Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng

After a few days of yoga and great Laos food in Luang Prabang it was time for us to head south to Vang Vieng. At 7:30am our minibus picked us up from our guesthouse to drive us down the twisty mountainous road to Vang Vieng (travel sickness tablets definitely recommended!) The drive can take anywhere between 4-7 hours depending on traffic, road conditions, smoke, etc. but the countryside it winds through is absolutely beautiful – mountains misted with cloud and small Lao villages with children trailing along the side of the road going to school. There are also plenty of stops for bathroom breaks and to stretch your legs.
As a town there isn’t much in Vang Vieng, but it is surrounded by stunning limestone mountains with plenty of caves and lagoons to explore. It was once a Lao Mecca for for the Full Moon Party crowd, however in recent years there have been so many deaths of drunk or drugged up tourists doing stupid things near water. Consequently the government stepped in and shut down most of its clubs and now local guides are required to escort kayakers and tubing enthusiasts down the river, returning Vang Vieng back to sleepy(ish) town it was once before the party crowd moved in.
We spent most of our time wandering round the rice paddies in search of swimming holes. Chang cave near the bottom of the town has a small waterhole where you can actually swim right into the cave, and is fairly quiet. Our favourite was the blue lagoon – about 7km out of town, the water is crystal clear and refreshingly cold, it’s little wonder this place is popular with tourists and locals. Plenty of people were jumping off the tree or the rope swing into the water (it’s safe, the lagoon is 5m deep!) or just sunbathing on the mats provided, sucking fruit shakes from the snack stand. Perfect!

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