We arrived in Vang Vieng from Vientiane around 6pm and walked to our hostel which has free bottles of whiskey from 7-10pm. Yes, you read that right! No limit on the number of bottles you can consume…and yes, the whiskey was shit but at the end of the day the results are the same – it fucks you up. Before going into the stories of Vang Vieng, let me introduce you to the great people I met here:
Meet Simon and Simon – two guys who saved me one question from the way I introduce myself to other travellers. Simon originally came up to me and said “I have the same shirt!” And as he continues walking by I notice that beautiful shiny pinky ring. I call Simon back over and replied “I left my iron ring back at home!” For readers unfamiliar with the iron ring – it’s a ring given to engineering graduates from a Canadian university. It is a sign of ethical obligation to your work as an engineer, or something like that!After some chit chat he introduced me to his travel mate, Simon. Both are civil engineer graduates from Sherbrooke, Quebec. Simon (non beard) was a defensive back for the Sherbrooke university football team.
Bearded Simon has one helluva story that I need to share as well:
“I was in koh Tao and went to withdraw money from 7-11 to get enough to get my way back to Bangkok. I withdraw the money and when I turn around there was 3 Thai guys on two scooters. One of them had a knife. So he asks for my money and I give it to him. Now he’s asking for everything! I just gave him 1000 Thai baht. Then he asks for my wallet. And I showed him there’s nothing here! Just my debit card. But he still wanted it so I gave it to him. So afterwards I knew I don’t have any money to get my way back to Bangkok. I walked back to my guesthouse and told the manager what happened and was nice enough to not charge me for the night. So afterwards I hid my backpack in the woods while I went out literally begging for money. It got to the point where all the travellers on the island knew my situation. I was begging travellers at first but now it got to the point where I’m asking locals who run the street foods. One guy who ran a pancake stand offered me to work his stand while he fucked off for an hour and I could keep the money. And I never do pancakes so I was soooo bad! After I left the pancake stand I went to sleep on the beach but I couldn’t sleep cuz people were walking by me and I didn’t want to get robbed again. The next morning I was $15 bucks USD short of catching the boat to the mainland. I met these two girls buying sunscreen and explained my situation. They were kind enough to buy me one boiled egg, my first meal in two days. As well, I gave the girls all my money I had and in return they covered the rest of my boat ticket to the mainland. On the boat I met a German guy, who I met on the way to koh Tao and gave my book to. So when I ran into him again I had to ask ‘can I have some money for that book I gave you?’ He agreed and paid me 60 baht. We arrive to the mainland and we were the only two ppl on the boat who didn’t have a ticket to Bangkok. So I started begging again…and these people began to realize that I’m not just a drunk trying to find money for booze but rather someone who really just wants to go home. So I met these 4 couples from holland and Sweden. They understood my situation and bought my bus ticket to Bangkok. I arrived in Bangkok 3am I tried to beg for money to go to the airport. But everybody I met thought I was just a drunk begging for money so I ran into a lot of bad people, who started pushing me and being aggressive. So I said to myself I’ll just walk all the way to downtown where there’s a train. But I ran into these policemen who advised me not to do that as it’s very dangerous to go alone down this street. So as these taxi drivers were driving by trying to get my business I had to explain to them that I had no money! Eventually one guy picked me up and drove me downtown to where the train is. I offered him all I had left remaining – 60 baht – and he wanted more money. I flipped my pockets inside out and even offered clothing from my backpack. He turned around and said ‘MR LUCKY MR LUCKY’ and I said to him ‘I know! I’m lucky for you’ and he replied ‘no no! I’m mister lucky!’ And he gave me like 10 business cards and said ‘you give to friend!’ So he dropped me off in front of a 7-11 by the train station. He used my 60 baht to go into the 7-11 and came out with a pack of cigarettes and a burger for me. So he used my money and some of his to buy me food and cigarettes! And also he gave me 90 baht to pay for the train to go to the airport! The train station doesn’t open til 6am so the entire time I waited I was handing out the business cards of Mr Lucky cuz I feel like I owe him so much. I fucking made it back..And I was so hungry that I stood on top of tables in the food court scanning people who weren’t finishing their plates. It took about 3 plates of other people’s food before security escorted me OUT of the airport. But I told them ‘look look! I have a ticket! I’m going to Canada.’ I lost 35lbs this trip. When I got back to Canada my father was in such shock that he took me to mcdonalds and ordered me 2 Big Macs and 2 large fries…”
The Simons are travelling until mid April as bearded Simon has a wedding to prepare for, scheduled to wed in July!
Meet 22 year old Manuel from Barcelona, Spain! He came to Laos not long ago and seems to love it so much he recently got a job at a nearby restaurant. A great kid who can be seen mimicking the moves of Messi and Neymar whenever there’s a ball around.
