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Vang Vieng, Laos

In the Tubing

sunny 90 °F

This once quiet river town is now THE tubing capital of the world (minus the actual tubing). Now a top destination in Laos for young travelers, the river is lined with a hodgepodge of bars with massive water features designed to lure people in for a drink… rope swings, slides, zip lines, jumping platforms, trapezes, you name it. Just think college spring break with $1.20 bucket drinks after the first free one. So we rented our inflated truck sized inner tube, and took a jumbo (tuk tuk) 4 km up the river to tube back down. As we entered the water we were thrown lines and urged to visit the numerous bars, talk about fresh meat! Some bars even have children wading in the water with life jackets on who will push you towards their parents’ bar… a little disheartening. It turns out that most people only actually tube for a few hundred meters of the intended 4k stretch of river because they get stuck partying at the first few bars. In fact, some people we spoke with didn’t even bother with renting a tube at all… they just took the tuk tuk up to the first bars and hung out there all day.

We were determined to make the entire trip down the river, which is in fact, A LOT harder than it sounds during the dry season. Apparently, during the wet season, the trip takes just one hour. However, during the dry season, the trip takes upwards of 3 hours (and that is if you don’t stop at any of the bars)! We took our time to try out some of the water attractions and ended up with more than a workout trying to paddle downstream in time to return the tubes before we lost our deposit. Of course Robin visited the Slide Bar (home of the Death Slide) that killed a few Australians a few weeks earlier. We didn’t have our camera, but this is what the ‘Death Slide’ looks like:

We found a guesthouse set in a beautiful garden on the other side of the main strip and although many say that the city has been destroyed by the tubing folks, we had a relaxing stay in the Maylyn Guesthouse:

Contrary to popular believe there is more than tubing in Vang Vieng! There are numerous trails to hike and mountain bike, a small rock climbing community and a bunch of caves to explore. There is a cute organic farm with goats that is set up for volunteers (morning goat milking and farming with an afternoon of helping kids and monks with their English). The roads are dusty and littered with potholes, but make a great time with mountain bikes through the quiet countryside. With our bikes we visited the Than Phu Kham cave and a blue lagoon. These were definitely fun and worth the time exploring. The lagoon even had rope swings and a perfectly placed tree for jumping off of 

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 20:07 Archived in Laos Tagged vang vieng tubbing

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wow what fun!

by megandibiase

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