Oct 2010. I love tubing! Tubing in Vang Vieng is all about the partying. Whomever came up with the idea of sending people down a river in an inner tube and getting them drunk was a genius. You start by heading to one of the two tubing stations in town where you pay the fee for the tube in addition to a deposit. The deposit is returned in full if you return by 6pm. The total cost is about 10USD for the tubing fee + deposit. Once you’re paid up and have signed the disclosure you’re loaded up into a tuk tuk and chauffeured a few km down the road to the starting point / first bar.
The locals who work the bars are all really friendly and eager to throw a great party. At the first bar there’s a water slide, body paint, and free lao lao (local whiskey)! The atmosphere is incredible as everyone starts up with a bucket, a shot of lao lao, or a can of beer lao. After everyone’s had their fill here it’s time to actually get into the tube and make your way down river to the next bar.
Vang Vieng is about 7 hours south of Luang Prabang and 3 hours north of Vientiane. It’s possible to get here by private bus from Luang Prabang and by public or private bus from Vientiane. The party never stops…unless the local authorities show up. While it’s definitely not anything like the rest of Laos and has no cultural relation whatsoever to Laos, tubing in Vang Vieng is a destination unto itself. No where else in the world will you find a party scene quite like this one. And if you’re too hungover to go tubing again the next day it’s easy to spend your day at the many restaurants that are showing Family Guy or Friends all day long.The next few bars offer up more buckets, free lao lao shots, and water slides. Some of them have rope swings that start at about 6m above the river, “beach” volleyball, mud volleyball, and one even has a zip line! Although the river has a dangerously fast current during the wet season it’s also at its highest level thereby making it the safest time of year to do the rope swings and slides. Despite this several people die here every year, usually because they’re too drunk or can’t swim or a combo of both. Regardless, if you can swim and you’re not too drunk definitely do the rope swing!!