Vang Vieng is known for its party time tubing in the same way Daytona is known for Bike Week…everyone comes for a good time. Adam went ahead and played along.
For 50,000 kip which is about $6 you rent a huge intertube for the day, float down a river and stop at river side bars.
If only it were “just” that.
The tuk tuk drops you off with your tube at bar #1, after having a registration number written on your hand in marker, Adam and I were 17 and 18. The bar gives you free shorts (shots) all day of homemade bamboo whiskey and you of course partake in a beer lao. After a few slides down the big slide into the river, you head off in your tube to float a few 1000 feet down the river to bar 2.
When you approach, young men throw you a rope to pull you into their bar….basically it goes on like this through bar 3, 4, 5 and so on…all with a little variation of music and drinking games, including beer pong, mud volleyball, body painting, tug of war, swing jumping, ziplining and on this particular day, about 150 other people having the time of their lives.
After you float through the last bar and the “death slide” you have about an hour or so of floating down the river into some of the most magical scenery…only to try to get yourself out of the rapids when a man puts an oar out for your tipsy self to grab and pull to shore…it was quite a scene.
The town of Vang Vieng is very chill and small. It is a town full of guest houses, “happy” restaurants (where you can order opium enhanced dishes if you wish), and shops that sell the “i tubed in Vang Vieng” tshirt…which we did of course purchase.
At the restaurants, you lounge in oversize booths, more like beds with tables on them and watch season after season of Friends, Family Guy or South Park (it plays at every restaurant in town)
I’m glad we went and took the advice of others, to just go and have a blast!