Vang Vieng - A Study in Intoxication

The journey from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng was eventful for all the right reasons and then the wrong one. Stunning views and a crazy rock formation in the mountains, which we stopped to take photos of.

What a bus ride!

Unfortunately we witnessed something coming into Vang Vieng that will stick with us for the rest of our lives. A woman had been in a motorbike accident and was lying face down in the dirt with no-one helping her – she wasn’t moving and all we could hope was that she was unconscious, rather than the alternative. This put Vang Vieng in an even more bizarre context.

Vang Vieng has become a playground for young backpackers, all because of tubing. Hundreds flock here every week to experience this wild activity. Tubing is simply a bar crawl but instead of walking between bars, you take a big inflatable tractor inner tube down the fast flowing Nam Song River.
The view from our window
Excited young-uns mocking the significant danger of tubing
Boat crossing to the first bar

Bars have free whiskey (not as much as when I went three years ago), free spliffs (one place does), rope-swings, and lots of fun things. For everyone young enough, who still loves to get messy, it is paradise. Last time I was here I tubed and loved it and all its associated debauchery. This time, Katie decided she didn’t want to tube so we sampled the bar crawl, but walking not tubing. It was fun to observe the craziness and the surrealism of this beautiful area, turned hedonistic wet dream.

Jenga with dares on each brick
Notice the handy way of carrying your flip-flops

^^^I absolutely love this video! These guys were really cool.

The juxtaposition of Japanese kayakers going past all this partying was not lost on us. We imagined David Attenborough doing a documentary about “youths from around the world flocking to Vang Vieng for a bizarre mating ritual”. Katie wouldn’t let me do another video with my Attenborough impression though.

A monkey eating the remainder of a "cigarette"
We met a Korean and naturally she couldn't swim. Luckily she
was rescued from the raging waters by one of the bar owners
She enjoyed taking photos of herself! We found this hilarious!
Break the bridge and "be hit"

Besides tubing, Vang Vieng has many bars and restaurants selling everything – and everything happyfied.
Happy menu
After two nights of shockingly tame fun, we decided to leave with way more self respect left than your average Vang Vieng visitor.

Costs (per person)
Bus from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng = 110,000 Kip (£8.80, $13)
Vang Vieng Hotel per Double AC Room = 80,000 Kip (£7, $10)
Vang Vieng to Don Det (4000 Islands) Sleeper Bus = 285,000 Kip (£24, $35)