Dangers of Tubing in Vang Vieng

By Jonny Blair

Things on our travels don't always go well and here is my story of how NOT to go tubing in Vang Vieng in Laos - yes it's a great place but there are dangers and things can just go horribly wrong...I'm advising travellers to stay safe and careful!

Vang Vieng is a party town so head there, meet new friends and party the night away without a care in the world. Just be aware that you are going tubing the next day and you want to be in a fit and able state for that!

It was an early start to move hostels and enjoy a French baguette and Irish Coffee breakfast to get ready for the day of tubing! A truck picked us up after a spot of poll playing in a local pub. We didn't pay a penny so far and had arrived at the first bar of the tubing. Free shot on arrival. Too good to be true really, we still hadn't paid anything but I got on the beer at this bar, which is when I first bought a drink.

The next few hours were crazy and amazing - meeting new people, drinking, partying, dancing and singing. It was all good fun!!

Before starting the tubing I bought one of those tubing waterproof bags. Big mistake by the way - they are not safe or secure in any way. I shouldn't have bought one and I shouldn't have brought it with me. After getting in my tube at the second bar, I struggled in the fast waters and didn't make it over to the next bar. In amidst the struggle I lost my wallet and camera and my green waterproof bag in the madness of it all. It was gone forever.

When the waterproof bag headed deep into the Nam Song river, it took with it my wallet, my cards and my camera. It was a disaster. I made it to the next bar to meet my mate Chaz but I was down and out with no money or anything.

I got a drink off my mate and managed to still have my flip flops and my travelling Northern Ireland flag. But I had lost the more important things - camera and wallet.

I then picked up an ear infection from swimming in the Nam Song. The only saving grace being that my passport was back at the hostel safe and that I was well.

After the third bar and with no money or anything, I walked along looking in vain for a clue as to where my wallet had gone. I was in the middle of nowhere and it was getting dark.

A local girl called Mickey saved the day, popping over with a scooter asking me to jump on and giving me a ride through the pouring rain back to the town of Vang Vieng. Pure madness. I was safe and well, but the tubing experience had been a bad one.

Drugs and alcohol are readily available in Vang Vieng and in the tubing. Be careful and watch out for the countless people on magic mushrooms and opium!

Here's the lessons I learnt from the horrible tubing experience in Vang Vieng, Laos:

- The only thing you need to take tubing is money. You could even do it naked as long as you have money!

- DON'T take - a camera, keys to hostel rooms, wallets, credit cards, passports (as you can see I still have photos of the tubing experience thanks to Chaz and friends so a camera is not an essential - leave it behind and enjoy the party)

- DON'T take a waterproof bag - they are useless!

- Go easy on the alcohol consumption

- Try not to take drugs (there are lots available)

In closing - head to the town of Vang Vieng and go tubing but be very careful - it's dangerous, people die tubing every year.

You will still enjoy the town of Vang Vieng!

Happy travels!

Have fun checking out Vang Vieng...

Don't Stop Living!

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