Vientiane is the capital city of Laos and just a stopping point for us before we fly out to Vietnam. There is not too much to see here but a trip to the COPE museum to learn all about Laos's history as the most bombed country in the world is worth a visit.
Vang Vieng was a sleepy country village until it became famous as a river tubing destination with backpackers. Over a very short period of time lots of bars opened along the river and tubers could get very drunk on cheap local whisky as they floated down the river.
Kuang Si Waterfall can be found about 30km south of Luang Prabang, it has 3 tiers and is a nice place to visit. It is easy to get to, you just jump on a tuk tuk along the main street and they will wait for you at the falls while you explore.
There are many options for travelling between Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang. You can fly, take a slow boat, a fast boat or go by bus. Our decision to travel all the way to Luang Prabang by bus was due to time constraints. We wanted to fly but when we looked due to new year all flights were booked up for the next four or five days so that option was unavailable to us. Our next choice would have been the slow boat, however as the journey takes 3 days would have taken too much time out of our time in Laos so we were only really left with the bus option. Nobody recommends taking the fast boat due to its safety record.