We travelled by early bus to Vang Vieng, a former party town famous for ‘tubing’. We spent our arrival day sleeping and checked out the high street restaurants that evening. The next morning we got up early to cycle to The Blue Lagoon, a popular, highly-rated tourist spot a 50 minute cycle ride from the town. The scenery was fantastic, and whilst some of the hills were slightly challenging with bikes without gear changes, it was well worth it to see the rice fields, surrounding mountains and local villages.
The ride was not worth it, however, for The Blue Lagoon. Photos from a few years ago show a remote, turquoise blue lagoon surrounded by greenery and overhanging trees, with a few dive boards and rope swings for those tourists who ventured to its waters. When we arrived, we found a murky green river surrounded by bamboo huts and on one side a cheap plastic water slide; the fields were gone and replaced by a gravel carpark full of adventure buggies and market stalls. One swing remained on a leftover tree, and not much else of what we had hoped to find. We decided to cycle back straight away and begin tubing early.
Tubing is where you rent a giant rubber ring, take a tuk tuk upriver and ride the ring down a natural lazy river that winds its way passed the mountains close by. In the past, hundreds of bars lined the river, offering drinks, drinking and sports games, ziplining, diving boards etc. Multiple tourist deaths led to this being shut down and now only a few bars are allowed to remain open, the ghosts of zip lines and tree swings on the river side. It was still so fun though! We visited two bars, taking our beers with us back in the tubes as we floated slowly downriver, gazing up at the mountains and listening to the music blaring out of the bars. One bar had water ping pong and basketball, and as I found out, extremely strong cocktails. I (aka Hannah) had one beer and two cocktails and by the end of our four hour cruise I just about got my tube back to the rent shop and spent the rest of the day napping. Props to Blake for getting us both and our tubes out the river and back to town, hope you had as much fun as I did.(We couldn’t take our phones tubing to take photos, but this photo from online gives you a good idea.)
It was just a flying stop to Vang Vieng, so the next day we were back to Luang Prabang to take our evening flight on to Hanoi, Vietnam!!!!