Not content with almost drowning at the tubing, within 2 days we were back in the river, this time for a spot of white-water kayaking. As you do.
We'd had a day of just relaxing by the river in hammocks and reading our books, watching a perfect sunset behind the mountains, and had seen several groups of kayakers passing by. We'd occasionally glance up lazily and offer a gentle wave, but by the end of the day we were dying (not literally, we hoped) to have a go ourselves. Richard and Bongo were up for it to, which was a touch as we'd nominated them as our dedicated lifesavers.
After yet another full English (note to self:must join gym when we get home), we passed the usual tuk-tuk-load of invalids being shipped back from the local medical centre after their tubing and stepped up to the watersports centre, bold as brass.
After shelling out for the pleasure of 3 terrifying hours kayaking down a fast-running, obstacle-filled river we climbed aboard the tuk-tuk with our kayaks on the roof and we were off.
Within about 10 minutes of our kayaking lesson and then sliding gently into the murky water, Liam and I had capsized, which I wasn't impressed about as I'd just applied my mascara and GHD'd my hair. We'd been going well, working as a team (will wonders never cease?) and were feeling confident when we'd come to a rapid and hit a rogue tree branch jutting out of the water, sending us flying.
This time, however, we had the sense to wear lifejackets, not too proud to look like geeks if it meant we'd actually finish the trip with a pulse.
Trying to clamber back into the boat was not easy with a strong current dragging you forwards over rocks and it was with a most ungainly fling of my legs that I managed to haul myself aboard, drowned-rat stylee. Not a good look."Why didn't I bring my compact for touch-ups?" I berated myself, "or at the very least some battery-operated straighteners".
Richard and Bongo watched with amusement, that is until they too capsized a while later. This kayaking business is not as easy as it looks...
We were grateful when our guide suggested we take a breather at the tubing bars further upstream, and we left him in charge of the kayaks whilst we had a quick Beerlao..and another...and another.
Funnily enough, we were all much better at kayaking after a few beers, were much more co-ordinated as we rowed and steered our way down the river like an olympic team...
That evening we celebrated our watersports prowess with a few whisky buckets at the Smile Bar in town and planned our next leg of our visit to Laos. We'd already stayed in Vang Vieng for 2 nights more than our planned 3 nights,such was the beauty of the area, and although we could've stayed there much longer we knew that we really should continue our journey to Luang Prabang, 6 hours north by bus...