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Day 6: Kayaking and Trekking in Vang Vieng

The glittering crystal in the Uneven Cave and Snail Cave were mesmerizing

Today was an even tougher day than yesterday. Somehow, last night’s dinner didn’t agree with me, so I didn’t get much sleep last night and was feeling sore from yesterday’s rock-climbing and from being up all night in the bathroom. I wasn’t looking forward to trekking and kayaking all day.

The other person who’d signed up for the tour was an older, frail gentleman who had bandages on his knee and hand from a motorbike accident 2 weeks earlier. So the trip was at a nice slow pace - the unfortunate part was because as I still felt ill, it was difficult going at his pace when all I wanted was to run for the nearest toilet!

We visited 4 caves today: Elephant Cave, Tham Loup (Uneven Cave), Tham Noi (Snail Cave) & Water Cave. The glittering crystal in the Uneven Cave and Snail Cave were both mesmerizing and it was fun going into a completely dark cave. No ropes/fence or lights in the cave, just a head torch – so watch your step! The water cave was quite the experience. Place yourself on an inner tube and feel the icy cold water from this limestone cave (source is somewhere up in the mountains). Refreshing is one thing, and this water is something else.

All the guides had a good technique to prevent them from touching the icy cold water. Kneeling on the inner tube, but that requires a lot of balance!

When I had stopped squealing, I grabbed onto the guide rope like everyone else and pulled myself along and under the low hanging cave opening. With only a waterproof head torch, there is nothing else to light the way. Just sit back, look up and don’t let go of the rope unless your paddling skills are very good. With my bum in the water, there was a slightly disturbing moment when I felt something brush up against it. I hope it was just some underwater plants that were growing in the dark……

After that unique experience, it was onto kayaking down the Nam Song River. We followed the well-travelled route of the inner tubing bar circuit for 4km back to town. The limestone peaks never fail to create a magnificent backdrop set of beasutifully by the tranquil, deep green colour of the river. It was a beautiful trip down the river, punctuated by lots of partying on the river banks along the way. One had to watch out for revelers jumping off the 10 metre swings in abundance across the bars and banks. It was Interesting watching the life of Lao people, from children bathing themselves in the river to parents working hard by the river, cutting up food or wood for cooking.

Thanks to our excellent guide Ola, I learnt a lot about Lao culture today. Unfortunately, his father was one of the many that while looking for scrap metal from unexploded bombs (UXO), was killed. Ola was only 2 at the time. We passed two Lao weddings on the way, which were interesting to see. A great day with a great finish of a much appreciated steaming hot shower (the river water was cold!!).

Kayaking and Trekking in Vang Vieng, Laos

Kayaking and Trekking in Vang Vieng, Laos

Posted by Teamworkz 04:04 Archived in Laos Tagged and in trekking laos kayaking vang vieng Comments (0)

Day 4: Vang Vieng

Hot Air Ballooning over the Karst Limestone Peaks of Vang Vieng

The trip between Vientiane and Vang Vieng on the bus was a little long to be sitting shoulder to shoulder with 23 other foreigners. I think we were all a little surprised that all of us fit in there to begin with. I feel sorry for the 4 tall Scandinavians squished along the middle aisle with fold out chairs. 4 hours later, we arrived and I was quite happy to pop out and start booking my activities for the next two days.

Special mention to Aoy at Green Discovery Laos, he was a superb and very friendly agent. He wisely advised that mosquito repellent is a definite must in this town!

Within 1.5 hours of arrival, I had been shuttled off to a small patch of gravel by the Nam Song River about to board an inflating hot air balloon with 3 medium sized South Africans, 1 regular Australian, a very tall Australian and short Australian, like myself! As we bundled into the basket, not only was I dwarfed by the size of the balloon but also by my fellow passengers.

The take-off was light and sudden. We had only just got used to being in the basket with the crew surrounding us holding down the basket; and then they let go and we gently wafted away from them waving goodbye excitedly.

Apart from the semi -constant ‘booooooooosssh’ noise from the gas cylinders firing hot air into the balloon, the ride was very peaceful floating above the rest of the world.

There was a beautiful spiritual moment where the sun streaked through a gap in the karsk limestone peaks and you could see the rays shining on the valley below. Then there were amusing moments where we thought we were about to land early as we came close to the ground. Our pilot was undoubtedly very talented, had things under control between his hot air gas firing skills and a device that told him the wind velocity - among other things I’m sure!

The scenes that unfolded below us varied from waving at excited children playing in their backyard, while their parents worked the fields, to watching the revelries of people inner tubing and braving the 10meter swing. Although we were quite high, the children’s voices reached us as did the music from the bars.

Best of all was the landing. We were all looking at a small patch where we were supposedly landing. The crew was already there ready to receive us, but we were all in disbelief. Coming closer, the conductor simply tossed a rope over and the crew caught it and reined us in. We touched down softly with a little tumbling against each other on impact but all in good humour. None of could believe where and how we landed. It was truly incredible, as was the entire trip - gently drifting in the air watching the world go by below us.

Hot Air Ballooning over Vang Vieng

Hot Air Ballooning over Vang Vieng

Posted by Teamworkz 03:49 Archived in Laos Tagged air hot over ballooning vang vieng Comments (0)

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