(Day 285 to 288)
02.09.2010 - 05.09.2010 37 °C
The main reason for coming to Vang Viang is to go “tubing” down the Nam Xong river, sitting on tractor tire inner-tubes. It’s great fun, especially seeing its rainy season which means the days are hot and dry (rain seems to only pour at night) but the river is full and fast. As you float down the river you pass bars lining the river, blasting the latest tunes out to entice you to stop and buy a drink. Each bar has a few swings, slides and jumps into the river and I (Martin) had a blast trying them all.
Floating past a bar in a tube with the force of rainy season water pushing you down fiercely is a difficult task, but the guys working there throw ropes and tubes for you to catch hold of, and they pull you in. Or sometimes they can’t throw and you just keep drifting away, paddling fanatically until you finally reach a bush you can hang onto on the bank, to break your crazy free flow down to Vietnam!! (Ask Steph, she knows )
The river itself is muddy and we were all pouring eye-drops every 4hrs to avoid conjunctivitis, which every other person seems to catch after tubing..
On our last day in Vang Viang, we went exploring the countryside and had a swim in a lovely clean cool, crystal blue waterfall near rice paddies. The evenings were spent lazily watching “Friends” on tv, this (or Family Guy/ The Simpsons) was showing in every single place serving food.
Whilst this was a fun stop for us, it is unfortunate that here the Lao tradition and village life has been totally replaced with tourism and western ways. It doesn’t feel like Laos and although it will take a while, it is moving in the same direction as Phuket and Koh Pha Ngan in Thailand. I feel very sad for the locals, everywhere it’s a western style restaurant, playing western movies all day, shops selling tourist clothes, internet cafes everywhere and teenagers walking around drunk in their bikinis (a big no-no in Lao culture). Finally here, whilst the tubing was fun, nothing much is local, but hey we got the tshirt