This is a recollection of my solo backpacking trip to Laos in July 2014.
Day 4: Vang Vieng Village Walk
I woke up and had a baguette for breakfast.
Crispy chicken baguette. Not bad, but bacon was better.
Maddy and I decided to take a walking tour of Vang Vieng, wandering and pausing wherever we fancied.
Lots of puppies in VV.
I think he likes her.
Interesting that they would have an Israeli restaurant.
The only bank in VV. We went in to see if I could change Malaysian ringgit for Laotian kips, but nope. You can change money in VV but bear in mind there are only one or two dodgy looking moneychangers and their rates aren't the best. Vientiane (the capital) has much better rates and loads of banks and licensed moneychangers to get the most bang for your kips.
Really just a hole in the ground with lots of rubbish.
Wandered into another cafe, apparently has 5-star rating on Tripadvisor
Friendly owner spoke decent enough english to have a conversation with. He told us about the glory days of tubing in VV where drugs were rampant and deaths were commonplace.
Partyers would get wasted on alcohol or high on drugs, then slip off their tubes and drown in the river. The police got a lot stricter on tubing due to the alarming number of deaths, shutting down most of the bars (apparently there used to be some 20 riverside bars ; the number has now dropped to about 4-5 establishments).
I think it's pretty stupid for anyone at all to blame the abundance of drugs and alcohol provided by local bars for the number of deaths on the river. If anything, it's on yourself to be responsible, educated, self-aware and watch out for your own best interests (which means not overdosing and drowning lol).
Anyway on with our village walk.
Street food. 2000kp - 5000kp (Rm1~ - Rm2.50~) per skewer.
More street food.
Laotions are really fond of adding chopped mint leaves in everything!
Maddy and I.
Good gracious I looked so different back then.
Day 5: Vang Vieng to Vientiane
Departure to Vientiane was today.
Hung round outside the tubing center, which was where my bus would depart from to Vientiane.
4.5 hour ride to Vientiane.
Roaming the city trying to find my couchsurfing host's house.
Back then when I was young and poor (actually still am), I gathered all my pennies to make my travel goals a reality. In order to stretch my budget and do this as cheaply as I could, I came across this site called 'Couchsurfing.com' which is essentially a culture and hospitality exchange site which allows you to find accommodation for free.
I used it in Sumatera, Indonesia, where my host (another poor student who was renting a room in a student house) gave me her bed while she slept on a mat on the floor.
This time round my host in Vientiane was a French girl who was working for the French embassy and lived in a mansion with a massive garden, 5 bedrooms, balcony, kitchen, dining hall, and movie room.
She showed me around and told me to
" Pick a room, any room "
And that was how I spent my first night in Vientiane.
To be continued in Pt. 4.