Posted by: James Shannon | July 25, 2011

For Your Perusal: A Vang Vieng Post That Does NOT Contain Tubing Content! Intrigued? Read On!

After arriving in Vang Vieng, normally my first impulse would have been to jump into the area’s premier (and notorious) attraction, river tubing.  However, wanting to slow down a bit after traveling a ton the previous week (only stopped in Luang Prabang for day and a half … CRIMINAL!), I decided to wander around this small Laotian town and see what (mis)adventures I could get myself into … this is what transpired that day…

This fearsome looking guy drew me into the local Buddhist temple, along with some festival music emanating from the grounds…

In connection with an approaching Buddhist festival, the resident monks and volunteers prepare a mini-float for a procession/parade, it appears…

A young monk (about 16 years old) was doing some service down here in Vang Vieng.  Originally from Luang Prabang, he engaged me in conversation for ten minutes, about what life was like in Canada, tried to get me to describe the winters (a nearly impossible task for someone who has never left the tropics), etc… Regret losing his name and e-mail, lost opportunity!

The Nam Song River, far from any drunken tubers (nothing against them, as I was one of those people the following day), just south of town … so peaceful and meditative … note the people in the river, refreshing themselves during yet another hot season afternoon.

After crossing a steel-framed bridge, I was in a less-developed section of Vang Vieng district … this is where I hoped to find myself when I came to Asia!

After following some signs speaking of a cave, it lead me through a dirt track, to this farmer’s field, backed by the omnipresent limestone karsts…

This way to the cave!

Looking back across the seemingly endless farm country, close to where the trail for the caves ended … I kept to the trail, as Laos is the most-heavily mined country on Earth! :O

A simple crossing of a bamboo bridge, and our spelunking adventure begins!

A headlamp’s view of what it was like inside the cave…

… and what it looks like with the assistance of the flash on my camera!

Following my local guide deeper into the cave…

The tightest part of the cave … I whacked my head good on this limestone ceiling a few times … that rock is NOT forgiving … at ALL! 😛

My guide points out a large, poisonous spider, conveniently, just out of view of my camera lens.

All that crawling around on my hands and knees through a dusty cave had me famished — time for a banana pancake (a indian-style roti, filled with sliced bananas, and then topped with icing sugar and your choice of toppings (I elected for chocolate syrup).  Not just exclusive to Vang Vieng, this treat can be found all over SE Asia (particularly in Thailand).

Next photo essay contains the stuff you’ve come to expect from Vang Vieng: tubing and TV bars … stay tuned!

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