It was another fairly rubbish border crossing for the Boys in Green. After queuing up for an hour to get out of Vietnam and paying some farcical fees, we walked for about 2 km to the Laos border still nursing our cut feet from the beach football in Ha Long Bay. Once at immigration we got our visa and paid $40 for the Mickey Mouse visa and “International” stamp. As we had changed the exact amount of money for the visa, Allied Irish Bank was out of funds and thus we were forced to take part in the Trocaire 24 hour challenge fast. And to be honest it’s not as hard as everyone makes out!
We finally rolled into the capital Vientiane at around 5pm, completing the 24 hours fast perfectly and legged it straight to the nearest Italian restaurant. Absolute delish! Fully stuffed we headed to the hostel, checked in and made some travel plans for the coming days. Talk about productivity. We even checked out some job websites! Vientiane is a pretty quiet town which suited us to the ground as some serious rehab was on the cards.
We checked out at 8am the following day and headed down the road to get the bus to Vang Vieng. We had heard in the hostel that they were charging €10 to get there so we thought we were being smart arses by finding a lad down the road who only charged €6. Our lad gave us our tickets and even played a few tunes on Dave before we saw the bus down the road. We strolled onto the bus to see everyone from the hostel on it and proudly asked, “How much did they rip you off for lads?”…”Eh €5”...”Oh right”. We said no more. So we were on the road on our “VIP” bus to Vang Vieng. They literally just plaster it all over every bus. Not sure if they know what the symbols actually mean!
We rolled into the sleepy town of Vang Vieng at around 4pm in the afternoon and walked in scorching heat to our hostel just off the main street. The directions said 300m, but felt more like the Dublin Mini Marathon. We arrived drenched with sweat, checked in and grabbed some food. Once settled we hopped on a tuk tuk with some English friends and went to the famous waterfall in the town. The journey took about 30 mins along some serious rocky road. We then trekked for 20 minutes to arrive at a very disappointing waterfall. It was like leaving your hose on over the garden wall. So we just messed around a bit in the water and then headed back to the ranch to chill. We decided to go out for a few beers and dinner, and then out to watch Liverpool –v- Chelsea game at the local Irish bar run by 3 Kerry lads (yes there is one even here!). There was not a whole lot going on after so we went back to the ranch to get some rest for tubing the following day.
A particular highlight of the day was Kev and my version of “Swear it Again” by Westlife which went down a treat on the river. After 4 bars and some serious craic, we collected our tubes and grabbed a tuk tuk back to the city, dropped them back and headed back to the ranch for some food. We then went back out into the town for a few drinks, but nothing too wild after such a long day!
Although we only spent the guts of a week in Laos we had some good craic with fellow travellers and were impressed by what the place had to offer. Tourism is still growing here but no doubt in a few years it will be packed with backpackers and the river will be full of tubes in no time. It’s back to Thailand for us for a few days!
See ya on the flip side,