There is so much to do in Vang Vieng. It’s an outdoorsman dream. There were two things I knew I wanted to do before we even arrived: climbing and caving in Vang Vieng. Tubing was number three on the list.
The night we arrived in Vang Vieng We signed up for a half-day rock climbing excursion, and since both of us have climbed plenty in our past, we were able to start climbing immediately. Our climbs ranged in difficulty from 5A to 6A+ and both of us were hurting by 1pm.
The next day we rented a motorbike so we could explore some of the caves Brian had researched before we got out there. There are plenty of touristy caves to check out, but we wanted to get a little more authentic… and a little bit dark and dirtier. We found what we were looking for! At one point we were wading through thigh-deep water in pitch black when it occurred to me that I had no idea what was floating along with us. Many good “buried treasure” movies have started that way, but I think many more “skeleton in a chest” movies have similar scenery, so we came out okay not making any discoveries.
Our first stop on the motorbikes was the ultra touristy Jang (or Chang) cave. We ran into a sweet older Chinese couple we had met on the slowboat to Luang Prabang while we were there. One of the fun things about staying on the “Gringo trail” is running into familiar faces from country to country. Though we are all keeping our own pace, you find many people are making similar stops along the way.
After Jang, we decided man-lit caves were not for us- it was time for flashlights and head lamps. We took the motorbike about 14 km north of Vang Vieng, and didn’t see a single tourist until we returned.
If you do nothing else in Vang Vieng, you should head north and motor bike down the little village “roads” or trails really. We ran into the cutest kids, nicest families and most amazing views. The books warn about bringing any kind of valuables, and though it’s almost torture for me to go somewhere like this without my camera- we decided that the shockproof/waterproof cameras were the best option for the day. We don’t have a ton of pictures from the day since we spent most of it in complete darkness. I also wish I had more pictures to share of the people we encountered on our ride out there- but I guess some encounters are just are best as memories.
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.
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