Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos, is the most fun you will ever have without taking your clothes off.
Well, I would say that, but I actually saw a guy go off one of the rope swings while naked, so I guess that’s out the window!
Needless to say, tubing in Vang Vieng is one of the greatest parties on the planet and a mandatory stop on the Southeast Asia backpacker party trail.
The concept of Vang Vieng tubing is simple: You rent an inner tube in town for 55, 000 kip (about $7 USD) plus a 60, 000 kip deposit ($7.50), which includes a three-kilometer tuk-tuk ride to the start of the tubing route.
Once you arrive, turn right and walk ten minutes down to where the bars start. The first one is Q Bar. From there, you can grab a beer or bucket and, when you’re ready to move on, throw your belongings into a dry bag and float down the river to the next one! The Lao boys will throw you a soda bottle attached to a rope and haul you in.
The bars are filled with great music, dancing, beer pong, big $2 beers, free Lao Lao shots, buckets galore, and tons of rope swings and slides.
People write all over each other’s bodies with markers and paint, and everyone seems to outdo each other to see who can be the most offensive. And there are SO, SO, SO many good-looking people around!
You can tube all the way down the river, which takes a few hours, but you’re likelier to end where the tuk-tuk dropped you off in the morning. A tuk-tuk back costs 10, 000 kip per person ($1.25). You need to be back before 6:00 PM to get your full deposit back.
At night, people move on to the bars in town. The party never ends in Vang Vieng!
Vang Vieng: Built On Partying.
The town of Vang Vieng has completely given in to backpackers. Walk through the town and you’ll find dozens of bars playing episodes of Friends and Family Guy on a loop, stores selling fake Ray-Bans and tubing t-shirts, and street vendors with pancakes and burgers.
Many consider Vang Vieng to be a “paradise lost” – it used to be nothing more than a sleepy Lao town in a breathtaking natural setting. I admit that these people have a point. But to be quite honest, as a twenty-something backpacker with a penchant for the nightlife, the Vang Vieng of today is my idea of paradise.
There are lots of quiet towns in Laos if Vang Vieng isn’t your cup of tea. Try Nong Khiaw or Muang Sing.
While the model detailed above is the typical tubing itinerary, don’t think you have to stick to it –
You can tube while sober. I did that and had a great time.