Vang Vieng Travel Blog› entry 157 of 254 › view all entries
After breakfast, we joined the queue in the centre of town for the popular backpacker activity of tubing. This involves sitting in a tractor inner tube and floating down the Nam Song River. We got in a tuk tuk to the starting point, carried our tubes down to the river and plopped in! We started to slowly float down the river; it seems every activity in Laos is designed to be relaxing.
Fairly soon after setting off we realised why it is such a popular pastime with backpackers: the beer. We soon reached the first bar, stocked with beerlao and a free zip line across the river to entice customers. We gave this a miss and floated down a little further, before stopping at another riverside bar. This one gave us a free shot of the local firewater 'lao lao' which was fairly grim, and we sat on the bank with a beerlao.
The best part was actually further down past the bars, where you could float in peace, and admire the scenery. At various points were Lao people selling beer, including one woman perched precariously underneath a bridge! Very surreal. We continued down the river, and after three or four hours were getting to the point where we'd had enough. Simultaneously, the sky went black. Luckily, we had reached a point where there were tuk tuks so decided to get out and get a lift back to the town. Unfortunately, we were sharing a tuk tuk with an individual who was clearly deranged, as he refused to pay the tuk tuk man, and along with his friend, refused to get out and walk.
The incident marred what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable day. It's a great pity that the odd person lets down the majority of travellers who endeavor to get on well with, and show respect for, their hosts.