Shrooming in Vang Vieng
It is easier to find mushrooms/drugs in Vang Vieng than to find an actual pharmacy. Wherever you go there are special menus offering opium cigarettes, opium teas, mushroom milkshakes, mushroom teas, plain mushrooms, weed pizzas, weed milkshakes and even a dangerous combination milkshake with all three ingredients blended in at once. Once you are done with the alcohol and tubing in Laos you will probably be lured into participate in this hallucinogenic subculture like I was while visiting Vang Vieng.
Me and my friends wandered off to a place called Kiwi Bar located slightly outside the party district of Vang Vieng. Kiwi Bar was practically empty when we arrived but definitely had some character to it. We decided to sit down for a beer and a chat with the owner who not surprisingly was from New Zealand himself. After not too long the subject landed on mushrooms and how easy it is to get them in Vang Vieng. Shrooming in Vang Vieng is more or less a custom for a visiting tourist and by accident a neighboring elderly female bar owner strolled into Kiwi Bar with a bag full of freshly picked psilocybin mushrooms. Within minutes the owner cooked up a tea for himself and soon after my friends ordered plain mushrooms and a milkshake as well. I quickly followed suit with a mushroom instant coffee. Yummy.
The mushroom / Nescafe mix I received tasted pretty good for being a shroom shake. I usually like eating normal mushrooms (read: shiitake and whatever else non-hallucinogenic mushrooms there are) and didn’t find the magical ones distasteful at all. The more experienced person in our group gobbled down his mushrooms whole with a glass of coke. We ate/drank all of our mushroom servings in 20 minutes and went on to play pool after.
After about an hour of pool things started turning slightly weird. The wall next to me had taken on the shape of a wavy fabric. Upon further inspection i realized it was an enormous flag. After all, the pirate ship I was so confident we were now on was sailing the seven seas and the wind was picking up. The pirate flag was waving harder and I was getting more confused; the mushrooms had kicked in.
As time stopped to a halt, we went to work. Kiwi Bar is generously decorated with empty marker-friendly walls and the owner quickly supplied us with markers to depict whatever we were seeing or experiencing. Since my vision had been blessed with an Instagram-like mesh of geometric patters, I set out to draw them. The closer I looked on the wall the more complicated the shapes became and my squibly drawing didn’t make them justice. One can only try.
After drawing to our hearts content we sat down for a drink of cobra-scorpion alcohol which hurt our mouths pretty bad. The mushrooms were now in full control and my spirit seemed to float further away from my body for every cobra shot I took. Seeing myself sitting there gave me a very eerily feeling and I quickly slipped back in somehow. Well back inside (I know, this is getting very out of hand but bear with me) I could see my innermost self as a sphere of light that was slowly being peeled off layer by layer until a golden shiny ball of pure love and self was revealed. I felt my mother’s love like I did when I was an infant and an enormous uncontrollable smile started to occupy my face and the urge to draw and create overcame me stronger than ever. These mushrooms seemed to be extra-everything.
A few hours of illusion and timelessness passed with states altering between playing darts, playing pool, doing push-ups and revisiting that horrible bottle of serpent alcohol we had become fond of. After some eternal moments of happiness we decided to abandon ship and venture out into the hostile Laotian world for some food. Vang Vieng seemed like a barren post-nuclear free-for-all anarchy where our insignificant western souls could be consumed by evil hawkers, street vendors and intoxicated gap-year demons at any moment so we decided to head back to safety and shelter at the bar almost immediately after after. Walking back, I accepted that time would forever stand still and the reassuring words of the bar owner rang repeatedly and hopelessly in my head: “enjoy the trip, remember you are great and have fun. It will end before you know it.”
As we approached our trusted Kiwi Bar I was literally hanging onto a silver string attached to the inside of my head inside my body, clinging on for my life while a whirlwind of madness tried to suck me into its wrath while my subconscious body walked me back every so calmly and smoothly. Delusions, hallucinations and transcendental experiences intertwined with badminton, small talk and accepting work at the Kiwi Bar as promoters until our experienced shroom-tripper suggested we drink orange juice to end our trip. Whether this worked or not I am not sure, but the C-vitamin quickly took the edge off things and an hour later I was back in Laos. Whew.
As should be obvious to you by know, these were very powerful mushrooms. Our seasoned expert kept praising them while I kept contemplating my vastly transformational experience that I remember vividly until this day. If you ever decide to try shrooming in Vang Vieng, reiterate what the Kiwi Bar owner told me: “enjoy the trip, remember you are great and have fun. It will end before you know it.” Make sure you are in a good mood and only ingest shrooms while in a quiet, comfortable and creative setting.
If you end up shrooming in Vang Vieng at the Kiwi Bar make sure to mention that I sent you. The owner might not remember me anymore but send him my best wishes anyways. Oh, and the Kiwi Bar has a “high or your money back” policy. Yeah, you read that right. Welcome to Vang Vieng.
After shrooming, Karl and his friends had become very tired and needed a deserved break from all the evils of Vang Vieng. To read the third part in the trilogy on Laos, continue reading here: Recovering from and Leaving Vang Vieng (coming soon). Or read the first part: Tubing in Laos.