Tubing in Vang Vieng

From Vientiane we took a bus jam packed with backpackers to the party capital of Laos, Vang Vieng. Vang Vieng is quite unique in several ways. The first we noticed was the restuarants with multiple TVs loudly playing popular American comedies and movies. There were at least three places constantly playing episodes of Friends, another playing The Simpsons and another (our favourite) playing Family Guy. These places have raised platforms with lots of cushions and blankets and were difficult to leave once we got comfy.

The demographic of the place is also interesting. There are many more tourists in the town than locals, and these are nearly all young backpackers. The streets get very noisy as the day goes on, as most tourists start drinking early in the day and continue until closing time (which is 11:30 across Laos due to government policy).

There are lots of outdoor activities to enjoy in Vang Vieng, the most popular of which is tubing. This involves taking a tuktuk upstream for a few kilometres, inserting yourself inside a tractor inner tube, and gracefully floating back into town. The process is made more interesting by the number of bamboo shacks along the way which serve beer and provide tall rope swings for the adventurous to tackle. The combination of sun, alcohol, and acrobatics makes for some spectacular belly flops and entertaining viewing.

We hired a motorbike for a day and cruised out of town to a small lagoon. Our first ever experience riding motorcycles was a little scary at first, but as the bikes were not very powerful and clutchless, Marty caught on quickly and soon we were off with the wind in our hair. The lagoon was beautifully clear and blue with myriads of fish, a small rope swing and a tree to jump from. The day was extremely pleasant and whet our appetites for motorbike cruising.

Another day we spent relaxing and drinking smoothies in a couple of hammocks in a thatched hut by the river. In the evening the small island in the town becomes party central, with bonfires, dance music, whisky buckets and tons of atmosphere.

In addition to the activities available, Vang Vieng is also very pretty with limestone peaks cut out by the river and cute wooden bridges. It's a must visit for anyone traveling in the region and one of our very favourite places. Unfortunately we spent so much time enjoying ourselves and relaxing that we didn't take a single photo!

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