I ສະບາຍດີ....ວັງວຽງ : Sabaidee Vang Vieng

"Where should we go for summer?" This question pops up from Facebook group chat where we on a regular basis among guy friends. Well, when we want to go out for summer, a lot of choices sprung up like the sea, the islands but finally, our choice is......."Vang Vieng".

Back in the 2010, it was our first trip to "Vang Vieng", a city that was recognized as "Guilin of Laos". We all agreed that that trip was very impressive that we wanted to to back again. And this also made us want to revisit this town. This trip, we haven't planned much as we have already been there and there's also a lot of reviews about this place regularly. So this trip is more like going out for a relax time, haha. And like usual, we want to save cost while traveling as well.

Like usual, we have 3 members for this trip. After agreeing, we prepare to start the journey. We all agreed that we wanted to save cost like usual and we limit our budget to not go over 3,000 THB each. Luckily, the Thai Lion Air launched their promotional flight to Udon Thani. For the flight to Udon Thani from Bangkok, it costs only 395 THB each. We travel during the holidays, from Saturday to Monday which will be a 3 days 2 nights trip.

A Tentative Plan is as follow:
1st Day- Flying to Udon Thani and take the international bus to Vang Vieng
2nd Day- Roaming around Vang Vieng
3rd Day - Returning back to Bangkok
(Here, we will have a full day and 2 nights in Vang Vieng.)

This is a brief review...It's like we are going back to "Vang Vieng" again. We might not be able to cover every place as we have been there already. This trip is more like going to the places we have yet been to. Just a chill and relax trip and we also will visit a Sukura Bar, a legendary bar. I hope this review can provide some information for those who also plan to visit this place.

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So.. to not waste any more time...... Let's backpacking and start the journey along with us...!!!!

"Vang Vieng" is located at the north of the country. It is a bypass city towards Luang Prabang. The atmosphere and geography of Vang Vieng is very beautiful. It is a very popular destination for the tourists. There's a water flowing with long mountains as a back drop. It is such an ideal place to come and relax. What I really love about this place is the nature and the fact that we can really get close to it as well as enjoy several fun activities.

Let's talk about our transportation arrangement.....We start by gathering all the members at Don Mueang Airport. This time, we are flying with Thai Lion Air with a promotional flight of 395 THB each.

The transportation from Bangkok to Vang Vieng has below approximate expenses:

From Bangkok to Vang Vieng = Flight ticket 395 THB + Limousine to downtown Udon Thani 70 THB + Bus from Udon Thani to Vang Vieng 320 THB = 785 THB

From Vang Vieng to Bangkok = Bus from Vang Vieng to Udon Thani 400 THB + Taxi to airport 70 THB + Flight ticket 395 THB = 865 THB

Summary: For the transportation, we each spend about 1,650 THB.

For those who want to travel to Vang Vieng from Bangkok to Udon Thai, I want to recommend you to buy a promotional flight. Now, the flight is much cheaper and with many promotional prices available. It is very convenient and not so tired. It is also time saving for those who don't have much time. Especially, the Thai Lion Air regularly launch their promotional flight with only hundreds THB and it's even cheaper than the coach, haha. It is much comfortable. After booking, we also didn't wait long. Just about a month later and we are flying already. I recommend you to choose the earliest flight so that you can also make it to the international bus from Udon Thani-Vang Vieng which is only available one time each day at 8.30 a.m.

Getting ready to Udon Thani Province

24 hours prior to flying, we can check it online and choose the seats free of charge at Thai Lion Air..... We choose the furthest back seats. It might be a bit narrow but quite empty, haha.

It takes about an hour to reach "Udon Thani". It is very convenient and money-friendly....^^

" Udon Thani International Airport"

After that, we take the Limousine to the bus station. In average, it is 70 THB each. Soon, we arrive at Udon Thani Bus Station and the counter of international bus ticket is open now. There's only one bus each day from Udon Thani-Vang Vieng which will depart here at 08.30 a.m. It is quite convenient, just by getting on one bus, we can go to Vang Vieng. The fare is 320 THB each and we will need a passport to buy the ticket....We now still have about half an hour before the bus departs, let's buy some food and snack as it will take quite a while....before we reach our destination.

