Tuesday, December 23, 08
Husband J and I paid 80,000 Kip for a bus ride to Vang Vieng, and the van transporting us to the bus terminal picked us up from the hotel at about 9.30am. I love this door-to-door service!! We picked up more passengers along the way before we finally got on the big blue bus parked as the driver was loading the bags. It took us over an hour before we finally moved because a couple of tools arrived late! We were not amused, why did we wait for them?? It was very thoughtless of them and they didn't even apologise, though it wouldn't have mattered - we were annoyed at their tardiness.
The scenery to Vang Vieng was nothing to shout about. About an hour into the journey, we stopped by at some small village out of nowhere for a toilet/lunch break. The toilets here are clean. They use water too but they're not stinky, dirty or slimy like in Malaysia. I was happy for the break, as I am the Queen of Pee!! J decided to have a tuna baguette sandwich, I was still full from breakfast.
We jumped on the bus for the remaining journey to Vang Vieng. It is a 3-hour ride and by the end of that 3 hours, I was beginning to think if we were ever going to reach until I saw limestone hills. I knew we were close.
Vang Vieng is a small little village known for its outstanding natural beauty, with limestone karst dominating much of the scenery. It's been a backpackers' mecca for many years, and is popular for tubing, kayaking and caving activities. J and I dragged our bags to the hotel - I was lost out of my head, but I found out later the town is one small circle, that takes you back to the hotel in no time.
We stayed at the Nam Song Villa, a small but new hotel on the river bank. It is very picturesque, very beautiful. The Nam Song (Song River) is the life line of this town. It's not big like the Mekong, but unlike the Mekong, the Nam Song has clear water, so you can see the small pebbles that make the bed of this river. It looked like out of a picture book, the scenery is breathtaking! Part of the river bank is filtered with vegetable gardens, and the locals use the river for everything, even driving to cross to the other side, bypassing the bridge!!
The nights were cooler here than in Vientianne. We found out very quickly that there is nothing much to do at night after the sun goes down at 6pm, unless you decide to stay up, head down to Party Island for a bit of...partying. But we're old goats, we don't party, and hung out at the hotel's cafe overlooking the Nam Song enjoying a cup of coffee. And that's what you pretty much do in Vang Vieng - chill out.
p.s. Happy Festivus, for the rest of us!! *LOL*