Vang Vieng

As we climbed yet another range heading south it became apparent that all of the bad road was not behind us. We also saw a lot more places that were being slashed (below).

In the photo at left is a spot where a slide had taken out half of the road. Eventually the road improved somewhat and serpentined through some great countryside with little more than the occasional pedestrian to impede our progress.

In the handful of villages that we did come across it was obvious that all family members were called upon to contribute. Aidan and Cameron, and Evan and Emma take note.

If Luang Prabang is a home away from home to a large number of well heeled, middle-aged, European nouveau colonialists, Vang Vieng is where their younger, hipper little sisters go. Great limestone karst formations within walking distance from town and decent whitewater attract climbers and kayakers, as well as those who just want to hole up in a shack on an island in the Nam Song. It is also a favorite destination for caving. The karst formations across the river from our guesthouse changed with the light and changing clouds from hour to hour.

Wooden footbridges connected the town to the island with its bamboo huts and party bars, and to the opposite shore. In town, markets selling fresh and dried fish (below right) enjoy a thriving local clientele, while a half dozen restaurants cater to the younger tourist crowd with western fare and large screen TVs with nightly screenings of 'Friends' re-runs. The town is even home to a Viet Nam era airstrip.