Back to Where We Came From

4 03 2009

Vang Vieng & Vientiane, Laos

It’s strange to go back to a city where you’ve already been. After traveling for almost a year, familiarity is a strange and exhilarating feeling. Being able to walk around town without a map is like being let off the leash. “Where do you want to go for dinner?” engenders no research, no planning. So while leaving Luang Prabang and going back for a few nights in Vang Vieng and Vientiane was nothing new in location. It did provide all new feelings. Unconsciously we started to see things that we never noticed before. When you go out into a new city a try to find things, you are always looking for something and because of that, you never look at anything. For instance, Laos is a very religious country. Buddhism is in everything they do. Because of this, saffron wrapped men are everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vang Vieng Eco Tourism

19 02 2009

Vang Vieng, Laos

Having rethought our original plan to visit random far-off cities in Laos, Gage and I decided to cut down on bus ride time and make smaller hops. From Vientiane the next closest destination is Vang Vieng. This is a city that we specifically wanted to avoid. Though said to have tons of natural beauty, it is also a major backpacker pitstop that seems to attract the worst type of travelers. Aside from landscape, Vang Vieng has two unique attractions, the riverside beer bars catering to people tubing the river and restaurants with platform beds setup in front of TV’s that play endless episodes of Friends. I have no idea how these sorts of things evolve, but they are now staples of Vang Vieng and attract the sort of people that want to get drunk while tubing down a river or veg out in front of a TV for hours on end. After unloading from the bus and crossing into town our fears were confirmed. Drunken, half-naked white kids in swimsuits were wandering around town and the colored lights of Friends restaurants glowed all the way down the street. We were scared. We thought we had made a mistake. But after checking into our hotel we decided to wander the town and give it a shot. When we got down to the riverside we saw this…. Read the rest of this entry »