We will stay on this bus until about 16.00 p.m. In fact, like we know....."Vang Vieng" is not that far but it will take a while when going through the immigration. Still, it's worthwhile as we don't have to transfer again. From now, we can have a good rest for this long ride...^^

At about 15.30 p.m., we now arrive at Vang Vieng Bus Station which is a bit out of town... but...there's a minibus or Skylab taking us to downtown for free.....Now we are at the heart of the town. We still stay at "Huean Pak Grand View" like usual. We've been here 3 times and every time we stay here, haha. Probably because, this place stays at the heart of the city. In front of the place has lots of Roti, Khao Ji or Sandwich.....so we are safe from food hunger, haha. Behind the hotel is the water and the view from the room is beautiful as well. We each pay 700 THB per night. It is a three people room which is quite comfy. There's air conditioning, hot water and WiFi.. everything is there....more importantly, it's very clean.

There's a lot of hotels along the riverfront for you to choose. If you haven't decided of where to stay yet, you can walk around and ask to see the room so you can be sure you get the room you wanted....And also, there's a lot of restaurants near this riverfront. The view from every restaurant is beautiful and has a great atmosphere.

We have traveled almost the entire day, soon.....the sun is set again, haha, so quickly. In the evening....all the shops and restaurants come alive again... Coming to Vang Vieng, we must try Roti and Khao Ji Lao (Sandwich). There's several stuffing available. It comes in big quantity and gets us really full. It is about 10000-20000 LAK (40-80 THB depends on the stuffing you choose). I quite like it. It is delicious...and easy to eat ^^

"Map of Vang Vieng"

For this trip, we will visit these places...Just a chill and relax trip, not so much adventurous.
1 = Huean Pak Grand View- where we stay for this trip
2 = Restaurants along the riverfront
3 = Roti + Khao Ji Lao shops
4 = SAKURA BAR - as in the legend
5 = Other Side Bar - hanging legs down bar along the riverfront

(This map is from thetripvangvieng.com)

The evening time like this is best for view appreciation and hanging our legs down into the river at the Other Side Bar.....After leaving the Huean Pak Grand View, we turn right and walk along a bit and soon we will see the wooden bridge. Just a short walk, very soon! we reach it here.....The bar provides wooden tables where we can hang our legs down into the river. We can order cool drinks from the bar while enjoying the view. Nonetheless, it's quite crowed during the holidays like this.

We walk across the wooden bridge and enjoy photography time. Soon, the sun is set. Sakura Bar is so famous for night light at Vang Vieng so we also want to try it out........... We are so ready to explore the night life at Vang Vieng..!!

After that, we take a shower and get ready to explore the night life at Vang Vieng at "Sakura Bar". It is so fun......(I will let you know in details at the end as we also enjoyed our second night there, haha.)

-Let's Jump to the 2nd Morning-

After waking up, we go out to enjoy the morning breeze near the riverfront. We walk across the wooden bridge to the Other Side Bar again.

It's such a great atmosphere. The weather is so fresh in the morning like this and it's also not crowed like yesterday (probably, people are still sleeping during this morning hours, haha....)

The tourists hire the entire boat to cruise along the river and enjoy the atmosphere.

Before crossing the bridge, I stop to buy a bottle of black "Beer Lao" to try first...haha. Well, we are here to chill and relax near the river, right? During the morning hours like this, the atmosphere looks quite peaceful.

Just simply chill and relax near the river, we can get so close to the nature.

Hanging our legs down into the cool river and simply letting the cool water run through our legs is just unexplained amazing feeling. Together with this "Beer Lao"..... OMG...I'm just so happy, haha..^^

In the morning, I enjoy the coffee and Roti + Beer Lao. Then....around 11 a.m. we are out for something to eat...we choose to go to a restaurant near the riverfront (no. 2 in the map). There's several restaurants near this riverfront. Everyone of them has a great view and fantastic atmosphere....We just choose one that has the seat near the riverfront available.

If we could get the seat near the riverfront, we could also get a better view and enjoy more of this atmosphere.

Every restaurant has similar set up of small tables and sitting on the floor with cushion and pillow to lay back...very comfy indeed...

Before anything else...we order "Beer Lao" ...The hot weather, with cool beer while watching the view is just so good ^^

At the restaurant, "Beer Lao" is 15000 LAK but at the convenient store, it is 10000 LAK......let's just think that...we buy a view also, haha.

