I hereby declare Vang Vieng safe. Safe from messy river parties, senseless drinking, and noisy youths. For the backpackers have moved on.

The main town of Vang Vieng is still very touristy, but in a way that caters to the average traveller. It’s very much like Thailand’s tourist towns. Packed with travel companies selling similar day trips and activities, bike rental shops, massage parlours, restaurants, and street hawkers. There’s nothing charming about it.

The only thing worth hanging around this area for is the sandwich. The bread was wonderfully hot and crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside. It’s the perfect baguette. Sorry Francophiles, but the French baguette is just too hard for my Asian gums. I just prefer my bread chew-able as opposed to stone-like.

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So simple and satisfying.

Food was a big part of this leg of the trip. We visited the Organic Mulberry Farm under June’s recommendation, thinking it was just a farm. Turns out that it has a restaurant attached to it that served some of the best Asian food I’ve ever had. Our first dinner there blew our minds, and we ended up going back the next 2 days. We ordered quite a wide variety of dishes from their menu, and 95% of them were a hit with all of us.

The first thing we tasted caught me completely off guard. Goat cheese. Something I understood to be pungent, and stink of goat. But what ended up in my mouth was a mild, smooth, and creamy cheese that melted away easily. Read about the farm’s goat project, and how they produce the cheese by hand in a 3-day process.

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We only ordered a sample-sized portion because Wong Xi and I weren’t big on goat cheese. Wouldn’t have guessed that this little piece of heaven would convert us.

We visited the goat house, the source of the cheese’s milk. The first thing that struck me when we approached it was that it didn’t stink. Not one bit! It brought me so much joy to see how incredibly well the goats were taken care of. They were having their breakfast of fresh leaves when we dropped by. With a diet that organic, it’s no wonder that they don’t smell like typical farm goats. Nothing about them was ordinary. They had the softest fur, enjoyed human affection, and had excrement that didn’t smell. Amazing what love and good food can do!

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We made friends with the farmer and he let us feed this ravenous kid. Milk wasn’t enough. So he proceeded to nibble on June’s dress tassel.
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By the way, they don’t slaughter them for mutton. Just milk ’em!
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Other splendid things on their menu include (clockwise from top left) mulberry shake, lemongrass fish, mulberry and starfruit wine, and rice with eggplant dip. We ate all of these and a couple more soups, and only spent SGD31.
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Then we came back another day and ordered this magnificent fish fried rice. It’s really the most delicious plate of rice! We figured that it’s fish sauce and some other magical ingredient that made us all fall head over heels for it.
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And of course, we had to order a proper plate of goat cheese this time around. The caramelised onion topping is sublime, and it sent us to another level of ecstasy. The mangoes on the sticky rice dessert were super sweet. And I dare say that Lao mangoes are much better than its Thai counterparts.
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We spent so many hours happily eating here and watching people make total fools of themselves while tubing and kayaking on the river behind.

Besides stuffing ourselves silly at the organic restaurant, we spent our time in Vang Vieng exploring its outskirts. Places where June found that were free of mad crowds. We were totally fine with skipping the famous Blue Lagoon even though it’s a must-see. Because we all know what happens with these famous spots. They get spoilt by crowds, and we’d rather have some peace and quiet somewhere else.

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The best way to explore lesser-known places. With bikes and a friend who has data and a good sense of direction. Thanks Wong Xi!
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The 40-minute hike up to Pha Ngern View Point was pretty steep at some points, but still easily conquered with the hand railings along the well-paved path.
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The view, however, was shit. Thanks, pollution.
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So we entertained ourselves with Vogue photoshoots.
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And then some kind Chinese nationals offered to snap some shots for us, and proceeded to art direct us into this extremely awkward pose. Hilarious.

Then we zipped off to find Tham Chang cave, which had a gorgeously lush entrance.

Caves are just fascinating to me. I love staring at their raw textures and grotesque shapes, like tumors inside the Earth.
And it sparkles!
Just a short walk from the cave’s entrance is a cosy little lagoon. The water was freezing and the rocks are sharp, still a very refreshing dip after a day of sweating.
We had so much fun in just 3 days. Which I think is a good enough time to experience Vang Vieng.

Laos has been such an adventure. This is one of those trips that I went under-prepared, with no expectations, and ended up loving this country. I now have so many beautiful memories of our time spent in this forgotten country. I’ll be back for Luang Pabrang next!

I’ll end this post with the saddest part of our trip: when we were down to the last spoonfuls of fish fried rice which we packed from Vang Vieng all the way to Vientiane because we knew we would miss it so much once we left that organic restaurant behind.

I will miss this fried rice dearly for years to come.

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