Tubing down the river

 

Laos, December 2016

Having spent the past 6 months traveling through 7 countries, I was starting to think that I knew what to expect from South East Asia. Laos, however, showed me that this was not true at all. If I am honest, we nearly didn’t go to Laos. We knew next to nothing about this country, its troubled history or its awe inspiring landscape when we made the decision to visit.

In December 2016, we arrived at our first stop Vang Vieng. Once famous as one of the original backpacker’s party towns, Vang Vieng is synonymous with one thing: Tubing. A true backpacker’s right of passage. For those not familiar with tubing, you basically float down the river in a tractor tire inner tube whilst soaking in the sun and spectacular views of the limestone mountains which peer at you from all sides in this town.

Tubing down the river - Laos, 2016

Whilst the town still hums with the energy of drunken flashpackers in the evening, the river tubing has become a somewhat more serene experience. The river has four bars along its banks. These bars open in alternate pairs, meaning that there are only two drinking stops on the route. By the end of route, a mandatory zip-line into the river awaits for you. Have a taste of my adventure in the video below:

Vang Vieng is a great place to spend a few days relaxing. The Smile Beach Bar is still one of the most beautiful places that I have ever spent a lazy day, and the gin and tonics I drank in that hammock by the river front were truly amongst the best in Asia. Add in stunning viewpoints, cave tubing, zip-lining, rock climbing, several local cave complexes to explore and chill out bars, you have everything you need to an amazing backpacking destination. My only advice would be to go soon, I have the distinct feeling that this sleepy little escape from the world will be a very crowded place within the next few years.

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This memory belongs to our new Passenger: Tariq El Tayara, @legalbackpacker . All the pictures and video belong to Tariq's personal archive. To know more about our Passenger @legalbackpacker, click here.

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