Days 240, 241… Vang Vieng
Day 240… Today we take a beautiful local bus ride through roadside villages to Vang Vieng (approx 4 hrs) which is situated on the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng offers some gorgeous scenery, local markets and riverside walks. There is plenty to do in and around Vang Vieng. The area is renowned for its many caves, many of which are easily accessible from the town, perhaps the most famous is the cave of Tham Chang, a beautiful cavern fed by a natural spring making it a perfect spot for a refreshing swim… and on the way find local vendors selling delicate moonshine with some of the biggest millipedes i have EVER seen embalmed within. Then its back for token night markets action and dinner before retiring.
Day 241… Its adventure time as 5 of us hire bicycles to explore further afield. We cycle out to Blue Lagoon and an extra set of caves (most of the group tuk tukked out). On the way we see some truly stunning landscape, before we pull in hot… sweaty… and numb bummed to the swimming hole/death trap. The caves are a good climb up, then the water is amazing, just ludicrously slippery to get in… or not deep enough to jump off the giant tree into… but refreshing nonetheless. On the way back we stumble on some little kids going home from school and give one thirsty young man a drink before we continue. At one point i screech to a halt and check out the biggest preying mantis I’ve ever seen. He moves towards me quite purposefully and climbs onto my hand… then up my arm… and finally onto my hat. I believe I may have found my spirit animal! However as i ride… George the Mantis flys off to do greater things.
After that we grab lunch and then jump into a kayak for a 10 km paddle (well this is my exercise for the year done) along the river to watch the sunset. At one point we stop for a tour of an Organic Mulberry Farm and eat deep fried mulberry leaves with honey, and a nice mulberry shake. Later there is a pub involved and I jump a zipline into the river for a dunk.