Trip Start Aug 19, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2011

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central backpackers

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Sunday, July 10, 2011

Known for tubing down the Nam Song River this teeny tiny town is famous worldwide. Lots of travellers we met around the world wear the famous vest saying 'In the Tubing, Vang Vieng, Laos' with a round tube logo in the middle all in various combinations of contrasting colours. The idea is for those that don’t know is to hire a tube from town that is made from the inner tube of a truck tire, go to the river and float down on it stopping en route to drink at the many bars that line it and jump into the river. You can buy all kinds of drinks and happy shakes and people get so wasted that a few people lose their lives in the river every year. Fear not, we are obviously too old to be going that crazy and wore life jackets, we were the only people that did but we didn’t care!

It is again a funny little town; we could instantly understand why the more sensible, more righteous ‘real traveller’ or just plain boring people we have met along our travels have said no way, not going there. It is a little bit like how people regard the full moon party in Thailand. A bit too much for them with a hell of a lot of tourists getting drunk, but we had always factored this place in to the end of our trip!

We arrived through acres and acres of lush green forestry and mountains; Laos has an incredible back drop with gorgeous green landscape we rode through such beautiful scenery that when we arrived it felt like what I imagine Las Vegas to be; nothing around then suddenly a town pops up out of nowhere! Our first sight were bikini clad girls, with fluorescent paint half rubbed off and mud to their knees staggering down the street, half naked boys shouting and laughing…make of that what you will! We looked for a hostel and decided we needed to rest some more for a few days before embarking on any tubing or drinking madness.

We got told there are over seventy hostels here which is impressive considering there is only one main street with a few dotted off it in the middle of nowhere, the bars and restaurants that line the street are big with huge comfortable pillows and seating areas all over the raised platforms with small leg tables and huge televisions showing mostly re runs of friends and south park. Most of the places here are like that, which seems a bit odd but for us was easy to get into it, laying down with a cold beer and in my case a can of coke eating tuna baguettes and pizza watching some mindless tv repeats was just what we needed!

We spent a while here and once completely recovered from general fatigue and sickness from Malarone, we spent days getting un-recovered! There is no polite way of saying we met some wicked friends Kim and Paul for breakfast at 10am and drank from that point on for the next twelve hours, I was casualty number one that night. We went tubing the next day with the same friends and to our surprise found a perfect little bar to start off in after having missed the first two bars on the sides of the river which were packed full of 18 year olds and non-descript music we found Fluid bar; chilled beats, funky hammocks and a guy with dreads offering up his alternative vibe. It was brilliant, we chilled out drank a few bottles to take the edge off and jumped back on our tubes and head down to the Bob Marley bar which had a bottle of whisky on the table, for free. We felt obliged and ended the night dancing with some German boys and an old local who was completely off his trolley; he kept cheers-ing us, giving us free beer and posing for pictures with us!

We drifted down the river back to town in a state of euphoria, shouting our abuses at each other and discussing the complexities of the Laos mountains being impenetrable making them even more beautiful; it was a perfect end to a perfect trip, although we have 12 days remaining it felt the last time we were going to party and although we have done a fair bit of partying on this trip, this time felt epic. It was bloody brilliant; the pictures look filthy and my descriptions cant do it justice, all I can say is when you are jamming on a makeshift raft drinking whisky with randoms dancing in your swimming trunks and the sun is setting down on a gorgeous landscape; at that moment nothing else can exist. Anish was casualty number two that night after we staggered down the road to our hostel in soaking wet trunks, laughing hysterically, cuts and brusies all over our bodies and body paint everywhere discussing how we were in fact those people we had saw on the first night. Make of that what you will!
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Jigna on

OMG! We were supposed to go tubing this weekend, it is totally a college/uni student thing, everyone getting drunk and silly and sun burnt! Just past Austin there are these rivers. Sadly, we are not going, it just ended up being a faff, and the river levels are pretty low and so well anyways, it did not happen. We have postponed to September, when hopefully the costs will be lower and river levels higher! Your tubing experience, looks like so much fun. Hopefully you have some time to recover, wow 12 more days! Stay safe and enjoy! Love you, Jigna.

PS: I love the photo where you are are holding your nose to drink the shot, has to be some interesting Whiskey if you had to hold your nose!

roopa_anish on

thats so funny you were gonna go too-so true about the college kids, but hopefully there will be a 'fluid or bob marley bar' in Austoin too that you guys can kick back in-we honestly surprised ourselves at how much fun we had!!! love you thanks for lovely comment, home in 7days!!

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