Tubing is Laos is an amazing experience. If you are a youngish traveller and are looking for a truly surreal experience, I couldn't recommend tubing in Laos enough. If you are planning to visit Thailand or anywhere else in South East Asia over the September â€“ February period, Laos has to be on the agenda somewhere.
Tubing is the core activity of Vang Vieng, a small town in central Laos, between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. It is situated on a river which is an offshoot of the Mekong River. The town is tiny, with the centre consisting of about 4 streets by 4 streets. It is a quaint little place with cafes, bars, guest houses & internet cafes, all playing the Simpsons and Friends on repeat and pumping out Bob Marley tunes.
It's quite, sleepy and warm. Until you get onto the river!
The main attraction of the town is what is called Tubing.
There is a tubing station in town where everyone goes to each day. You rent a tube (an inner tube of a truck inflated) for a few dollars and a truck drives you up the river about 3km. During peak season there are lots of tourists that travel here, and you will usually end up in a full truck. You will then take your tube into the river and float back down to town. This however is no ordinary quite, float down the river experience.
Along your journey from drop off to town, you will find a number of bars situated on the river bank. The bars are gorgeous, made form bamboo platforms, with little wooden huts to serve you drinks and another with a DJ blasting out popular music. There will be a little Lao man standing on the side of the river bank for each bar, gesturing you to come in and join the experience. If you accept his gesture by waving your hands around madly, he will throw out a rope for you to grab onto and pull you into the bar. Here you can drink, sun bake, dance and be merry. Until its time to move on. Then you grab your tube, jump back into the river and float down to the next bar.
Each bar will have its own feature. Some have big flying foxes (zip lines) which you can zoom down and splash into the river. Be sure to let go before you hit the rubber stopper or you will find yourself doing a number of uncontrollable summersaults. Some have big rope swings that you can jump off. There is a bar called Mud Bar that has volleyball courts in mud pits. And the main bar is called slide bar which is down the end of the river.
Slide Bar is a large bar with loads of fun activities to do. It has a big water slide (go figure) made out of bathroom tiles and garden hoses which you can take your tube onto and it will shoot you up into the air. It has a large 10m high rope swing and zip line. It has a volley ball court. A table tennis table and a mini football field all inside the bar. Combined with large dance floor and sun baking area, it's the stuff dreams are made of.
Combine all of this with hundreds of travellers â€“ girls and guys, beers for less than $1, and $10 per night accommodation â€“ it's the ultimate party experience.