Our Asia Trip Diary – Part Fourteen

Check out Part Thirteen here!

Monday, 19 december… It was almost Christmas and we were located in Vang Vieng, a small city in Laos. Thousands of kilometres away from home and enjoying the morning sun as we drank a cool fruit juice by the road. 

We had an exciting day planned. We were going ziplining and tubing! We stood outside the booking office, 9 am sharp. It takes about 45 min until our tuk-tuk driver arrives. He took us to the zipline location and off we go! They put us in a harness and we could immediately start the adventure. It was so much fun, zipping through this landscape is a unique experience. 

Afterwards, we go tubing. The tubing is located on the same site as the zipline. It is normally in a rubber tube on the river butttt… apparently, we booked the wrong tubing experience and we are doing it inside a cave. Sounds fun right? Nah it was rather disappointing as it was maybe five minutes of tubing in the cave, walk in the cave for a bit and then go back out the cave. We wouldn’t recommend it. In the afternoon we take it slow and enjoy the sun. 

Tuesday is a travel day. We took a minivan and had a 2-hour drive to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. We arrived early so we walked around the city. Later that day, we checked out the night market and the walking street. These were disappointing since the market was mainly vendors selling accessories and the walking street was just a square for one restaurant. 

On Wednesday, we checked out Patuxai, it’s the Arc de Triomphe of the city. That’s the only thing to do as the morning market was a big flop. We went back to our hotel for a nap and planned our coming days. In the evening we discovered an extremely fun street filled with local food stalls. If you are in Vientiane, we highly recommend coming here (Rue Hengboun) but besides that just skip out on the capital of Laos.

We actually had another night planned in Vientiane but since we didn’t really enjoy it there, we decided to continue our trip. We took the bus to Thakhek on Thursday. We booked a quote on quote “VIP Bus”, but it was just a fully packed local bus. Luckily we brought some snacks for the trip since we had to stop for an hour next to the road. We didn’t understand why we were waiting. But after some time a young guy on his scooter brought the bumper of the bus that fell off a few kilometres ago. In this next city, we’re starting the Thakhek Loop, formerly known as the Laos Loop. 

On Friday we rented a scooter via our hotel and began this four-day journey! The loop is 450 kilometres, and there are tons of caves and viewpoints that you can visit along the road. Our first day is filled with limestone mountains and caves. Since we’ve seen a lot of caves in Vang Vieng already, we skip almost all the caves on the first day. We only picked out one to visit which is Tham Nang Aen Cave. At this river cave, you can take a boat tour and watch the scenery from inside. It was wonderful! We’re the only ones in the cave. Not only the river inside was great but at the end, there was also a hanging bridge inside! Such a unique experience. 

We continued the loop by driving to the Orchid Path to Reservoir Viewpoint. This was a hike for about 30 minutes and gave a great view of the weird landscape of this area. Lots of white dead trees in the blue-green water. Plus we got escorted by two dogs the entire way! On the way back I somehow hit a log with my leg and got a pretty big scratch on it. Oops… Afterwards, we safely arrive at our hotel in Thalang where I could clean the wound. Hopefully, it heals soon.

On Saturday we woke up in a cute bungalow in Thalang. The morning felt freezing cold, but it got warmer every hour. The only stop we had was Dragon Cave. For this cave, we had to walk through a low-ceiling entrance and then end up in a huge cavern. There is also a small yet adventurous hike here which was really fun. Again, it’s just the two of us in the cave. Afterwards, we drove to our hotel near Kong Lor, the SpringRiver Resort.

For the holidays we spoil ourselves with some extras. As the name says, the resort is located next to a river. We already arrived in the early afternoon and use the free kayaks of the hotel to explore the river. In the evening we call with our families for Christmas eve and had some curry for dinner. It’s not Christmas-y but the prices are for us already holiday-worthy.

Today is Sunday, Christmas!!, and we visited the famous Kong Lor Cave this morning. The Resort offers a taxi boat towards the cave, which was extremely fun! Normally, we would do these things ourselves, but today we decide we can spend a bit more money! The boat goes against the current, in very shallow water (it is currently dry season). At the cave, we buy our tickets and we get a tour through the enormous cavern. It is 7,5 km long and on the other side is a tiny (touristic) village. At the village, we had a small bite between the weaving ladies.

Afterwards, we take the same boat and drive all the way back via the cave. The inside of the cave is large and fully dark. We stop twice inside the cave to wander the stalagmites and stalactites. These are so big, we’ve never seen anything like this! After driving in the dark for half an hour for the second time, we’re glad we were outside in the warmth again.

The rest of the day I relaxed and Kobie went on a kayaking adventure! I am still recovering from the injury so I skip out to write this blog at the peaceful lounge of The Resort.