Our plan for Christmas was to spend it on a beach in Southern Thailand, that clearly didn't happen. Sterry were going to Laos so we decided to go with them, it would be more christmassy with friends.
For backpackers Vang Vieng was known for tubing. Every year backpackers descended on VV to go tubing. Basically you rent a big rubber tube and sail down the river. Sounds pretty innocent but along the river there were lots & lots of bars that pull you in with a rope & give you free shots. There were also zip lines, wooden slides (yes, wooden) and other crazy stuff. It got so crazy about 30 people were dying each year from drowning when drunk or when banging their heads on the rocks in the river when zip lining. Because of this the government put a stop to this last year and imposed rules that we heard are pretty much adhered to. For instance, they bulldozed almost all the bars, you have to wear a life jacket and there is a town wide curfew of 12 midnight. We didn't go tubing cos we were too busy with Christmas so we don't know exactly how different it is but this is what it used to look like.
We arrived in Vang Vieng on 23rd December so I was quite pleased to see a bit of Christmas spirit there. There were Christmas trees, Santa hats, tinsel etc. We'd booked a nice hotel for Christmas & Russell's first job was to make our room Christmassy so he went to reception and 'borrowed' a little plant. He hung chillies & bottle tops on and all 4 of us bought each other presents so we put them under the tree. It looked really cute.
So Christmas day arrived & Sterry came to open presents round the tree in our room. We popped open 2 bottles of sparkling wine and had some bison grass vodka Sterry bought Russell. It was a really fun morning.
We had all seen signs to swim in a blue lagoon a short walk away so thought we'd go for a quick Christmas swim before Christmas dinner. So we started walking, and walking and walking. It was very beautiful but easily the most exercise I've ever done on 25th December.
After a long walk to the 'lagoon' (about 45 minutes) we realised it was a proper caving experience. That is one thing I never ever want to do. EVER. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went, freaked out half way and refused to carry on so me & Russell walked back all alone in the dark with broken torches & I fell & hurt my toe pretty badly. The caving guy gave me a lift back on his moped as I could barely walk.
Christmas night consisted of a yellow curry & rice and quite an early night so not the best Christmas ever (I like to be honest on this blog) but as you can see we did have a lot of laughs & I have a lot of fond memories of Christmas 2013 & Vang Vieng.
We had to leave to go to Koh Phangan for the NYE full moon party so we didn't have enough time in Laos - we will be back. If Laos will have us :)