While I’ve heard horror stories about the trail conditions between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, I just couldn’t justify buying plane ticket. A $15 bus ticket beats a $100 plane ticket in my book. Beyond this, travelling by land meant being able to add another city in my travels. I had heard of the loveliness of Vang Vieng from many locals and travelers alike. I figured, why not! The money saved on a plane ticket means a little extra room for adventure. At 6 in the morning, we met at the bus station and set off!
It was an uncomfortable 3 hours from Vientiane to Vang Vieng. The bus we rode was technically a minivan meant for 9, which we somehow managed to cram 15 people in. It was stuffy and uncomfortable, but the road was fine and there was air conditioning (thank god). Bathroom breaks are a plenty on the road, but sometimes you have to consider whether or not it’s worth battling the praying mantis guarding the toilet. In my case, it was. Hey, when you gotta go you gotta go.
I was aware that Vang Vieng was known for being a backpackers party town, but this was not the experience that I was searching for on my trip. I wanted to see the land, and in the short hours we had in the town, I was able to grow a deep appreciation for the beauty of Vang Vieng.
We stayed in Vang Vieng for a total of 24 hours. As much as I enjoyed the town, family and new year festivities were on my agenda, so off we went!
As much as I hate sitting still for hours at a time, the road from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang was one of the highlights of my trip. The views were breath-taking (and there was much more room to get comfortable in our mini van). The scenery was lush and green, and the road wound beautifully between the trees and hills. Somewhere between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang, I lost my breath at the sight of the rolling green hills on our bathroom break. I wish I could remember the name of this rest stop, I highly recommend stopping by for a quick go.
To anyone traveling between cities in Laos, I highly recommend taking the road. There’s just so much more you can see on when traveling on the ground than by air.