Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng has had a lot of bad press. An old farming village and now a place in the middle of Lao that backpackers have decided to taking over and make into a partying town. During the high season backpackers out number the locals 3 to 1, more on busy days. Drugs were plentiful and drink cheap. Tubing down the river became popular and loads of unlicenced bars opened up on the river enticing the tubers to stop for a drink or whatever brain basher took their fancy. Then in 2011 a record 27 people died from either drowning or diving onto the rocks below, despite signs saying no diving. The total may be higher as many are taken to Vientiane which has the only decent hospital in northern Lao. Drink, drugs, and peoples own stupidity are the main reasons for these death. So the Hobo had to go.

Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng

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Luang Prabang

South from where the Nam Ou river meets the mighty Mekong river is Luang Prabang. I had hoped to travel all the way there from Nong Khiaw by boat, but a dam had been built effectively stopping all slowboats from making the trip, but hey that’s progress right. So I had to catch the bus which did the normal Asian trick of dropping you off just far enough from the main part of town you need a tuk tuk to get the rest of the way there. Its a scam between the bus drivers and the tuk tuk drivers but there is nothing you can do about it, just find some other travelers to share the cost with.

Luang Prabang

Monks actually live here as you can tell by the orange robes.

Luang Prabang is a jumble of different style buildings with very European buildings from when the French had control of Lao, standing side by side with traditional wooden style Asian buildings. Evidence of Continue reading

Rolling down the Nam Ou River

It was time to leave Sapa in northern Vietnam. My passport was running out and as much as I loved the place it was time to move on. I would be back.

Sapa

The Beautiful Sapa

Lao was next on my list and I had a plan for taking a river route through Lao on the river Nam Ou. The bus dropped me off in a town called Muang Khua. No bus station, no bus stop nothing to even let you know a bus even stopped here. I was the only tourist who got off the bus. I knew I could catch a boat from here to Muang Ngoi but I could not even see where the river was. Across the dirt road a man came over. I asked about the boat to Muang Gnoi on the Nam Ou river. Its out of season I was told. Only one boat 9.30 in the morning. Bugger it. Continue reading