Our stop in Vientiane was short lived – around 14 hours. Our hotel, the Douchang Plaza in the French Quarter was fantastic, and the receptionist even managed to arrange a bus to Vang Vieng for the next morning there and then for 100,000 kip each.
There was a small steakhouse directly across the road – the food was great and the fresh drinks even better. We both ate dinner for £5 all in – amazing.
The bus to Vang Vieng picked us up at 10am on the dot as planned, and the journey took in total 4 hours with a 30 minute stop halfway. We paid a little bit (about £1.50) to take a private minivan opposed to a local bus, which stops much more frequently thus taking longer.
Once we arrived in Vang Vieng, we quickly stumbled upon an Irish bar. The atmosphere is so different in Laos, much more relaxed, and I find the people much more pleasant. The tourist to local ratio in Vang Vieng is bizarre; but it was really nice to be around masses of people you could talk to about your travels with.
We stayed at the Villa Vang Vieng Riverside, a relatively new complex which is a little more expensive than most of our hotels, but was totally worth it. The atmosphere was so relaxed, there was a pool overlooking the river and mountains and a restaurant serving more than reasonably priced food. The staff were so pleasant and helpful, if I was to ever go back to Vang Vieng I’d definitely stay again.
Yesterday was my birthday, so we relaxed all day then went back to the Irish pub last night and then across the road to a club. This morning felt like the beginning of the end.
The hotel arranged a bus to Luang Prabang for us with around 2 hours notice which was fantastic of them. The drive took far longer tha anticipated – around 5 and a half hours with very few, short stops. The bus was air conditioned and had leather seats so it was really comfortable.
We didn’t actually get much done in either location – but the plans are grand for Luang Prabang.