We spent 1 full day in Vang Vieng on a miniature tour within our tour where we went kayaking and tubing. We were driven out into the mountains to tube in a cave. The water was freezing and many of our tour group got scratched up and bruised and returned to the picnic zone frozen to the bone. It seemed poorly organized and was right next to zip lining and one of our group got kicked by a person zipping past. After the tubing we had lunch which the tour provided which was nice.
The fried rice was given to us in leaves. It was filling and refreshing. Most of us made sandwiches out of the kebabs and the baguette. After lunch we hiked back through the fields along rice fields and over the river to get back into our truck. We were driven to the rivers edge, given a crash courses in kayaking and then split off into groups of two with our guides at the beginning and end of our line. We had a lot of fun, playing miniature racing games. I utterly exhausted myself because my partner was goading the other kayaks leading us to get splashed a lot. I spent most of my time rowing as fast as I could as my partner laughed watching others crash harmlessly. There were also people slowly tubing through the river, children swimming, and people fishing. Along the bank were river bars and our guides led us towards one about half way through our course. I spent my time resting and drying off. The rest of my tour bought alcoholic slushies that were tasty but big, playing basketball on a court that sprayed everyone in water, and playing volleyball.
If anything feels like Vang Vieng it’s something like a riverside bar. Vang Vieng is the party area of Laos. Tourists go to drink and party. Some of the other people walking around were pretty…toasted. To the point we were ready to leave, they were just a bit too out of it to be fun to play a game of volleyball with or able to easily avoid and were a bit hazardous to themselves.
I think the idea of a riverside bar sound lovely. But it wasn’t as fun as I had hoped. Climbing up through the mud to get to it and then being surrounded by people stumbling around plastered just wasn’t my cup of tea. Plus I was not interest in drinking a lot and then having to figure out how to row and not crash, again. (my kayak partner was busy laughing at people who crashed behind us and we ended up beaching ourselves on some rocks) I guess if you go just be careful and be safe, one of the girls we ran into got her leg cut open because she wasn’t paying attention and too drunk to really take care of it herself.
There’s a couple kayaking/tubing options in Vang Vieng and it can be fun. I really enjoy kayaking so kayaking across the river was a fun way to see Vang Vieng with a tour guide and to go past all the people tubing (we were told we wouldn’t go tubing through the river because it was too slow and we wouldn’t make it before dark). I ended up rowing so hard due to our mini racing games and to avoid getting splashed that I got blisters by the next day. Our kayaking/tubing adventure took most of the day and dropped us off back at our hotel in time to get ready for dinner.