South East Asia is amazing – after several trips to South America I honestly didn’t think it was possible to find a better place to visit, but I was proved wrong last year. I spent 3 weeks travelling around Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia with a little bit of Thailand and Singapore. Here’s an extract from my diary of the trip…
Vang Vieng: 25th November 2009
Vang Vieng is famous for two things: tubing and Friends. It was the main reason we visited Laos in the first place (otherwise we would have continued down the Vietnamese coast). Mick’s friend Colm had spent a record 12 days tubing, so we reckoned it would be a good laugh.
Tubing involves three things: a tractor tube (largely useless on the day); buckets of whiskey (essential on the day) and zip lines (brilliant craic on the day). We started about 1pm at the first bar, which is situated 4km up-stream from VV. Before we hopped on the tuk-tuk, we met an English girl who told there were 12 bars along the way and that we’d be lucky to get to the 4th. We scoffed at her challenge, but as things played out, 4 bars were about all we managed. Well, we also managed to lose our money and our tubes, but hey, that was the least of our worries. Tubing isn’t something you’d find in Europe, for all sorts of health and safety rules (many people have died on the river, including an Irish guy who drowned a few months ago).
The best bit is jumping off all the zip lines which hang off tree branches and the river bank. The first one makes you feel like a trapeze artist, although it’s really about watching other people make a mess of the jump and creaming themselves when they smack off the water. Kev made a good start by landing in the shallow part of the river and thereby cutting his feet to pieces. Luckily the local guy warned us to jump in the deep part of the river, AFTER Kev had jumped J
The buckets consist of whiskey and coke and keep you going for a good hour or so (between jumping, dancing and swimming). Each bar is pumping out music and is packed with people. It’s like being at a beach party in Ibiza or somewhere, except there’s no beach. After bar 3, we’d already lost Kev and I luckily found Mick again, but given that we’d lost our money, had to bum a drink of an Irish guy we’d met. We ended up without tubes and it was getting dark, so given our state didn’t even think about swimming down river. Got a tuk tuk back to town, where we bumped into 2 Canadian sisters – random meeting if ever there was one, but sure we made friends J