I was fortunate to meet a lovely girl my age while staying at Pans Place in Vang Vieng. Together we explored the countryside just outside of Vang Vieng with two early morning adventures. We had a wonderful time setting off on foot and bike to explore the landscapes just beyond the riverside - from the Blue Lagoon, to sunrise hikes, and local breakfast foods.
Just outside of backpack- crazy Vang Vieng lies the quiet countryside where local villagers live and few venture. I spent the day with four other travelers walking, cave tubing, and kayaking around the outskirts of town. We also visited two local villages where large families live together at the base of the mountains. We had a wonderful time getting to see the other side of Vang Vieng and spending the day outside in Laos.
Tubing is a big 'thing to do' while visiting Vang Vieng - especially among the young backpack travelers passing through for several days. I was torn at first - a slightly older solo female backpacker tubing down the famous party river - but I am glad I made the decision to spend the better part of my day grabbing a tube and hitting the water.
Once I made the decision to tube I headed to the tubing operator in town where they quickly signed me in, took a deposit, and shuttled me onto an open air truck with 10 other tubers. We headed down the main road and pulled into the drop off point (about 5 kms) outside of town where we jumped into our tubes and began floating.
Less than 5 minutes passed and we were being called over to the first bar - ropes thrown in and promises of free drinks and fun times. What the heck - I grabbed the rope + a beer and laid out in the sun to experience my first bar on the river. I quickly made a few friends and we were off to float along and continue the fun for the day!
Vang Vieng is a backpackers paradise - hostels on every corner, $1 sweet or savory crepes, and stunning views all around! I had a ball and ended up extending my stay by two full days before heading further North to Luang Prabang.
I spent my time hiking to the nearby mountains for sunrise, biking to the Blue Lagoon, trying local food by the riverside, and tubing down the river (a right of passage for any young traveller to Vang Vieng!) Each evening I plopped down on a floating pontoon for a Beer Lao and reflected on my awesome day in Laos.