top of page
  • Writer's pictureDonna Kitchen

Vang Vieng Adventures

So far this day had been quite an adventure with a temple visit in Vientiane in the morning, a potentially disastrous ride to the train station, a possible concussion, an exciting passage on my very first fast train and finally negotiating our way to our accommodation in Vang Vieng.


What we needed more than anything was a swim in the hotel pool and a cold beer which we eagerly sought out. Before I go any further, I must comment on our accommodation. This is something so far that I have not done in depth but in this instance, it is worth the time. Yes, we had stayed in some fabulous places so far with welcoming hospitality but nothing surpasses the greeting we received when arriving at the Confetti Garden Hotel.


The massive shower at the Confetti Garden Hotel


The manager, Derek was so lovely and warm making us feel like we were in his own home not a four or five story hotel. Later in our stay we also met the owner, Peter, who will be mentioned further into our tales of Vang Vieng, was just as lovely. It felt like the hotel had been gutted and modernised not that long ago so everything was fresh. We have intentions of returning to Vang Vieng and would definitely stay here again.


Very generous room size and super comfortable beds


After the coolish beer and refreshing swim, we headed to the rooftop bar. As we were both looking for an alternative to beer, a icy cold gin and tonic hit the spot. We pinched ourselves, as we often did to feel if what we're doing was in fact real. As we watch the sun set over the karst mountains, the hot air balloons would float by, alternating with paramotors gliding silently in the new dusk light, we started chatting to some other travellers who we would end up sharing an experience with in a couple of days time.


Postcard perfect sunset over the karst mountains of Vang Vieng


This lovely couple was Sam and Natasha from England/Ireland. Before long we were joined by two fellas from Australia, Mark and Craig who were riding through Laos on motorbikes. I must mention that we only heard the Australian accent a few times on our travels which indicated to us that we were on the right travel route.


Roof top bar at the Confetti Garden Hotel with the best view


We ended up heading out late for dinner and didn't find much open, or maybe we weren't looking in the right place but we did find dinner, less than average but cheap totalling to AUD9.80 for two meals and two beers. It was a big day as mentioned earlier so it was time for bed after that.


Another outrageously expensive dinner (not)


Awaking early, I was eager to see what the morning light looked like. It was warm already but had been raining and pretty overcast and the streets were very sleepy.


0620 balcony view Confetti Garden Hotel


Motorbikes were ordered and waiting for us after breakfast and it was time for adventure once again. The first adventure was finding petrol which for some reason was a bit tricky to find and this is always a concern when you get a new bike and the petrol light is on as you have no idea how far you'll get. We had learned from our previous motorbike hires that when the motorbikes are returned by the previous people, there would always be petrol left. This petrol would then be siphoned off, only leaving the bare minimum for the next person.


There are a number of blue lagoons in the Vang Vieng area and our plan today was to find one of these. Specifically, Blue Lagoon 3. With our best friend Google Maps loaded we headed off for what we think will be an easyish ride half hour to forty minute ride. As we weaved our way along the not so bad bitumen road with the majestic karst mountains either side of us we began to see what rural life in this region was.


This sign gave us hope that we were on the correct road.


Again due to the dry season, along the way there were dry, cracked fields desperately waiting for the first rains. They did have a small taste of it overnight but only enough to keep the dust down. As we followed google maps, the road was in preparation for new bitumen to be laid. Even though we hadn't been travelling very fast, keeping to 30-40kph, we were reduced to half that for the rest of the way which was probably about 15kms.


With lots of loose road gravel and potholes, it is very easy for the rear tyre to slide out which made the journey very slow. It also takes away from our ability to take in our surroundings as eyes were constantly watching the road ahead of us. This is also quite exhausting with this level of concentration.


Finally, we see a rough road sign that told us to turn left for Blue Lagoon 3. Another five minutes or so of driving through a small village and empty rice paddies, we ride into the 'car park'. There's always someone ready to make a couple of thousand kip out of you for the privilege of parking your bike.

The Lagoon 3 carpark


We were in awe! At the base of the limestone karst mountains was this oasis, a blue lagoon. The mountain cliffs turned into jungle at the base which then fell into the beautiful turquoise water of the lagoon. It was paradise. I would probably call the water colour more greenish blue than blue but who cares, it was fresh, it was cool, it was relaxing. I am told that during the rainy season the water does turn to a muddy brown colour.


Banks of Blue Lagoon 3


We were there earlier enough to claim a picnic shelter on the banks of the lagoon, quickly grabbed ourselves a tube and totally immersed ourselves into this paradise. Lying back in our inner tubes we lazily paddled around, investigating the little nooks and crannies of the lagoon. We were also entertained by others utilising the flying fox and zipline. I was quite hilarious watching the other younger travellers showing off their acrobatic prowess or lack of it as they attempted tumbles and flips. As it was quite an international crowd we started commentating on and scoring the attempts very much in the style of Roy & HG (Australians will understand this reference). It was country against country, unfortunately the Korean's weren't quite up to standard for this event and had many failed attempts. Everyone there ended up cheering and awing at each attempt made. A very cool memory made here today.



Dragging ourselves from the lagoon we went in discovery of a cave that was within walkable distance. Yet again our goat climbing skills came into action as we crossed a rickety bridge and climbed the rocky path.


Rickety bridge on the way to cave


Turning a corner, we saw two young kids, entrepreneurs actually, as they offered to guide us into the cave with head lamps. As we looked at the entrance to the cave which was a handmade wooden ladder dropping down into a very small entrance into the cave. Yep, that's a definite, we needed guides. I don't believe there was any English spoken, the negotiation was all done by sign language and charades.

Climbing up the rocky path to the cave




I sent Kev first and I followed. I was feeling quite uncomfortable the lower we got as we had to climb down the ladder backwards but also a very weird angle between a narrow rock gap. Nope, this was not going to be happening for me. Heart was racing and I had visions of becoming stuck and not being able to get out. My worst nightmare being trapped in enclosed spaces and not being able to breath and this was how I was beginning to feel. I called it! I'm out I said and almost immediately, Kev in front me responded the same. We couldn't get out of there quick enough. Rapid heartbeats slowed as we ascended and said goodbye to our young entrepeneurial friends. We were very happy to return to the lagoon for another swim and a nice cold Beer Lao.


Lagoon fish nibbling on my feet while they wait for a feed.


Floating around in the fresh was a purely magical experience and one I didn't want to leave but having spent many hours here at Blue Lagoon 3, we decided to make our slow return to Vang Vieng.


Magic!


We were probably about half through our 3 month trip now and so far we had only local food for our main meals which we were quite proud of. When talking to other travellers they would often remark on how good the hamburger was at a certain place or a pizza at another etc but we had stayed to true to goal. Tonight when deciding where to eat we both almost at the same time said that we felt like a hamburger. We tried to fight it but on hearing how good the hamburgers were at Gary's Irish Bar, we relented. Yes, the hamburger was good but we both felt a little heavy in the stomach afterwards though as we had eaten to much clean food for so long. Oh well, it's done now.


A very intense game of pool at Gary's Irish Bar


We had a few funny games of pool on the very well used pool table and a few more beers and we thrilled when our new hotel friends Natasha and Sam walked in. The conversation got deeper, the music got louder and free shots of Tequilla were handed out by Gary, the owner of the bar. In fact a few rounds of Tequilla were drunk and we were having a merry old time.



Somehow we made it back to our hotel and into a gentle slumber ready to start a new day tomorrow.


xoxo Donna & Kev

9 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Guest
Sep 07, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great reading, you've done it again Donna

Like
bottom of page