Backpacking in Laos: Staying at Vang Vieng Guesthouse, Vang Vieng

“I think this hostel is after a mad right” – Chaz Fitzsimmons

The Mad Right!

The Mad Right!

Well after a couple of crazy days in Vientiane, touring the sights, staying in the Sabaidy Guesthouse for $3 a night, we got a truck and a mini-bus up north to the crazy town of Vang Vieng. Yes, this place is totally nuts. You can check in anytime you like, but actually you might never leave! We had planned to stay at a place called Nam Song Gardens in Vientiane.

Backpacking in Laos: Staying at Vang Vieng Guesthouse, Vang Vieng

Backpacking in Laos: Staying at Vang Vieng Guesthouse, Vang Vieng

But there’s something crazy in the air here. Travel plans change when you are in Laos, you meet new people, things go array. We got onto a dumper truck outside our hostel in Vientiane – Chaz and I. Chaz is the original Belfast backpacking boy – a great mate and always crazy sh*t happens when we travel together. When we jumped on the truck we met an English lad, Nick. Nick was now part of the gang and we were a trio. We’d agreed agree on the island bars for that night, tubing the next day and that we would stay in Nam Song Gardens – Arnie’s Place.

Jonny Blair and Chaz Fitzsimmons in Laos

Travelling on a truck in Laos with my fellow Ulster travel buddy Chaz

The reason for this was that Chaz had been here before. After I met Chaz while living in Tasmania, he backpacked through South East Asia once again and he ended up getting “stuck” in Laos – i.e. he went tubing, loved it and ended up staying for a couple of weeks at Arnie’s Place, Nam Song Gardens. Arnie is a Norwegian guy who gave up the life in Norway to set up a base here. His guesthouse sits right on the Nam Song River and is called Nam Song Gardens. Chaz was raving about the joint and also said it was near the “island bars” and that “every backpacker in Laos knows Arnie’s Place and the island bars”. Except a few years had passed by.

Arrival in Vang Vieng

Arrival in Vang Vieng

And we couldn’t find it. So Nick, Chaz and I ended up in the Vang Vieng Guesthouse which was basically the upstairs of a bar that showed Friends, the Simpsons and Family Guy all day and night. Yes, if you have been to Vang Vieng, you will know the drill with it.

The toilet - the only photo  I have of Vang Vieng Guesthouse!

The toilet – the only photo I have of Vang Vieng Guesthouse!

We got checked into this place for a combined price of $11 US for the night. I think I had to share a bed with either Nick or Chaz and there were no hot showers but we were happy. We had a toilet of our own. We headed straight for a Beerlao downstairs and some hot dogs, then met up with Marie from our truck ride earlier in the day.

Partying in Vang Vieng

Partying in Vang Vieng

It was a crazy few days in Vang Vieng and this hostel did the trick. I don’t have any actual photos of the hostel to share as I lost my camera and all the photos in the river, somehow I still had a photo of the toilet, which I must have saved onto my hard drive using Chaz’s laptop the night before. So for the first time ever. I thought I’d put a photo of the toilet as the main photo on a hostel review.

Chaz and I partying in the river bars of Vang Vieng

Chaz and I partying in the river bars of Vang Vieng

In the madness of it all, Chaz ended up getting an infection in his foot and I had to act as doctor to poke it out. I ended up losing $1000 US Dollars in the Nam Song river in what was a horrendous week of travel. I ended up heading south to Don Det instead of back into China and Chaz bumped into Nick a few days later in Vang Vieng. I also stayed in a different guest house in Vang Vieng, the night after the tubing, but I forget its name and I have no photos of a few manic days in Laos!

Chaz and I in Laos - Vientiane

Chaz and I in Laos – Vientiane

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