Sept 24, 2017
Had one last noddle soup from upstairs for breakfast. They let us check out at 12 today instead of 11. Everyone who had to go to the Vietnam Embassy left around 2:30pm, while I tried to knock out my blog. While I love blogging, I feel like it’s becoming a little bit of a chore. It takes me forever (around 4-5 hours) to finish one entry. The wordpress app for iPad is also really funky when I tried to upload photos. I guess I just need to do better at finding proper times to write.
I’m doing so much every day and if I’m not doing anything I’m socializing with all the great people I decided to travel with. Everyone gets along so well. We’ve dubbed our name the “Los Banging Fabu #Team11”. We’ve all been in the same group since the slow boat, and I really enjoy everyone. We do this thing called “where’s 1?” and Andrew, the oldest from Canada, yells 1, Charlie from the UK is 2 (second oldest), I’m 3, Hannah from the UK is 4, Nicole from America is 5, Josh (kiwi) is 6, Kevin (Canada) is 7, Liv (UK) is 8, Mike (UK) is 9, Sam (UK) is 10, and Ida (Denmark), who just recently joined our group is 11, the youngest.
We were all on the same bus from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng together. Our driver picked us up at 3pm, and after maybe 5 mins of driving, we could tell that this dude gave no fucks. He wasn’t smooth with the clutch, the roads were already bumpy, and he would swerve and break at a dime. No one could really sleep because of how awful the drive was. It was cloudy and misty, we’re kind of glad we decided to travel today.
After around 4 hours, we finally arrived in Vang Vieng and checked into our hostel “Real Vang Vieng Backpackers Hostel”. It wasn’t as nice as the hostel we stayed in previous, but it worked for us. I was in a room with Josh, Mike, and Sam. By the time everyone settled in, we were starving. So, we went to the restaurant across the street where we just happened to run into Ben & Becca (what a coincidence). They just happened to walk down a random side street and eat at the same restaurant we picked. We asked to join them and we all sat down ravenous AF. I got some noodle soup (big shock).
Once back in the hostel, we were already getting recruited by the Westerner’s who work at the bars here. One bar had free shots from 8-9pm, the other had free shots from 10-11. Since it was already past 9, we thought we’d wait until 10pm to go to the next bar. Viva Pub was the name of the bar and I asked for whisky shots (it’s free whisky, the real cheap Lao whisky we’ve been drinking everywhere) because I don’t like mixed drinks (they make you pee more). We played some beer pong and danced. We ended the night at the Rasta Bar, where Nicole had a huge laugh attack. It was freaking hilarious.
Sept 25, 2017
Our hostel also gave free breakfast before 10, so I got up just in time to get an omelet. Today was the day we’re doing the infamous tubing down the river. This is probably the most popular thing to do here. Basically, you rent a tube and wade down the river to the different bars on the banks.
We got to the river around pmand didn’t even get in the water. They have a little makeshift boat that takes you across shore to your first bar. Luckily, the group and I pregamed before we got there, so we didn’t have to spend much on alcohol. They had this really fun jumbo jenga-like game with funny things written on it. You had to do the task that was written on the top of whichever block you pulled out. For example, my block said “Get Whaled”, which was the only one that we weren’t immediately sure of, so we asked the British boy who worked at the bar. He didn’t tell me what it was he just told me to lie down, open my mouth and keep it opened, poured beer in my mouth, and blew on my nose so air shot down my nose into my mouth and the beer spewed out like a whale blowing water out of it’s air hole. He said I was a good sport for doing it. Some of the rest were things like “write cunt on your forehead” “kiss every pole” “would you rather”. It was really fun.
After 2 or so hours, we floated down to our next bar. This one, we were in the bar for like 5 minutes before we saw something. We were told that only 2 bars would be open, so we thought this bigger-looking bar on the right side was the opened one. However, we were all incorrect and all of asudden we see two people on the left hand shore waiving and trying to pull us in. I immediately started swimming over and caught this rope that was attached to the tree and on the end of the rope was this guy riding like a makeshift board. The rest of the group had to be saved by a guy a little downstream with a rope and bottle attached at the end.
