05 December 2010

Vang Vieng ~ Backpackers' heaven!

Vang Vieng, backpackers' heaven  
We were in Vang Vieng from 31 Oct to 2 Nov 2010 

Vang Vieng (also Vang Viang) is a riverside town Laos

After 2 Nites in chill-out Vientiane, we took a VIP Bus ride (3.5 hours, 170km) to a backpackers town called Vang Vieng.

Vang Vieng still has those unused, airfield runway, used by the Americans during the Vietnam War but now are filled with backpackers.

In Vang Vieng, we watch the Caucasian youth drank cheap Beerlao & Lao Lao (Lao whiskey) while Tubing, Kayaking and Tarzan-ing along the Nam Song River. There are numerous Bars lining the shore of the Nam Song river which are stopovers for Tubers to swing and slide.

We stayed in the Vilayvong Guesthouse for 2 Nites (a simple US$24 Guesthouse) and was fortunate to bump into 60 year old Daniel Bedard from Victoria, Canada as soon as we arrived in Vang Vieng. Daniel, a retired school teacher recommended us the Sanaxay Restaurant in town and we were there almost every meal trying on dishes like grilled fish, stuffed chicken, barbeque pork etc. Beerlao and Tiger beers costs only US$1.25 for a large bottle!! Needless to say, Sanaxay Restaurant was, to us, the best Restaurant in town.

Daniel brought us to a rural school - Phone Ngeun Primary School (60+ students) - about 3.5 km off the main road using a Tuk Tuk. On the way, we made a stop at the Blue Lagoon, a popular picnic place with a nice stream, quiet picnic areas and caves.

Apparently, when Daniel was in Vang Vieng, Phosit, a village elder asked for his help at the village school to help teach the children English . He soon found out that the school was built by the villagers 6 years ago but it has no floor, no windows or doors and when it rains, they have to close the school. Daniel started the English classes from 4pm to 6pm which were attended by 40+ students. Before we visited the school, Felicia and Kenny bought color pencils and stationaries for the children from a local store and Book Haven committed to help Daniel furnish one of the rooms with Cabinets, Tables, Chairs and Books to cater for a mini- Library.
Daniel Bedard is going to be helping at the School till early Mar 2011 and we told Daniel we will get home and think of ways to raise funds and ship stuff over for the children of Phone Ngeun Primary School. Nov and Dec 2010 were going to be quite cold and it was reported in the Vientiane Times that the rural school-going children will be most affected as they lack warm clothes. Schools were told to start at 8.30am or 9.30am instead of 8.00am because of the cold and fog.

I read in the Lonely Planet travel book that in Vang Vieng, the backpackers goes Tubing, Kayaking and Drinking at Nam Song River during the day and watch re-runs of Friends in the many Restaurants/Bars at nite and it was absolutely true!!
Vang Vieng has also many small stalls selling Crepes for US$1.25, the price of a large Cold Beerlao, right late into the nite!!

Backpackers drinking Beerlao at US$1 per large bottle! 

Tubing is one of the major activity besides drinking and partying 

Overlooking the Nam Song River are nice Boutique Hotels, Restaurants and Limestone Karsts  

Barbeque seafood is popular since the town is situated next to a river 

One of the few Restaurants serving delicious fare

Barbeque Fish & Chicken are delicius and very popular among tourists

Simmalai, on my right, is a part-time scvhool teacher and waitress in our favorite Sanaxay Restaurant

There are many Street Vendors selling Crepes at 10,000 Kip (US$1.25) each

Phone Ngeun Primary School Buildingwhere the windows &
doors were fixed only recently 

Daniel Bedard (left) with Felicia and Kenny Chng, my fellow Travellers 

Chilling out in a stream in Blue Lagoon, not far from Phone Ngeun School
Girls wanna have fun.....

in Blue Lagoon................

Blue Lagoon Visitors.............

A little Cafe serving Thai Food near the Phone Ngeun School on the way to Blue Lagoon

At the Lao Farm where the Owner, Mr T, is involved with some Charity Work   

The Restaurant at Lao Farm serves Organic Food 

One of the many Beer Stops for Tubing Enthusiasts, this one next to the Lao Farm 

Organic Food at Lao Farm with Mulberry Wine & Mulberry Shake

One of the largest Beer Stops where there are hosts of activities for Tubers besides loud music and free flow of Beerlao & Lao Lao (Lao Whiskey) 


Another Tuber - Tubing while drinking is a popular sport with backpackers and sometimes when they drink too much........  

11 September 2010

Yogyakarta & Borobudur

At the Ramayana Open Theatre with the
Prabanan Temple in the background 

Yogyakarta— despite the official spelling, the name is usually pronounced and not uncommonly written Jogjakarta or just Jogja (JOGH-jah) — is a major tourist destination in Indonesia. It is the capital city of the province of Yogyakarta Special Region which is in the southern part of the Central Java province, Indonesia.

For more info on Yogyakarta

Refreshing Bintang Beer at the Ramayana Restaurant
with Prabanan Temple as backdrop    

The Valley where the Lava from Gunung Merapi once flows...  
Merapi Golf Course, right next to the Merapi Mountain

Standing in front of one of the World's Wonder - Borobudur
With Jack & Man Wai at the Grand Entrance to Borobudur Complex
Jack Stanley talking History next to Buddha Statues at Borobudur
Borobudur Temple, wonder of Asia  

Good view of the Stupas from the top of the Borobudur Temple
Jack pointing at the ravine where the lava from Gunung Merapi
(Mount Merapi) once flow....

Rumah Pelangan, nice boutique Hotel where we stayed
Spread of Sundanese Food in Bumbu Desa

Jack & Jeffrey checking out the Ramayana Open Theatre
with Prabanan Temple in the background   
The Hindu Temple, Prabanan taken from the spectators' stands
in the Ramayan Theatre
Jack with the pretty Sundanese ladies at Reception Counter
of the famous Sundanese Restaurant - Bumbu Desa 

Top: Air Asia landed at Yogyakarta Airport
Below: Nice Italian Dinner at Gadjah Wong Restaurant

Top: At the front entrance of Bumbu Desa, famous Sundanese restaurant
Bottom: Minstrels provide excellent music at Gadjah Wong

Jack standing at the top of the Ramayana Open Theatre
with the grand Prabanan Temple behind him