Every visit to Laos, "Beer Lao" is a must not miss thing......

It's time for food..... Let me tell you first that as we know that food here at "Laos" is quite expensive....So... this meal is the most expensive and full course one....according to our budget..... well, we also want to try something new, some food is quite delicious too...

So....our first menu is .. "Somtum Lao" (Lao Papaya Salad) - This is an authentic Lao dish as we eat in Laos....

Here is "Yang Mu" or "Mu Yang" (Grilled Pork) with a sweetened chicken sauce (not the pork sauce, haha).

"Lab Mu" (Pork Salad) - This is the highlight dish of this trip. Well, it's so delicious with a fresh chili and it's so spicy. When eating with beer, it's just perfect....Just love this dish, hehe...^^

"Kai Tod" (Fried Chicken) - Let's also try this....This is quite ordinary and comes in a small quantity.... -_-"

Lastly. "Kung Tod Kratiem" (Deep-Fried Shrimp with Garlic) - Shrimp are deep fried with the entire garlic in an equal amount, haha. The taste is delicious and we can eat the entire shrimp too....Delicious!

Last one... a must not miss drink is...."Beer Lao" which offers in Original, Black, and Gold flavor. We try a small bottle of Gold....Just a bottle as it's quite expensive...and comes in small quantity. Well, we like something in more quantity, haha.

Please give a big applause for the presenter of "Beer Lao", haha.

I've got a chance to know a Lao friend from Luang Prabang trip 2-3 years ago. Then we added friend on Facebook and have kept in touch ever since. He saw me update status and post the photos saying I'm at Vang Vieng from Facebook. He wanted to meet with us so he drove from Luang Prabang to see us and he arrived here afternoon.

We were also thinking what to do and thinking to float with a tire ( but we didn't really want to go that much as we have done it twice already, haha). Our Lao friend wanted to go Phukham Cave or Blue Lagoon. So we also take this chance going with him as we also have never been there yet. About half an hour from downtown Vang Vieng, we arrive at "Blue Lagoon".

To get to "Blue Lagoon", there's several ways....you may rent a bicycle, hire a Skylab or buy a one day trip that also takes you to tour downtown Vang Vieng. It all depends on your preference. For a one day trip, it could cost something like 4-500 THB (depends on the tour). But if you are a bit adventurous, you can also cycling here....it's quite interesting....but the road is quite rough and so dusty....

"Highlight" - of this place that make everyone wants to visit is.....a crystal clear blue water that is so temping for us to jump.....Especially in the afternoon and hot weather like this, who can miss this fun....!!

To visit "Blue Lagoon" I recommend that... if possible, you should come here either morning or late afternoon as there'll be less tourists so you can have more fun jumping into the water. Many tours come here at noon so there'll be a lot of people.... Anyhow, the water is so clear and I just want to jump in....

"Blue Lagoon" - is not a big pool. There's a lot of activities around. You can either jump into the water by taking the rope or from a high branch of trees. Both are excited ways of jumping in.....Or if you are more adventurous, you can also cling onto the sling from the high tree and jump as well....

All the tourists are enjoying jumping into the water in their own ways....

Do you also want to try?.....It really is an ideal way to " cool down" !

Lao tourists.....Lao people....also travel here a lot....

This swing....is occupied by the tourists at all time..... so popular.....

The weather is just perfect for us to jump into the water....

After hanging on the rope.... now let's try to jump from the base which has 2 levels. If you are a new comer, you can try the lower base first (just this one already get me so nervous, haha). If you are dare enough, you can also try the high level one...Let's...jump....into the...water....So fresh and cool.. If a lot of tourists are here, you might also have to get in queue, haha.

With this pose, many people.....are shocked!!!!!

There's a lot of people to cheer you up.... No worry, haha, just jump.....

This one....is a low level jump....easy easy...

This guy.. is also waiting to jump (quite a long time now, haha).

Oh....so who suppose to go first now..... Let's go by the queue, ok....?!

The water is clear....and cool....

"Blue Lagoon" also offers places for relax and food. There's shops and restaurants to serve the tourists......

"Beer Lao" - can never leave us now, haha.

This is indeed....another very fun activity at "Blue Lagoon". We can jump and cool down from the heat...very fun time indeed .....(We have so much fun that we forgot all about the time, haha).