This bar was fun, they were playing fun music so most of us just danced the whole time. Josh makes friends with the most random things. The bar before this, he disappeared for like 30 mins and came back and asked if I wanted to pet a cow. He then brought me to where he was hiding this whole time, petting this cute freaking cow who like fell asleep in his lap. At the second bar, he made friends with these local Lao women. He called me over, and the Lao ladies instantly gave me a shot of tequila and asked if I wanted a bite of their food. So freaking sweet!!! It was super spicy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The makeshift board on attached to the tree also became almost like a wakeboard. If you could balance on it then you could go out into the middle of the river and back. This was fun because I was actually able to get up, which I’m hoping is a good indication for my surfing skills (stay tuned).
When we saw that it was getting darker, we finally headed back into the tubes (some still drunk) for another float down the river. We weren’t in the tube for more than 5 minutes when we saw a tuktuk driver on the side of the road waiving his rope around trying to catch us. I’m not sure if we could float down the river more or if that was the end point but we all got out anyways. All but Sam and Andrew who floated a little way down before getting to the side and walking back upstream.
We came back to the hostel, hungry and wet. Some didn’t even walk back into the hostel, they just picked up their shoes and headed to the restaurant across the street. We haddn’t eatten since breakfast, and we were out all day drinking in the sun, so we were STARVING. I got something other than noddle soup (YAY), this chicken dish called kafao (I think).
After everyone showered and put on clean-ish clothes, we got ready again to go out. I also switched beds with Andrew, so I could b in the room with Liv, Ida, Charlie and Hannah. I was really tired from the whole day and didn’t think I had the energy to go out. I opted to stay in and finish my blog, which would take me freaking forever. Everyone came back so drunk and I was still finishing up my blog. These drunkasses were so hilarious, it was fun being sober and watching the shenanigans go down. Let’s just say, it was a very interesting night.
Sept 26, 2017
I woke up just before 10 again to get breakfast. This time it was scrambled eggs, pretty standard. Most people were hungover and about half of them didn’t make it up for breakfast. It was a very slow morning, everyone was hungover, we didn’t know what we wanted to do, then we settled on the blue lagoon. For lunch, Ida, Josh, Liv, Nicole and I went to get lunch (basically me plus the people that didn’t get up for breakfast). We ate at this restaurant called Bamboo Tree, which had a nice selection of Lao food and Western food. Liv and I were craving some Western food, so we shared some chicken nuggets, fries and pizza.
After lolly gagging for a few hours, we finally set off to the 3rd lagoon, by this time it was 2pm. The lady who works at the front desk said that it would take about an hour to get there. The tuktuk driver picked us up and we were off. This probably was my favorite tuktuk ride because we got to go through actual Laos. We saw the villages, the beautiful landscape. Kids were so cute, waving to us from the back of bikes and treetops. Only a 1/4 of the ride was on an actual paved road. The rest was dirt road riddled with potholes and cracks in the ground. Some of the boys wanted to be adventurous and stood on the back. The tuktuk driver saw this and said that they can sit all the way at the top (so freaking fun, where else can you seriously do this??)
The ride there lasted about 45 mins, but it was seriously one of my favorite things I’ve done so far (just a random tuk tuk ride, but I enjoyed the hell outta it). The 3rd blue lagoon (I guess there’s 3 and we picked the farthest one) is basically a spring/lake thing where they’ve built a man made pool to gather the water in one concentrated area. There was a cool rope swing and zip line type apparatus that landed into the pool. There were fun tubes and a bamboo raft. It was super relaxing, and I had a lot of fun doing the zip line and rope swing. We relaxed in the pool for little over an hour before everyone started to get cold (the water was a bit chilly). Everyone wanted to check out the cave that was nearby so we started our trek there. It wasn’t that far from the pool, maybe like 10 minutes at most, but the climb up was very steep and dodgy. When we finally got to the mouth of the cave, it was too dark to really see anything and there were bamboo ladders that led down. We were all in bathing suits and flip flops (and I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes since my spray washed off in the pool). So we didn’t actually end up going inside but it was a nice adventure. When we got back to the pool, I counted 7 bug bites in that amount of time we were sitting by the cave. I knew I was getting eaten alive (they damn near had breakfast/lunch/dinner on my body) because I saw them swarming around everywhere.
