We arrived by bus from Vientiane -45,000 Kips and 5 hours of travel- and found a fairly decent accommodation in Malany-on the main street-for 8 kips a night in a double room with its own bathroom and television.
We stayed there 3 nights and 2 full days.
One of the days we rent some bicycles -We took mountain but they were of very low quality so better go for the normal- for 2 Kips and we went to see the Tham Phu Kham cave, right next to the Blue lagoon. The plans that give you in the city are quite bad but with the guide and asking here and there you can reach the sites.
It took us like a couple of hours going very very quiet. We arrive at a kind of recreation area with little cabins to eat and a lagoon of intense blue water where several yellow fish share the space with tourists jumping from the tree to take a refreshing bath.
The ascent to the cave takes about 15 minutes and it is worth it to take a small flashlight to explore the deepest part. There are people at the beginning of the climb who rent it for 1 Kips. Inside there is a small altar dedicated to Buddha and incredible play of colors and stalactites sculpted by time.
It is a good way to spend a relaxed day and on the way you can divert to the occasional cave, although the indications are vague and the distances more than relative.
The next day we hired a tour. They picked us up at 9 in the morning to leave for a small cave flooded by water. They gave us a tire, a mining-type light operated by a small battery and we spent half an hour in the cold water running through the cave through a simple rope system.
The thing was fine but we thought that the cave was bigger and that there would be some waterfall and so on.
Then we ate grilled meat and vegetables skewers and walked for 20 minutes until we reached a small cave with a great image of Buddha lying inside. They explained a little about the history and tradition of the place and took us by van to the river area where we would begin to descend with the kayaks.
This was the best part of the day. The river has no rapids but there is a fairly long part that offers good views and tranquility as well as a good physical exercise. The guide leads the group but you have enough freedom of movement when choosing the path where to go down the river.
We spent less than a meter from a group of water buffalo that were taking the bath and the truth is that these animals are huge and beautiful.
After the descent begins you reach the part of the river where the famous one takes place Vang Vieng Tubing. Basically, they give you a tire and you get off the river at your own pace between popsicle, liter of vodka and red bull, jump into the river, dance, magreo with some chati (or flat), more blockages, more liters and in the end the river looks like Atlantic Ocean on a stormy day because of its difficulty in lowering it. People who do not return the tire before 6 pm lose their deposit. I assure you that this part of the business gives more money than the rent.
When we left the Kayak and changed our clothes we went to see the sunset at a bar right next to the river. While we were chatting with the two Australian girls we had met in our tour group we saw how Tubing expeditionaries arrived even at nightfall. People received them with applause and laughter while they barely stood when they tried to get out of the water.
There are a lot of restaurants and bars in Vang Vieng that close later than in Vientiane and bring together many tourists who are already touched by Tubing Day. The buckets of alcoholic drink mixed with red bull or coca cola usually leave for about 15,000 Kips, making the subject a rather cheap blind.
For those who want to escape a bit of the theme more farrero, there are also quieter restaurants overlooking the river and others - my favorites - that have televisions where they do not stop putting episodes of Friends and Family Guy.
I think I had never seen so many episodes of Family guy in life as in Vang Vieng. It is clear that the creator of the series is simply a God. I broke the box at every breakfast, lunch or dinner I did in town and the fact is that I didn't do it just because there are many backpackers who opt for this form of entertainment over the Great Mazada del Tubing.
In short, I think it is a place where it is worth it for a couple of days to explore the river and some of the area, but if you go as a couple or the party theme doesn't call you much, I don't think it will be much more. However, if you are looking for the difficult combination between crazy party and nature - although much of nature has been loaded with those bars on the river - you may want to stay a little longer in the area.