Vang Vieng I
We are now in Vang Vieng, home of “tubing” (more on that later). The bus ride here was incredibly bumpy but there were fantastic hills and, as always, photos don’t do it justice.
We are staying in a nice little bungalow, a good respite from a week and a half in dorms and actually cheaper!
Yesterday we went to the blue lagoon and Poukham cave. The lagoon was really clear and you could see the fish swimming in it! There was a tree with a low branch and a high branch. I climbed the low branch and jumped in easily. Sam even did the low branch, I was very proud of her as she hates heights! The climb to the top branch was actually horrific, I was shaking like a leaf by the time I got up there. It was 5 metres! I jumped it 😀 there is a video and photos and I will upload them when I get them. There was also a rope swing – the first time I was so worried I wouldn’t let go in time that I let go straight away!
After swimming we began the trek (we were so unprepared and Sam turned back) up the side of the mountain almost vertically. It was a hard slog!
The cave was at the top and entering it you could see into a massive chamber with a Buddha in. The photo isn’t brilliant but you get the gist.
Other people were going through the dark cave to get to there but I’d seen enough and made my way back!
Today Sam, Yolly and Alisha were ill and tired but I was determined to be super active! Kat and I rented bikes for less than £1 for the day and set off for a 26km round cycle to more caves. The road was bone jangling in parts as we passed wild boar, water buffalo, cows and chickens. Lots of children waved and said “sabadee” (hello) as we rode past.
We parked the bikes and got a ferry across the river. When I say ferry, I mean death trap.
From there we hiked a kilometre to 2 caves. A seemingly friendly local pointed us in the direction of the caves and came in with us. Only afterwards he tried to charge us 80,000 kip (£7.50 ish) each, which we were having none of. It was sad, Laos was doing so well up to that point on being scam-free!
The caves were the most terrifying place I have ever been to. I would have taken photos but a) it was pitch black except for torch light and b) I was more concerned with not losing my footing. In one of then there was a hole in the ground that I shone my torch down and couldn’t even see the bottom. There was also an awesome stalagtite in the shape of an elephant. We didn’t stay long in either. I’m glad I did it but caving is not for me! There was the option to go in the “water cave” which you can wade through in the dry season, or in the wet season (now), pull yourself along using a rope whilst sitting in a rubber ring. After the first two caves we were tired and couldn’t face it so cycled the 13km back to Vang Vieng and rewarded ourselves with a cold Beerlao.
The tubing that Vang Vieng is famous for involves getting into a rubber ring and floating downstream 3.5km over 2 to 3 hours. There used to be places to eat and drink on the river bank but they have all recently closed down. I don’t fancy the floating but I think some of the others are going tomorrow. I am exhausted from today so need an early night and maybe just a swim tomorrow although I’ll probably end up going for a mad hike through the jungle. I did see a sign for a waterfall roughly 7km away…maybe the trekking shoes will get their first use!