Finally......When it's dark, it's time for night light again. Like I mentioned earlier......that we are going to have fun at Sakura Bar, the legendary bar. For this trip, we have fun at this legendary place both nights. Such a good time, so I would like to combine both nights atmosphere altogether here....^^

Sakura Bar is located not so far from the Huean Pak Grand View that we are staying. It's within walking distance (no.4 in the map).

What are the good things about this bar?...Why everyone in Vang Vieng wants to go here badly...? Well, that's because.....it offers Free Bar..... or we can get all drinks for free, haha...But....the rule is we can drink free only for one hour...!! It's only during Happy Hour....from either 19.00-20.00 p.m. or 20.00-21.00 p.m. depends on which hour they choose as Happy Hour....But most of the time, it is from 20.00-21.00 p.m......There's a lot of liquid glasses on the bar for everyone to pick or we can tell the bartender what kind of drink we want, either mix with Coke or Sprite...depends on personal preference....But what I enjoy the most is we can get drinks for free, the mixer can be anything, haha...^^

We come to wait since 20.00 p.m. in order to make sure that we won't miss even a minute..hehe.

Glasses are lined up ..... Get ready for a free drink now!!

We stop by to buy a "Beer Lao" and a colorful "TUBING" shirts....to suit with the atmosphere. It is 80 THB each and there's a lot of shops nearby for you to choose.

People start to....show up now..... At this hour, there's Beer Pong game and other relaxed games....

Every minute counts..... Please bottle up quickly.... (-*-)

This hour.....I was put under spell. I just want to stay close to the bar...and going nowhere...hehe!

It's such a fun and lively atmosphere... Many tourists show up at this place....

These two nights in Vang Vieng are so much fun, a great summer fun....We have a free drink for both nights, love it, haha. Even we go pass the Happy Hour, we can also enjoy the night by buying the beer or other drinks as usual. It's really a lively bar....In fact, there's also other bar that we can move onto but we are lazy.....Just staying here until we want to go home because if we go to so many bars we might get lost and can't go home, haha...Also...we got to meet so many friends, from many countries...

The next morning....at Vang Vieng After waking up headache from last night party, it's time to say farewell to Vang Vieng..... "Coffee and Roti in the morning" before traveling back to Thailand.

.. We have booked the bus ticket since yesterday....(200 THB) with the hotel and the bus will come pick us up from the hotel.....At first, we were thinking to take a bus straight to Udon Thani......But the bus is too early and we wanted to wake up a bit late (by all means, we don't want to wake up early, haha). So we are taking the bus to Vientiane and take another bus again to Udon Thani. All along the way from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, we all passed out and only wake up again when we reach Vientiane. Here, there's several buses going to Udon Thani...!!

P.S. Khao Ji Lao near the bus station tastes delicious and has several shops to choose. It's only 20 THB, cheap and big. Just one of it and we are full until Udon Thanni...^^

Finally...we arrive at "Udon Thani International Airport" and get ready to go back to Bangkok.

Expenses Summary:

From Bangkok to Vang Vieng = Flight ticket 395 THB + Limousine to Udon Thani 70 THB + Bus from Udon Thani to Vang Vieng 320 THB = 785 THB

From Vang Vieng to Bangkok = Bus from Vang Vieng to Udon Thani 400 THB + Taxi to airport 70 THB + Flight ticket 395 THB = 865 THB

In summary, the transportation cost is approximately 1,650 THB each.

Food ( the restaurant near the riverfront) = 300 THB each
(This is only one big meal together. Other than this, each have a la carte, or Khao Ji Lao or Pho).
The accommodation at Huean Pak Grand View 2 nights = 700x2 /3 = 470 THB each
Beverages(+beer) = We more focus on it during the Happy Hour and some more after this a bit, haha.

Well....then this is a short trip to... "Vang Vieng". A 3 days 2 nights trip during summer time is chill and relax. It is a fun trip like usual...(Even though this is our third times here already, haha). We got to jump into the water, cool and fresh. Also we got to meet new friends and built up new friendship along the way. If chances allow...I'll definitely go back to "Vang Vieng" again...for the 4th time visit...hehe ^^

I would like to end my trip of.... "Vang Vieng" here....Please accept my apology for any mistakes....See you again next trip...."Sabaidee"(-/\-)


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 Monday, June 20, 2016 1:51 PM