Vang Vieng has a less-than- sparkling history that had me worried. Backpackers would come here to inter-tube down the Nam Song River, stop by a bar along the river, get really drunk, get back on their inter-tube and continue on. The 3km journey plus copious bars to stop soon became a deadly mix. Tourists would be hospitalized because of alcohol-related injuries, or even worse, death because one felt invincible jumping off a rock and not noticing the shallow waters below.
But let’s focus on the positive. The girls and I came here and decided that we were going to do nothing. And nothing we did. We had planned on staying in Vang Vieng for a day or two. We stayed for four days.
At one point, we decided we needed to inter-tube. We went very early in the morning and we had the river all to ourselves.
My first inter-tube was too big for me, and therefore, I couldn’t get my arms over the tube to push. The girls kept having to wait for me. But then we switched tubes, and I would have to hold onto something to wait for them to come.
When I got away from the bars, I was able to enjoy the beautiful karst hills that line the Nam Song River.
The girls convinced me to join them on a hot air balloon ride. Considering it was $70, it was very difficult to pass up.
We got to the landing site and got on board. I was prepared to be frozen being high up, but if you had to stand underneath a propane tank firing, it’s nothing but hot.
The ride lasted maybe 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the wind was not in our favor and had to stay low.
My favorite part of the trip was the landing. As we started out descent, the kids down below could see us and we could see them. Kids ran out and followed the balloon to an open field. And they all knew what to do as the balloon collapsed.
Vang Vieng was a great place to do nothing. Lots of cafes by the river helps with the laziness. The pastries also helped. And Lao massages too.