If someone asked you to go tubing, you may reply that the thrill of it died along with your childhood dreams many summers ago. But what if that same someone also said that there would be copious amounts of alcohol and possible debauchery involved? You’re in you say? Well then, lets head out to Vang Vieng, Laos.
You could say that Vang Vieng is the most happening town in all of Asia, and you’d be right. Tubing has taken the nearby Nam Song river by storm and every year more and more backpackers are heading there. It is definitely on most travelers list of things to do when they spend a few weeks in Laos.
All the way down the river you will come across a row of great bars. The trick is to float down the river on your rubber ring and stop at every bar to fill yourself up with as much drink as possible. Now obviously this would never be allowed at home because it’s against the law to drink and tube, but in Vang Vieng anything goes.
A few people decide not to go in the water. Some say they’re afraid; most say they are alcoholics. But these guys and girls walk from bar to bar having the party of their lives. The trick is to never get ahead of the alcoholics as this is always where the best party is. Don’t be an outcast propping up the last bar at the bottom of the river.
Throwing yourself about
As you float down the river you will come up against several strange looking contraptions. You will be too drunk to tell what they are, so I’ll tell you now. They are huge catapults and rope swings. Now you must remember that you’re intoxicated and shouldn’t be using them.
But if you do they are the most fun you will ever have. There’s nothing like throwing your body 50ft in the air, doing crazy backflips while fellow backpackers cheer you on. If you feel a bit tipsy, they can certainly sober you up. But that just means you’ll have to drink more.
The bars are cool
They aren’t like your normal bars back home. You won’t find doormen checking to see if you have dress shoes on, (or to make sure that you’re 12). It’s just a great place to kick back and listen to some cool music in the tropical heat. If you’re lucky you might even get yourself some action, or line up a date for night.
The whole atmosphere is so relaxing. It’s hard to explain in words how free you feel. Everyone is just jumping around the bar having so much fun. If you fancy a little competition you will find plenty of pool tables. Team up with your fellow countrymen and kick some foreign butt.
Get ready for night
Vang Vieng is geared towards people looking to party. The town is going to be rocking at night. During your little tubing experience you have to remember to take the tube back to the shop. Don’t get carried away and forget. I’m sure there’s been many a tube floated down into the abyss.
Now it’s time to stagger back to your room and throw on some hair gel, then get yourself out to meet your new friends. If you really feel up to it you can repeat the exact same thing every day you’re there. When you’re done, head to a new town and sleep for a week, dreaming of your quick return.
Best Time To Go
November to March is when the weather is at its best.
(Spring Break)²: You + excessive drinking + third-world safety standards…what could go wrong?
To get to Vang Vieng you’ll need to hitch a bus, van, or car from Vientiane. It’ll be a 3-5 hour ride and will set you back about 35,000 to 60,000 kip ($4-7). Renting a tube will cost you about 50,000 kip ($6) with another 60,000 kip ($7) for deposit. As for the alcohol….well let’s just say its cheap….really cheap.
- Check out on of the city’s so called “TV Bars” to watch your favorite sitcoms. Vang Vieng’s TV Bars are a mix between a restaurant and a theatre, and are great places to nurse a hangover.
- See the Tham Poukham, also known as the Blue Lagoon, for another relaxing break from your debauchery. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also rent a head torch and explore on of the nearby caves.
- If you need to redeem yourself for your lascivious behavior on the river, check out Vang Vieng’s organic farm, which offers volunteering opportunities, and lodging to travelers.
- Vang Vieng is small enough that you’ll be able to get around town by foot, but for extra style points you can rent a Tuk Tuk for the whole day for about 130,000-150,000 kip ($16-19),
John Peters is an avid blogger and loves to party. His company has many exciting packages like cheap holidays Turkey all inclusive and Greece.