Meet Tyler and Britt! I don’t know how I remembered Tyler’s name but I saw him walking the street and just yelled out Tyler, and he turned around! I met him for about 45 minutes back in Dalat at the 100 rooftop bar. A great guy from Vancouver, BC who has been living in Calgary the last couple years. I can not recall if he suffered the same fate as me but when I asked what his plans are after travelling he said “I’m getting the fuck out of Alberta and going back home to BC”. I don’t blame ya, mate!
Britt is a student from Holland currently travelling SE Asia!
Meet the Vang Vieng legend Rob Nash, a 25 year old law student from Dublin, Ireland. Full of charisma and one of the most entertaining geezers I’ve met on this trip. He honestly could be a comedian. “I was standing in the queue one day and this girl in front of me turns around and says ‘GINGER!!’ And I don’t know why she said it but you know I don’t care. I laugh with the people in the queue. A few minutes later, she turns around and says it again! I’m a calm guy and I don’t get mad so again I just smile back and giggle a bit. Then this bitch says it again and she has this scar on her cheek, so when she said it the third time I calmly said ‘whoa! Calm down scarface’ and everybody just lost it and laughed, it was GAS”
We were sitting in a restaurant one day and Rob goes “lads, I am in a predicament right now. Now I don’t have a massive cock, but I don’t have a small cock. I have a beautiful sized cock. Do you know where I can find western sized condoms in Asia? Because the condoms here are too damn small and I can’t continue ejaculating in girls”. Rob, you’re a legend mate. I love you and take care of yourself! More on Rob below about our day at the blue lagoon.
Meet Navin, a 36 year old from Sydney, Australia. Since getting laid off in 2014 after working for 8+ years, Nav decided to go travel. His travels lead him to end up living in Chiang Mai in Thailand since July. “I have not worked a day in over a year. When I went to visit my family in Perth over Christmas, I helped out in the garden. That was the first time in a year that I did any actual work you know what I mean?”. Navin is a sound geezer and as you’ll see in my later posts, Nav and I got close as we left Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang at the same time.
During my time in Vang Vieng, I went tubing twice, and on my final day I went to the Blue Lagoon. The evenings consisted mainly of drinking the free whiskey, playing pool, chit chatting in the hostel before leaving to this bar called Sakura.
Vang Vieng is probably most famous for its tubing. Apparently back in the day tubing was less regulated by the government, with plenty of bars along the river open for people to stop in for a party before tubing down to another bar. But there have been numerous deaths in recent past which caused the government to step in and say only two bars allowed open a day. I don’t blame them as its so easy to get messed up, pass out, and miss the exit completely. Aside from those risks, tubing was an absolute blast. The first bar we stopped at we played beer pong, this game called “slip-n-flip” – modified version of flip cup where you start by doing a slip and slide to the table , flip your cup, then flag your teammate to slip and slide and flip, etc. We also played beach volleyball. In between all these were various drinking games and random free shots. Me and the gang ended up staying at this bar much longer than intended and it would eventually come to bite us in the ass.
The second bar was less rowdy but still fun. There was a basketball hoop so people were playing ball, beer pong was played as well, and just general dancing. By the time we left this bar it was around 5pm. And when we rented the tubes there’s a deposit of 60,000 kip, which you get back if you return by 6pm. If you return between 6-8 you get 40k back. And after 8pm you lose your deposit. I had no idea how long it took to get back to the exit so as we were tubing back down the guys who done this before were saying there’s no way we’re making it back by 6. Also, tubing back down this late wasn’t fun as it got extremely chilly in the waters. It got to the point where we reached an area where a sign said “2km to exit” and everybody started trying to get to the shore. The currents were extremely slow so 2km more would’ve taken forever basically everybody got off here, walked up the side, and found a tuk tuk to drive us back. At this point it was getting very dark so it’s also quite silly and risky to go all the way down the tube, in my opinion.
The day after tubing was just a chill day. There’s restaurants all along the main street and I didn’t know this but many of them sell opium infused shakes, tea, pancakes, etc. The same goes with weed and shrooms. The gang and I spent most of the day just chilling at the restaurant “basking in the ambience” 😉 …
The next day we went back to the tubes because well, why not! We had a late start to this one as we spent the better part of morning watching the UFC fight. The 9am beers coupled with tubing drinks messed me up right good and I passed out for a stretch of the river while on the tube! Great times. This time around we just took a tuk tuk from the second bar straight back to town rather than risk getting fucked around in the dark tubing back.
On our last day we went to the blue lagoon – a spot where you swim and jump off swings and a tree. From the tree you can jump from about ~5 meters high or ~2m high. Rob, the Irishman, is afraid of heights. And we spent THREE hours trying to convince him to just jump off the 2m section of the tree. We managed to get Rob to go up the steps to the tree but that’s about as far as he got. Rob literally stood there for 15 mins – I have no idea what’s going through his mind – before finally stepping down unable to jump off. I got to give him props though, the amount of peer pressure we applied on him was ridiculous!