Fly into Bangkok, Thailand. From there, fly over to Vientiane, which is the capital city of Laos. From Vientiane to Vang Vieng is a 3 hour bus ride. Or you can bus it from Bangkok for about $25 and it will take you anywhere from 15hrs to 40hrs just depending on how many buses break down and how long it takes to get a repair guy out to fix it.
Float the Vang Vieng. At one time this was a sleepy little town but has now turned into a thriving party village. With a 2 kilometer section of river that has been taken over by party bars and water attractions, this is the place to be! Brain cells BEWARE! For around $2.50 you can buy a “bucket” that is filled with a pint of liquor and your favorite mixer, such as coke, sprite, more liquor. At many of the river side bars with a purchase of a bucket you also receive a free joint or spliff (for the un-hip, its a marijuana joint that is mixed with tobacco). The river party itself is an all day party with loud dance music, women dressed in next to nothing and and rope swings and water slides that the US Government would immediately ban due to lack of safety regulations.
The streets of this little village are crawling with party goers extreme. If you want to know where to go, ask anyone walking around the street. Everything is within walking distance and the scene changes per hour. I spent a lot of time at the bucket bar relaxing on the pillow-top beds that are laid out in front. The after hours spot is definitely across the bridge at Sunny Bar and Smile bar. Everyone goes there until the wee hours of the morning playing music next to the river and talking about well… nothing really.
Where to Stay
Upon arrival, mere yards from where the bus drops you off is a string of guest houses that will run you about $5-$8 a night. They all seem to be pretty safe. Scope them out and stay in the one you feel most comfortable for the price.
Where to Eat
Hmm…Happy menu or regular menu is the question! If you are looking for some legit food there are a lot of little places to get something, but my favorite place after a long day and night of drinking is the roadside pancake vendors. Ask for a cheese and egg pancake and you won’t be disappointed. As for the happy menu, Gecko bar, hands down. Ask for Gecko, he will take care of you with a happy menu and service like you have never seen.
Savage Traveler Tip
After hours at Sunset and Smile bar, whatever you do DO NOT SMOKE WEED OR BE AROUND ANY GROUPS THAT ARE! Weed, though tolerated, is the town’s cash crop. Not by the sales but by the tickets and bribes that are handed out by local law enforcement. As I heard, the owner of Joker Bar’s brother is the Police Commissioner for the town. After hours, the cops hide by the river, smell the weed, then they come up and bust you. They take you to your guesthouse, take your passport and throw you in jail. The fine is 5 million Kip. That’s about $500. If you don’t have the money to pay the bribe, it’s 3 months in the Vang Vieng “clink.”