This photo was taken while having dinner at a little guest house along the river in Vang Vieng, Laos in June 2014. The sun began setting as I enjoyed a Beerlao (THE BEST), and the warm colors gently reflected in the water as a lone kayak cut through the growing shadows.
Vang Vieng was one of those places that I’d always heard about and had ZERO desire to visit. I heard story after story of drug and drink fueled disasters. Why travel halfway around the world to get SO off your face drunk that you don’t even know where you are (why not stay at home and save thousands of dollars)? The town sounded like a verifiable cesspit of disrespectable party people basically spitting in the face of Laotian culture and dignity. I’m all for a good time but can’t understand why anyone would visit a place if they have zero consideration for the local culture or interest in learning.
So why did I go?
I stumbled across some amazing photos of black cliffs contrasting against a fiery sunset, reflecting into a calm river. Instantly, I thought – “I want to go there!”
When I investigated the photos’ origins, I was shocked to find out it was the same Vang Vieng of the horror stories.
Being that it was quite conveniently located to Bangkok for a 3 day trip, and flight tickets were on sale (as was everything else – YAY low season!) I decided to give it a chance.
I loved it. Because I went during low season, there was almost no one else around. I had one of the most peaceful, scenic, relaxing trips of my entire time in Asia.
And I learned that while travel advice is important, you can’t write off a place entirely because a few (or cough cough multitude) of unwantable experiences.
I highly recommend the Inthira Hotel Vang Vieng as being an excellent price and OUTSTANDING value. True budget luxury.