Anyone traveling through Southeast Asia will undoubtedly hear about Vang Vieng. The stories start off with a lot of enthusiasm and end with loud laughs. The most common after thought is, “you got to go tubing in Vang Vieng”.
I second this after spending a week there. Once in Lao, Sebastien had decided to head back to Cambodia and did so as soon after meet up with Scottie and Chantal. This was the same couple we had meet in Phi Phi. Since we had meet them we were planning to meet up in VV so it was disappointing that Sebastien was going to ditch the experience. However, I was not and for the next 5 days had a ridiciouly ridiculously fun time in this small Lao town.
Here are some of the reasons why Vang Vieng is so much fun.
The town is small and there are a plethora of friendly fellow travelers. It is easy to find cheap accommodations (I paid $10) that includes a clean room, AC, hot shower, and amazing views of the river and mountains. The streets are filled with smiling friendly locals all willing to hand you their child to play with. Little children playing with each other in the street and coming up to grabbing your leg and smile up at you. Street vendors selling amazing baggette sandwiches for pennies. And of course there is the tubing.
Pick up a tube from town and take a tuk tuk 4 kilometers up the river. At this starting point there are several bars with swings huge slides and zip lines that launch you into the river. Within the first kilometer (maybe less) there are about 8 bars with music and swinging trapeze for one to choose from. While you sit in your tube and float along the river, bar workers throw you plastic bottles with a rope tied to it. If you want to go to that bar you grab onto the rope and they pull you in. Beats drinking and driving.
The first day, we decided that we should try to go straight down the river so that we get an idea of how many bars there were and how long it would take. However, after passing a few bars we decided it wouldn’t hurt to stop at one or two to partake in the action. We did manage to tube to the end of the river that day but it took about 4 hours. Note: The river was very low while we were there and locals said that during rainy season it would only take 1 hour to go down the river. One may also think that it isn’t very safe to be swinging and jumping off high platforms while there are rocks sticking out all over the river. I would agree with this but it didn’t stop me either.
Not only is the bar scene like nothing I have ever experienced (there would be lawsuits all over this in the US) but the scenery through the river is breathtaking.
The follow 3 days we found ourselves back on the river meeting more people, flipping off swings, and celebrating St. Patties Day. One of those day we had to get picked up by a long tail boat 2 km from the end because we had judge (stopped at to many bars) the time wrong and we were stuck in the dark. It was a crazy, scary, but fun experience. Here are some G rated pictures to enjoy. Click here to see someone elses video of thier experience.