We rode again in the tuk tuk, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and met up with Josh and Liv back at the hostel (Josh was too hungover and Liv had an injury from tubing). We told the group about the amazing selection of Western food at the restaurant we went to for lunch, so that’s where we headed next. I wanted to eat Lao food (because I had Western food that day already) and opted for this Laos traditional pepper steak, which was pretty good (but not as good as Mom’s back at home). Once we were finished it was free shots time at the Sakura bar. I got a few shots there with Hannah, Josh, Charlie, and Liv before meeting everyone back at the hostel. I also bought a bottle of soju and drinking yogurt for my drink that night. (Side note: there are TONS of S. Koreans here, and they’re probably equal or more of them than Westerners.) We all played a fun drinking game before heading out for the night. It was very bittersweet since this is probably the last time we were all going to be together (Sam & Mike are flying out to Hanoi on Friday and Kevin needs to find a motorbike to ride down to Cambodia, so they were checking out the next day to go down to Vientiane).
We then went to Viva Pub to get free whisky shots from 10-11. I can confidently say I finally got drunk (man, I didn’t realize how much alcohol I needed to get drunk, but since I had 3 shots before, then a whole bottle of soju, and more free shots I was able to feel it). I had some balloons filled with laughing gas that let you hallucinate for a brief moment (like a minute) and somehow made it back to my bed all safe and sound. It was really funny actually, all of us seemed to come home at the same time or within the same time frame so we had a drunken powwow in our hostel room. Ugh, I love these people!
Sept 27, 2017
I can confidently say today, that I didn’t do jack shit. It wasn’t that I was hungover, it was more because I was just so exhausted from all the activities we’ve been doing (and maybe the drinking). Plus, Sam, Mike and Kevin were leaving, so we wanted to give them a proper goodbye.
Breakfast was meh, I was forcing myself to eat it because I woke up in time, damnit!! Lol. But really, after breakfast we all just hung around, literally exhausted. Around 2ish, Liv, Ida and I went to go look for food. Christopher, that really old dude who lived in Vang Vieng for a year who we met on the slow boat said that Gary’s Irish Bar served the best Western food, so we decided to check it out. We saw that there was (1) a veggie burger on the menu (Ida’s vegan and she’s been craving a proper veggie burger for a while), (2) Irish stew (I’ve been talking about how much I love it for such a long time now and I was so happy to see it on the menu), and (3) “chips” and cheese and gravy (Liv wanted Lao food but just couldn’t pass up the tempting melty goodness of fries with cheese and gravy). So we stuffed our bellies–they had the biggest portions we’ve had so far and with really filling food.
Once we came back, I decided to check out Moon Bar with Hannah, Charlie, Nicole, and Josh. We smoked a bit then went back to the hostel. Everyone was exhausted so we went into our rooms and tried to sleep. However, here they turn off the AC in between 9am-6pm to conserve electricity, I presume. So we all tried to nap but couldn’t because it was just so damn hot in our room (and I’m not exaggerating how hot/how dead we all were). Sleeping would have been nice but I guess it was ok. It started to thunderstorm and the power went out. Since the fan wasn’t going and we were all melting from sitting in a sauna for a room, we were forced to sit out in the lobby until the power came back on.
After sitting around even more, we finally decided to go to dinner. Mike, Sam, and Kevin had already left and Liv wanted to stay in. So the remaining 7 of us went to find a nice Lao food dinner. I settle on some curry, even though I was still a little full from that freaking Irish Stew. When dinner was over, some of us wanted to take a walk. We’ve only really been on two streets the whole time we’ve been here, so we wanted to see the rest of the town. We definitely should have done this the first day because there were so many places that we could have checked out, but just didn’t. Oh well, lesson learned.
I’ve just been sitting in my bed since we’ve come back from dinner, now that the AC is on in our room. It was a very unproductive day, yet I feel like that’s totally fine. I don’t want to burn myself out, relaxing and doing nothing is sometimes better than trying to do everything at once. It definitely made me appreciate my time here a little more, and it helps me reflect/gather my thoughts. Plus, I got to blog without it feeling rushed/forced! YAY! Tomorrow we’re getting a 9:30am bus to the capital of Laos, Vientiane, where we’ll stay for only one night before departing to Vietnam. We would’ve been screwed if we went out for free drinks tonight.
Laos grew on me. I didn’t really like Luang Prabang as much just because it was an expensive city. But Vang Vieng was such a good idea. And, I’m loving all of the people I’m traveling with, we have a really good group. I’m sad we can’t all travel together for the remainder of our trip, but alas, these things happen. Thanks for staying updated if you’ve read this far, this shit takes a lot of effort so you’ve already made my day by reading until here. That’s it for now, stay tuned for the next episode of MELISSA’S SOUTHEAST ASIA ADVENTURE!