ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tubing Laos

Updated on March 10, 2011

Riding the River at an Extremely Leisurely Pace!

For years Vang Vien was a dusty little cross roads in the middle of Laos with few facilities, and of not much interest for a tourist apart as a place to visit toilet on the long bus ride between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. However, in recent times Vang Vien has become an absolute must for the thousands on the backpacker trail around South East Asia for one reason: Tubing!

Tubing, it has to be said, is not a widely known about activity outside of backpacker circles, but visit any bar or hostel with a group of people that have been travelling for more than a month and the conversation will quickly turn to tubing. At first you fail to understand what it is, and then why bobbing down a river in a tractor tyre inner-tube could be so exciting, but as the number of people you meet raving about it increases, you can't fail but be swept up by their enthusiam for this almost mythical activity.

And so it was, that a mere 5 months after initially setting out for South East Asia, I arrived in Vang Vien after a long and tiring bus ride from the beautiful world heritage site of Luang Prabang, utterly excited by the prospect of what may sound to an outsider as a fairly mundane experience. Now a firstly few things should probably be said about Vang Vien; it's very small, just a few streets, but covered in bars and restaurants showing endless reruns of South Park and Family Guy to hungover tourists. The whole place basically thrives on the understanding that most of the heavy drinking will probably be done on the river and that refuge in the town will be sought mainly to sleep, drink coffee, eat greasy, salty food and chill out watching mind-numbing American sitcoms or cartoons. Quite a few of the bars also have "Happy Menus", should you wish to get rid of your hangover illegally!

Right, onto what we really came here for! A tube can be rented for around $7 for the day, plus a deposit of about the same (it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that the tube wont make it back), for this you should also be driven out on a big tuk tuk to the setting off point further up the river. Here you can begin the day, before your toes have even felt the water, with a large Mojito made from mint and Laos-Laos, the local rice whisky or stick to the Beer Laos if you think you may be in danger of passing out early. So enter the water and off we go!

The order of the day is to let the light current take you dow the river where the locals have thoughtfully erected a multitude of bars on the banks. They throw ropes out to you as you bob by and will drag you into the bars using this method, often give you a free shot of the lethal laos-laos and then sell you beers at $1 a pop. Many of the bars also have extensive happy menus, if that's how you roll! The bars also have zip lines, rope swings and high diving boards into the river from their wooden decks. These swings get increasingly high the further down the river you travel, and presumably, the drunker you get! Pretty much all the bars have music of varying degrees of quality, and the biggest bar has table tennis tables, pool and a volley ball court!

Navigating your tube tends to be the job mainly of the currents and the bar men who'll pull you in with their ropes. There are about 15 bars in total of varying degrees of quality. Like everything else in Laos, there's no rush and if you miss bar or associated rope swing one day, you can always come back and do it again another. If you don't have a head for heights, then there is no obligation to do the bigger swings; I admit, I bottled a good number further down the river!

A whole day can be spent in this way, and a whole week if you have the liver for it. I'm not sure I've ever had more fun, and certainly never more fun in tractor tyre! When the sun goes down it's time to drunkenly find your way back to the city and hit a few of the bars there and get a bit of food to mitigate against the inevitable hangover that comes with spending 8 hours hitting the beer and laos-laos. I can't reccomend it highly enough!

If my article didn't do enough to sell it then please check out these links for further info, they can tell you boring stuff about suncream factors!


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • John Clipsters profile image

      John Clipsters 

      5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Great videos and pictures, hopefully when the safety issues are sorted out in Laos these fun and games can begin again.

      The tourists bring in money to the area and it is important, maybe fishing might gain an interest in the area, with tourist's in the future.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)