November 1st, 2017
My Epic Half-Day Journey in Vang Vieng, Laos!
Vang Vieng is a small province in Laos and once famed for its majestic karst hill landscapes, the famous insane water tubing where you can chill and buy beers along the popular Nam Song River and that crazy 24-hour party sessions. But that was almost a decade ago. The partying tradition in Vang Vieng went down when consecutive accidents and illegal drug raids conducted by the Lao Government happened. Now, its name is starting to get back and rise up again in the international travel community. So, let me share to you guys my epic journey experience in Vang Vieng!
VANG VIENG, Laos was included in our Indochina backpacking trip as our second country to visit. Our entry point was in Bangkok, Thailand. Using the train from Bangkok Railway Station or also known as "Hua Lamphong" Station, we took the 18:35H departure schedule to Nong Khai Station, so that we'll be in Thailand-Laos Border around 5 in the next morning. From the border, we got our exit stamps and waited for the 07:30H train schedule to Thanaleng Station. After arriving at the said station, we filled-out the immigration form and paid 50 THB for the Laos entry stamp (They required us to pay the said fee regardless of our passport. We hold a Philippines Passport, so ideally, we don't need to pay anything for visa purposes since we are free to enter any ASEAN countries). After getting our passport stamped, we walked out from the border and made a deal with mini van/bus drivers to bring us to the bus or van station at Central Vientiane where we can get a ride to Vang Vieng. It costed us 100 THB per person.
We arrived at Central Vientiane and paid 60,000 kip for our van ride to Vang Vieng. It took us 4 to 5 hours land travel to reach Vang Vieng and finally, the amazing karst hill landscapes welcomed us. One of the best landscape I've ever witnessed in my existence! We checked-in at our hostel, hang out a bit, roamed the area and booked for a half-day tour on the next day of our stay on the said area.
As early as 5:30am, we were fetched by our tuktuk driver at our hostel and brought us at the Top View Point. Also known as “Phangern Hill View Point”, you can hike the trail for not more than 1 hour if you’re a pro. Not us, since we were unprepared for this hike, it took us an hour and a half and mind you, the almost 700 meters way up to the mountain was worthy to take for the view at the peak was something priceless!
After the hike, we headed to our 2nd destination, the Blue Lagoon 1. Vang Vieng offers at least 3 lagoons but we opted this one because we have no choice since t'was included in our half-day tour. When I saw the lagoon, No regrets! I took off my clothes, rented a life vest, geared up my action camera, and dived in to the lagoon! T'was refreshing since we just finished our unexpected hike at the Phangern Silver Cliff. After we dived and enjoyed the lagoon, the said tourist spot started to get crowded since it's late in the morning so me and my friends decided to go to our last destination, the Kaeng Yui Waterfalls.
From the Blue Lagoon, it took us almost 30 minutes to arrived at the base point of Kaeng Yui Waterfalls. Again, we needed to walk 15-20 minutes to reach the waterfalls. When we reached the waterfalls, I was in greatly awe. The strong current from the waterfalls intimidated me and my friends to go near because the area was quiet since it was just our group present at the area by that time, making the place creepy and made me bit worried and paranoid. After countless of prayers while crossing the river to get near to the waterfalls, I got relieved and enjoyed the cold refreshing water. As it pours down and washed my body, I felt so relaxed; it's like massaging and healing my inner and outer core. We stayed there for just 15 - 20 minutes and headed back to our hostel to get our ride going back to Bangkok, Thailand (Yes, there's a way and ride going back to Thailand from Vang Vieng but not a direct land transfer).
P.S. There's an Elephant Riding Tour offer at the Kaeng Yui Waterfalls Entry Point. Please, don't ride this wonderful mammal. Let's stop this kind of animal business/cruelty and let the Elephants live freely alone in the wild!
Hope you get something from my Vang Vieng Experience! I will come back to this serene place someday. And hopefully, I'm with my special someone! Lol!
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