So, a quick word about Vang Vieng. As a town, it is well established on the tourist trail, though mainly with teenagers and people in their early 20s. The guide books warn of all sorts drug issues the westerners have brought into the town, along with the fancy coffee shops and over priced hotel rooms. (Lonely planet says I should stay clear of the ‘happy shakes’ – fruit shakes laced with marijuana or anphetamines) No happy shakes for me, though I did see something ever so strange that made me wonder if my drink had been spiked… There must have been at least THIRTY bars in Vang Vieng which were ALL showing re-runs of the US sitcom ‘Friends’. And I don’t just mean for a short while – I mean ALL DAY, at full volume. I cannot stress enough how strange this was, especially given that half an hour before, I had been cycling through a village where the houses were made out of bamboo and people were working the land hard just to scrape by.
There was obviously one popular bar a while back which started this, but somehow it has become part of regular bar culture in the town. I did see one bar which had taken the brave step of showing ‘Family Guy’ cartoons instead, but it didn’t look to popular. I can’t imagine what the locals think of westerners!! $$$ I guess!