Mountain-conquering in Vang Vieng

8 Feb

On our way back from the Blue Lagoon yesterday, the Thai man told us about the way to get up to a nearby mountain, so we decided to climb it in the morning when the weather is a bit cooler (still 29 degrees in the shade at 11am though!).  We got out of our bungalow to find the massive spider from yesterday dangling ominously from the rafters of our veranda above Craig’s chair. The picture is a bit rubbish because I was standing at a safe distance of a mile away. A swift discussion confirmed that no, Craig could not have my chair.


Craig got rid of him later on in the afternoon by enlisting the help of a German girl who had the bright idea of throwing a fruit that was growing in the garden at him. Hopefully he is not lying in wait in the bushes as our veranda doesn’t have an outside light.

We found the little path the man had told us about and climbed up a very steep track for about an hour.


Look expensive North Face, all you actually need for trekking is a teeshirt, skirt and New Look ballet pumps, see?

We walked to here


from here

We were knackered when we reached the top…the lens had steamed over from being in Craig’s pocket

After we had caught our breath (several hours), we climbed down and went back to Sabaidee Garden, the Thai man’s place, for lunch. His wife cooked us Pad Thai with fresh pineapple and mango which was lovely but the ants were perhaps an unnecessary addition. Craig was so hungry he ate his all up anyway. Sabaidee Garden is halfway between Vang Vieng and the blue lagoon, so people stop there all the time to ask for directions or get a drink. When he started up, he didn’t have any money so bought a cooler, some ice and eight drinks to sell on his land. From that, he’s now built a kitchen and has got a fridge, tables and benches, and plans to build a guesthouse. To help him on his way, we wrote a sign for him to put up next to the road telling people to come in and rest in the shade, buy a drink and get a free map to the blue lagoon (come for the food, stay for the ants?) etc so more people stop :)

The German girl who helped us get rid of the spider told us that her boyfriend was in bed with food poisoning – discussions with strangers about the state of their bowels seem to be the norm now – so we told them to go to see the Thai man, which they did that evening, as the leaf tea he gave us did actually begin to work. There aren’t any other English people staying at our guesthouse; they are mainly French. We struggle to understand people all day (our fault though!) and then when we come back we chat to some French people which is quite tiring as you have to sign what you’re saying. So the conversation goes “today, I walked (mime) up a mountain (mime), it was very hot (mime) and we are tired (mime)”. It’s become second nature so when we do meet up with other English people (or even when talking amongst ourselves) we now involuntarily talk with our hands at the same time, which probably comes across as very patronising! Sadly French, a language which, despite having studied it for nine years, has slipped quite effortlessly from my mind. All I can seem to remember are the words for “quick”, “slowly”, “now” and “it’s beautiful”; possibly helpful if starring in a certain kind of film but quite useless when trying to ask someone how their day was.

We find we have been craving a few things – Craig for tonic water and me for peace and quiet. Craig found one can in our guesthouse in Vang Vieng which made him want more, but two days of fruitless searching and no more can be found. We took the minibus to the capital, Vientiane, which was very bumpy but quick, and ended up in a Korean restaurant where the menu said they had tonic water. The owner came out and said he didn’t have it at the moment but he would go out and get some. He didn’t come back for ages and it turns out there is a stock shortage and nowhere has had any for two weeks :) I have been missing silence…even in the garden or on top of the mountain, you can hear motorbikes, roosters, people, chopping, animals, music etc. The last time we were in absolute silence was in Halong Bay! I can’t wait to get to the 4,000 islands in the South! We have booked our sleeper bus to Savannahkhet for tomorrow night as it’s quite expensive here and as it’s a city, it’s quite busy. We also accidentally spent a fortune on pizza for lunch…the waitress said a medium was about the size of the dinner plate which was tiny, so we both ordered a large pizza and chicken dippers to share. When the pizzas came out they were as big as the table. We managed to spend $39 on pizza that we probably ate a third of! Idiots!! So it’s left over pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days…but at least we found a pharmacy which sold antibiotics for food poisoning so hopefully we will both start to get better soon :)


5 Responses to “Mountain-conquering in Vang Vieng”

  1. Christopher Walker 8 February 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Hilariously unsuitable trekking gear!
    Great photos though – apart from dismay of steamed up lens.
    Just had perfectly edible (if microwaved) pizza from Deane Road stores for £1.99 – hmm – hope you’re still enjoying your $39 worth!

    • toaustraliathelongway 9 February 2012 at 1:54 am #

      not unsuitable, perfectly adequate. got up there in no time!

      • Nat Gissanadilok 16 August 2012 at 1:52 pm #

        Hi there,

        I went to Vangvieng in late 2011 on my holiday. I met this Thai guy who speaks German and owned a Thai restaurant called SABAIDEE GARDEN. Me and him had a good chat and he wrote down his contact detail on a peice of paper. I kept it for awhile and it was gone when I was moving out of my house.

        The guy is also an English teacher in the Mohng villege.

        Do you have any ideas of how to contact SABAIDEE GARDEN?

        Many thanks :)

      • toaustraliathelongway 21 August 2012 at 6:01 am #

        Hi that’s the one we went to too but I don’t have his contact details. I’m sure the post would get there if you used the address off trip advisor – or you could look on google maps to see if there’s a route or road number. Sorry

  2. semplo 9 February 2012 at 1:30 am #

    That is one BIG Spider!.

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