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Vang Vieng Weekend

We’re definitely overdue for some Vang Vieng time. Following a couple of failed attempts we’re finally back in this amazingly beautiful and seductive place.

All geared up and ready for a day out in Vang Vieng!

The hot air balloons were out in full force. Despite being into the rainy season, we lucked out on the weather. It was dry and mostly sunny throughout the weekend.

Strangely, things seemed a bit busier here at the end of May than early December or mid-January when we were here last. December and January are widely considered peak season in these parts, while May-October are supposed to be low season due to the rains. I’m starting to think more and more that the old high season/ low season thing just doesn’t apply as widely as it used to. There are so many factors these days and the climate patterns are all over the place.

Walking down the main drag in Vang Vieng.

We’ve seen a number of hotel construction projects along the river over the past six months. This one’s the latest.

 

Progress! This road was being repaved from scratch earlier in the year, giving the town a rough ‘n’ tumble aura that felt more appropriate to Vang Vieng’s essential character than this fine span of concrete. We’ll see how long it lasts. These roads don’t seem to have a very long shelf life in Laos.

 

 

 

Back down at the bamboo bridge. Our favorite place to be at sunset — not so much for the sunset, though (there are far better locations to catch that) but for all the hubbub to watch.

We’re mere weeks into the rains and the seasonal bridge is looking mighty precarious. It’ll be interesting to see how much longer it holds out.

Phubarn Cafe, right on the Song River — where the action is.

Noe’s been a bit more somber and reserved lately. Little things like loud motor boats and Asian people don’t excite him like they used to. Guess it’s all just part of growing up.

A taste of some of the action on the river at sunset. No hot air balloons or power motors today, though. Just motorboats and sweaty falang.

 

 

 

They’ve been doing a ton of work to this narrow little island in the river. Where rustic bungalows lived just months ago, it appears a large, multistory hotel complex is going up. It also appears that the restaurant that was operating up on the berm was pushed out onto this new dock.

Quite a nice place for an evening drink…

Even if they mixed up our order…

I don’t always drink rosé-flavored Belgian beer, but when I do, I drink Hoegaarden. The daintier and more expensive, the better, of course.

 

Back at what is quite possibly our favorite bar in Vang Vieng (and maybe even Laos) — Jaidee’s.

Now, I fully appreciate that this place isn’t for everyone, and I’m sure there are a good many parents who wouldn’t dream of bringing a baby here. But we also know a good many of our fellow Americans who wouldn’t dream of bringing a baby to a place like Laos. Oh well. Can’t win them all. With that out of the way, let’s get together and feel alright.

Happy tip #38 for 11-month-olds: Napkins. They are amazing. Quiet, free and plentiful! Do they make a mess? Sure they do. But, what can the Mister do for 20 minutes that won’t make a mess? Is cleaning up napkin pieces preferable to cleaning up nasty bits of mango or listening to a cup banging against a table over and over again? Heck yeah.

If I haven’t convinced you yet of how awesome this place is, I’m sure the lock on the bathroom door will do just that. Or maybe the staff member “on break” actively toking on his own personal water pipe just outside the bathroom door? Or maybe the freakin’ palm trees growing through the roof mingling with the power lines above, or the fact that the place looks like it was decorated by an angry 4-year-old who just got into Aunt Biebo Suncloud’s acrylic paints and box of unusual looking fungi?

And if that weren’t enough, there are puppets on hand to entertain the wee ones. Just ask your friendly bartender for more details.

 

 

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Shirley L. Northcraft
Shirley L. Northcraft

Everything looks so colorful! Good job describing your impressions.