Once upon a time, Vang Vieng was known for being a crazy party town, which was mostly down to the river tubing which took place on the Nam Song River, with party goers stopping at each illegal bars lining the river. However, following huge international media attention and the pressure caused by the deaths of young backpackers, the Lao government finally decided to crack down and close the illegal bars. Although the tubing clampdown was definitely for the best, you might be asking yourself, as we did, is it really worth going to Vang Vieng anymore?!
After 3 days travelling by land and boat from Chiang Mai, we finally arrived in Luang Prabang, the beautiful and captivating town located in north central Laos. The very first thing that struck me the minute that we arrived in Luang Prabang was the fantastic architecture. The Main Street through the town is lined with European colonial style buildings which home stylish cafés and restaurants. The beauty of the town of Luang Prabang was officially protected when the town was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995.
I have got to say Luang Prabang was definitely up there with my favourite towns/cities which I visited throughout South East Asia and it was definitely my #1 location in Laos. There was a certain charm about Luang Prabang which invoked my sincere fondness of the peaceful town.
After Chiang Mai, it was time to make our way to the next country, Laos. There are a number of ways Luang Prabang can be reached from Chiang Mai – slow boat, fast boat, minibus or plane. We opted to take the slow boat from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang. We were told by a number of people, this was the best way to travel into Laos in terms of the experience. The journey does take 3 days, 2 night, so it’s definitely not the quickest journey. The minibus may be worth taking if time is not on your side as this can be done overnight. The fast boat also takes less time but is dangerous, due to the shallow rocks in the lake.