/// A Day in The Life of a Nomad: Vang Vieng
This is a continuous series of posts about random, nonspecific but typical days in the life of my nomadic lifestyle method. –view all days
2:10 PM After last night’s all day pool party in Luang Prabang, the 6 hour bus ride here was surprisingly serene. Vang Vieng is a compact village that’s oddly developed in the middle of a rural but mountainous paradise in Laos. A backpacker town that’s become more mellow in recent times, just the way I like it.
2:15 PM As I step off the bus I see Jenny and Juli waiting for me amongst a dozen other backpackers, wearying holding their gigantic backpacks. I met these 2 German ladies while crossing the Thailand / Laos border the other day and have already become better friends than our language barriers should allow.
2:28 PM We meet up with Robert, another traveler that arrived on an earlier bus. The 4 of us walk around town to find the perfect hostel. We settle on Damon Guesthouse, a 3 star-like hotel situated on a cliff right above the river with sick views. Just $4 a person.
2:54 PM After settling in, we decide to go river tubing while we have some sun left. On the way to rent our tubes, we hit up the street food stall and we unanimously get the spectacular Nutella pancakes. Then we each stock up on as much beer we can carry in our hands and hitch a ride to the river tubing starting point in a tuk-tuk van.
3:17 PM Vang Vieng became famous then notorious because of the insane river tubing parties that was so intense and wild that it averaged 1 death per month. That notoriety all but killed river tubing just a month before our arrival. Now it’s an extremely chilled out experience that’s quite zen. We get on our rubber tubes and start tubing down the calm river.
4:36 PM As I float down this deserted river with my friends all in complete silence, I can sense that we shared the feeling of having a lot of fun doing absolutely nothing. When we all make eye contact, I say “cheers” then we huddle our tubes together and salute our beers and drink. Life is good.
5:19 PM If you Google “Vang Vieng River Tubing“, the image results will show debaucherous activity all around the countless makeshift bars and floats littered throughout the river. We watched the passing scenery of ruins of these party spots, the rubble of the hastily demolished by order of the government. It’s almost historic. Sad but I prefer it this way.
6:02 PM As previously mentioned, this was the most fun I ever had doing nothing – this river tubing comprised of lounging on our gigantic rubber tubes strolling down a river with some cold beer and cooler friends. As if our hotel was part of our destiny, the tubing route ends right behind it. I can see my backpack on our hotel balcony as we stepped on land.
6:20 PM We go back to our rooms… Shower.
6:57 PM With a couple of more hours of daylight left, we rent motorbikes and take a joyride around Vang Vieng. Damn, this place is beautiful.
8:33 PM Back in town, we park our motorbikes in front of a Korean restaurant and order barbeque and rounds of the ever-tasty Beerlao. Nom nom nom…
9:59 PM We return our motorbikes a minute before due. The owner offers us a massage on the house, we take it… It was pretty bad, but it was free.
10:21 PM On the way to a bar, we see another pancake street stall. Juli and I can’t resist and get the Nutella again. Robert and Jenny opt for some sliced jackfruit. Nom nom nom…
10:38 PM Not sure where to go, we follow stragglers that all seem to be going towards the same direction. Nice, the party is just 30 meters from our hotel at the very colorful and vibrant Full Moon Bar.
12:12 AM It took a while but we somehow got our own table in this outdoor bar of 50 people that’s probably meant for 20. Of these 50 partiers, I see almost as many nationalities. As a vagabond, seeing such extreme diversity in social gatherings is nothing new but it never gets old. The rest of the world should get along with each other like us travelers.
2:25 AM Last call for alcohol… Cheers!
2:56 AM A couple of backpackers from Norway joins us for one last drink on the river. The 6 of us sit side by side on the dock ledge, shoes off with our feet dipped in the very same river we went tubing on.
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