The famous Mekong River is one of the longest rivers in the world and one of the most adventurous ones at the same time. Its side channels around Vang Vieng offer fantastic conditions for water activities. At first sight, Vang Vieng is a pretty placid place, and no one would expect this peaceful fishing village to be the party capital of South-East Asia.
THE TUBING PARADISE
Vang Vieng has become a “party mecca” for many international backpackers for a very particular sort of amusement – river tubing. It is this simple: you rent a tube and they drive you upstream river to the main drop off point. That is where the ‘madness’ starts and there is no way back. From now on, you will be floating down a milky-brown river, encircled by dense jungle, muddy pools with zip lines, water-slides and rope swings. The experience brings you back to the movie “The Return of Tarzan”.
The 4 km-long tubing route could be done within just an hour if … if it was not all about drinking. To be more exact, there are several bamboo-structured bars along the banks of the river from both sides and their staff will be more than happy to help you to get out of the river, here and there, throwing you a thick rope to hold on and pulling you out.
The purpose of this “excursion” is to get drunk as much as possible stopping from bar to bar on your way to the finishing point, where you have to manage to get out of the river – this time completely by yourself, otherwise, you will end up castaway in the middle of nowhere.
The riverside bars often offer cool music, free shots, a huge variety of drinking games. Besides they sell soft drugs. Already the fact that whisky is served in buckets indicates that it would not be ordinary fun.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN VANG VIENG
Vang Vieng is well-known for being a backpackers town but it also offers many other activities.
The nearby karst valley features breathtaking scenery, numerous limestone caves, and ethnic villages. Visitors will surely take pleasure in having a refreshing dip in one of the stunning waterfalls or emerald pools in the lush countryside. Even though tubing is the main point of interest in Vang Vieng, you do not necessarily need to go through this controversial experience. There is are great alternatives – kayaking and rafting.
WHEN TO GO
Vang Vieng is an amazing place to come anytime, considering the fact that most of the visitors would be doing water activities and it does not really matter if it rains or not. From November until February, the skies are blue and it can get a bit chilly in the mornings – this is the dry season. Between March and May, it gets very hot and humid. The rainy season runs from May to October, and many roads become impassable.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Luang Prabang (via Vientiane) and get a shuttle bus or a minivan to Vang Vieng (approx. 6-hour trip).
For international flights go to www.skyscanner.com or www.momondo.com
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