Monday, 31 October 2011

What's it like to work and live in Vang Vieng, Laos.

"Oh man, I nearly died in Vang Vieng, Thank god we only stayed for 3 days."
I heard that a lot. But now imagine staying there for way more than 3 days. More like 3 weeks. 
Now, I hear you "You just got drank everyday and the people that works there are just your typical stupid drunk backpackers that from doing nothing earn more than locals." Well yes. And absolutely not. 

How can you say no. Free food, free drinks, free accommodation. Backpacker heaven. Liver hell.

So me and my travel buddy (I quote from comments: "The cute redhead on your travel photos") got jobs at the restaurant/bar OhLaLa! . What is like to "work"in VangVieng? Here is our schedule:

11am: Arrival at the restaurant in town. Breakfast, general moaning about the hangover, maybe a few Family guy episodes. Then time to get some work done. Flyers, Bandanas, come up with offers and themes, black boards in the restaurant.

1pm:  Tuk Tuk to the river. Time to wake up properly and become more energetic than a cheerleader at spirit day high on crack. For me it was time to get behind the laptop and spin some "tunes" (yah yah yah I was the "DJ").

The next 4 hours will be dedicated to (in no special orders): Promoting, dancing, painting ourselves and people with silly stencils, jumping in the water, get slapped with dead snakes (I keep that story for another time), drinking. And very much playing Vang Vieng Rescue. Because when you are getting more than wasted, who's gonna come help you if you are drowning it's us! I liked to keep an eye on the river "in case of".
Repeating a million and a half time "DO NOT tube in the dark" is part of the routine too. Did people listened to us? Not really. But they should, seriously. DO NOT TUBE IN THE DARK, people.

5pm: The people are moving down the river, our job here is done. Time for us to "let out the steam" at the next bar. We've got an hour for that.

6pm: Back to the bungalows. Shower and prep for the night. Glitter, stupid costumes, bandanas, glow in the dark paint. KE dollar sign HA had nothing us.

7pm: Back to the restaurant in town. Simple mission, getting people in the restaurant. Helping the staff getting the orders.

9pm: Free shots round. Here it gets tricky. The answer we get is "Free shots? Oh it's tiger whisky? I'll do it if you do it too!". Fine for table one, table two, table trhee, tbale fouuuuurrr, able fiveuhhhhhhh. You get the picture.

11pm Helping the staff getting customers out. Time for us to go and join the Qbar staff next door and pull some shapes. Trying to get our customers to their bar.

12am: If you are sensible thats the time you grab dinner, head home and get some sleep to face another day. Well that did happen a few times. To be fair, if you want to do a favor to your body you will feel that a night in is necessary. But most of the time, just head to the next bar.


I had an immense amount of fun. Beyond living for free, the family who runs the restaurant was lovely, the kids amazing. After a while you get to know the people, the customs and traditions. The jaw dropping mountains backdrop to the town will take your breath away every single day. And quicker than you think, you'll feel like at home.

If I may add something too, I know you are going to get wasted and all, but remember not too walk half naked through the city. Try to cover up yourself.

The other issues are the environmental and social impact. Please read this very good and insightful article READ MORE

Also despite the highway for tourists that VangVieng became, the village lack of the most basic facilities, and the hospital is a mess. Don't forget to visit the smaller shops and restaurants. Choose smaller guesthouses. Don't throw you bucket or cans in the river. Basically think twice before you act. Oh and Have fun.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing experience it must've been!

    I am thinking about doing the same this year. Do you think its hard to find a job of that sort in Vang Vieng?