Vang Vieng

Right: stealthy predator, Vang Vieng

I had been told that Vang Vieng was a beautiful place to stop over and indeed it was, situated on a bend in the Nam Song with a backdrop of limestone crags, dotted with caves. Vang Vieng has developed into a backpacker haven replete with internet cafes, and restaurants selling banana pancakes. Accordingly Vang Vieng gets a mixed rap from the backpacker set.

lizard

Some menus offer "special" milkshakes and I'm assuming the active ingredient here to be psychedelic mushrooms. Many of the restaurants showed movies in the evenings or back episodes of "Friends", in fact sitting around wasted in restaurants watching "Friends" seemed to be the extent of a good day's activity for a good number of trippy young backpackers. Clearly this wasn't entirely my cup of tea so a couple of days was enough before heading on up to Luang Prabang.