21st April 2012

After an amazing couple of days in luang prabang visiting the kuang si Waterfalls and biking round the romantic city, I regretfully left on a minibus headed to vang vieng, reputedly the party town of south east Asia.

Many a backpacker and blogger have told me they absolutely loved the place where you could tube on the rover to your heart’s delight and get swept into the many bars that line the riverbank.

They even went so far to say that they much preferred vang vieng to luang prabang.

I feel like I’m going to be in the minority. With a quick message sent to me by John and Muriel who left the day before proclaiming vang vieng as a great place, I dubiously left that morning with the rest of the gang not knowing that it would prove to be one of the worst journeys I’ll have so far. The travel agent billed this journey to be 6 hours long but knowing Lao time to be very different and that you add a couple more hours on top.
Taken to the bus station and our bags tied under canopy on top of the minibus, off we went with 2 Germans and a Swiss in tow on the very widely bendy road of all time.

Sitting at the back with Leonie and Lauren, we discovered something was missing…leg room. Throughout the journey I had my legs up in the air, resting against the window and was almost tempted to put them on matt’s shoulders who were sitting in front of me. Don’t think he would have appreciated that!

Also, we we’re introduced to the driver. Probably the most unfriendliness of all Lao people. With a cruel mouth, he did not talk to us and mostly ignored us when we asked for the air con to be turned on but he would say that it uses up fuel. Bollocks. He did not like us whatsoever.

With all the bendy corners and not even more than 5 seconds of any straight road, we couldn’t read, sleep or even play cards. Only thing left to do was either listen to music or admire the scenery.

Trying to keep still as we hurled round hills and mountains, I started getting a slight case of altitude sickness and felt a headache creeping on. I wasn’t the only one and I was especially glad when we stopped off at a rest stop that was currently under construction.

Now here’s comes the moral of this post.

Even if you are only stopping for a drink and out of your bus for a minute. ALWAYS take your bag that contains your valuables and money.

All of us in my group certainly did as we heard we would have 30 mins rest and I really didn’t want to leave my valuables in the bus with an arse of a driver.

But it wasn’t until we got back into the bus that the Swiss bloke suddenly noticed his bag, which he left on the bus, had been rummaged through and 200 euros stolen. It could have been the driver or it could have been someone else who went on the bus within the 30 mins.

I was glad that I took my bag with me and I have always done so.

Later on on Vang Vieng, we bumped into the German guys again and they said their bags, also left on the bus, had been rummaged through and one of them had 50 US dollars stolen as well.

There is the lesson. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR BAG AT ALL.

With nothing to prove that it could have been the driver, we grew suspicious as he began to become agitated and seriously unhinged as he drove a lot faster than normal even on unsteady road.

It would have been better to have been on a big bus rather than a minivan and my headache slowly became worse, Lauren’s arms ached as she had been holding on the seat on front of her the entire time and Leonie was nearly about to freak out. Worse journey ever.

We were very glad to have made it to Vang Vieng. Alive. But some of us, without baggage.

No pics I’m afraid. Si you’ll have to make do without pics of my handsome face!