River Tubing & Chasing Waterfalls
After what seemed like no time at all in Cambodia, we were all packed up and headed on to our next destination, Laos.
We woke up early and headed to Cafe Central (Siem Riep) for breakfast and it ended up being some of the best breakfast I’ve had so far. I would highly recommend this cafe for future visitors. I had an amazing pumpkin feta quiche and tropical fruit yogurt granola parfait. Such a good start to a very long travel day.
We boarded our first hour long plane into Laos and then after a quick layover and customs process, we jumped on another extremely tiny plane to head to the capital city, Vientiane. By the time we actually arrived at the Mixay Paradise guesthouse everyone was beyond exhausted and ready for a restful night. We headed down the road to Joma Cafe which is now one of my other favorite western food spots since I’ve been in Southeast Asia. Once again, I ordered way too much food (taco salad, hummus veggie wrap and a pineapple banana fruit shake) all for a grand total of $7 or 56,000 kip.
The next morning we woke up nice and early in order to make it back to Joma Cafe one last time for a breakfast burrito and cappuccino freeze. After breakfast we hit the road in our mini-bus for a 6-hour drive to Vang Vieng where we would stay for the next four days. Luckily I had a new book I purchased from the Land Mine Museum in Cambodia to help the time pass.
After arriving in the beautiful small town of Vang Vieng, we threw our stuff into our 4 person room bungalow overlooking the river and mountains of Laos, and headed out to explore the town. Like all of the SE Asian countries we have been to so far, the roads are filled with small food stands serving up fried street food and clothing shops everywhere.
We ended up renting bikes for $1 each. They gave us free hand drawn maps of the city and some of the nearby attractions so we started out exploring the roads and then heading over a random rickety bridge over the river into the “unknown”.
Our 3 hour adventure consisted of riding on muddy, extremely rocky terrain, past big groups of wild cows, fish tailing down steep red clay muddy hills, and followed signs to “Bee Cave/Swimming Pools” until we ended up in a random tiny village in the middle of the mountains.
That night we had a family dinner at Oh La La! where I got my weekly Pad Thai fix. We ended our night at Fat Monkeys where we participated in “Shotgun O’Clock”.
TIP: Can’t forget to mention the “Sandwich Ladies” that are set up on literally every single corner in Vang Vieng. Each of their stands has identical huge signs listing off the variety of sandwiches they will make for you at any time during the day. The favorite was definitely the Chicken, Bacon, Vegetable, Garlic and Cheese sandwich.
Day two was spent tubing down the famous Nam Song River. This river used to have 20+ bars set up on it where tourists were known to come and get overly intoxicated, swing of tree limbs, and as a result many tourists died each year. The locals finally got fed up with the absolute recklessness that the tourists were bringing into their hometown and the reputation that was coming along with it.
Now there are 5 bars and after floating down the river, I can only imagine how dangerous it got when all the bars were once open.
Day 3 & 4:
This city sits right along the Mehkong river and is rich in culture. There are Buddhist temples all over the city. Early in the morning, you can watch the daily Alms Ceremony take place where the monks receive Alms from the local community.
Blue Lagoon: a hidden gem in the middle of ‘nowhere’. See photos included in this post as words don’t do this spot justice. You can climb the trees or fly off the rope swing into the turquoise watering hole.
Chasing Waterfalls: They say ‘ don’t go chasing waterfalls’ but in Laos, I have to disagree.
- Kuang Si – Luang Prabang: likely the most famous waterfall in Laos, for a reason. This tall overflowing waterfall of light turquoise waters, leads into smaller cascading pools at its’ base. If you are feeling brave, climb the trail to the left of the large falls to the summit. At this point (if it is still allowed), you can jump into the natural ‘infinity pool’. If you aredaring, look over the ledge as you sit above the trees, and watch the crashing waters below.
* Photo Credit to one of my fellow trip members Frank Neufeld! Amazing shots capturing our time in SE Asia (Check him out @ https://www.neufelddesigns.com/)