Tag Archives: vang vieng

Up with the Larks

23 Mar

So we’ve arrived in Luang Prabang, Laos, and, as ever, I’m still trying to work out whether the benefits of night buses — saves a day’s travel and the cost of a room — are outweighed by the pitiful condition in which we reach our destination. Continue reading

The Joy of Tubing

21 Mar

Z tubing the Nam Song river, Vang Vieng, Laos

Every bit as fun as it looks

Tubing, or floating down a river in a tractor inner tube, is what brought us to Vang Vieng, Laos, where the locals have made a kind of lethal artform out of it.

The deal is this. You hire your inner tube, put your faith and your cash in a Lao drybag then pile into a tuktuk for the Nam Song river a few kilometres out of town. Thence you laze downstream, past riverside bars equipped with attractions from slides to rope swings, zip wires, mud wrestling and slingshots, through the odd set of rapids, then down past tranquil scenes of wallowing water buffalo back to town.

Where the lethality comes in, obviously, is the attractions. Oh, and the way they combine with stimulants, I guess. Continue reading

Bang Bang, Vang Vieng

21 Mar

View of huts and karsts, Vang Vieng, Laos

The View From Here

Vang Vieng, Laos. Sullied paradise. Stoner playground. Backpacker hell. Apparently not the ideal destination to explore with child in tow, silkscreen landscape, gorgeous river and tubing paradise notwithstanding.

My son, however, is loving the place, from our hippyesque hut on the river to the identikit TV bars, international restaurants, pancake stands and, err, brownie stores which line the main drag, producing a sense of total dislocation, even without any herbal assistance. Continue reading

Age-Appropriate Reading (Again)

17 Mar

Z is scrutinising Lonely Planet South-East Asia with an expression I can only describe as panic.

“Mum,” he says. “I really don’t think it’s a good idea to go to Vang Vieng.”

Vang Vieng, Laos, is a destination I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing over, as it happens. On balance, I reckon that an other-worldly landscape, white water tubing and caves will more than compensate for the prevalence of happy pizza joints, Western teenagers revelling in reefer-fuelled freedom from the parental home, and 21-year-old Israelis obliterating the memory of their military service. Plus someone has recommended a good guesthouse that’s out of town.

Furthermore, nine-year-old boys and 18-30s on mushroom shakes have rather more in common than either side might care to think. On balance, folk of an age to have children, nephews, nieces etc. think Z will love the tubing, as do I. Folk closer in age to Z than me think that witnessing such decadent scenes of canage will be traumatic for the pair of us. Continue reading