. It'll be good if it finally closed because people can now explore more heaps of places around the town. With breathtaking waterfalls and exciting caves, Vang Vieng is truly an adventurer's paradise.
As i type this down, I'm listening to Knife Party's Internet Friends as i try to relieve the best moments of my South East Asian Epic Journey. I have a couple of videos of me and people dancing, drinking and doing it but i can never broadcast it to public. Sipping my awesome Beer Laos, i watch people have the best time of their lives.
TIPS: If you prefer quite afternoons, Vang Vieng can be a chilled out place if you know where to go. There's Tham Phu Kam Cave and Blue Lagoon, and Kaeng Nyui Waterfalls for the adventure-seekers. You can rent a bicycle and scoot around large farm lands and dirt roads where you can relax and watch in tropical surroundings. There's tons of cafes where reading a book can be as memorable as tubing in the river.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Learn from past mistakes and never ever swim when drunk. Worse, never get drunk, do drugs and swim. Be cautious as the rugged terrain of Vang Vieng is prone to accidents.