Anyone who has gone Tubing in Laos uses the same word – “awesome”.
I am currently in Vang Vieng (Laos) nursing several injuries after one hell of a day. Tubing is quite hard to describe. Imagine an 18-30’s holiday TV advertisement and stretch it throughout a day. Throw in a river, tractor inner tubes and rope swings and you get the general idea. If you still can’t picture it I have made a video for you!
Tubing is great fun and unlike anything I have ever seen or done before. However, the experience can sour if you are not careful. We had been advised by several backpackers to be mindful of the time. I think we were having too much fun to notice…
We found ourselves at the penultimate bar with only a few tubes. We had to share one between three which is a particularly difficult feat. I can only speculate that people steal them and collect the deposit. It soon became dark very quickly and despite being beautiful, star light wasn’t particularly helpful. We all linked up and I guess we thought there was safety in numbers at least.
We hit a patch of fast rocky water and found ourselves split up. I must admit I was pretty scared. I couldn’t see anything or anyone. I’d heard that only four days before a young guy on his honeymoon had drowned. Was certainly food for thought as I was on my own in the dark floating down a strange river. I managed to scramble to a riverbank but the current was so strong that I fell and hit some rocks and would have been swept away if I hadn’t of been pulled out by one our party (thanks Nick you literal lifesaver). Half of our party had made it to the same riverbank but we had no idea where the rest were. We couldn’t see a way out besides a fence which couldn’t be climbed so we ended up knocking it down. We had just knocked our way through into someone’s back garden while they were sat in it!
All I said was: “Taxi?”
You wouldn’t get away with that in the UK!
To cut a long story short we made it back safely and the others had managed to make it to a different riverbank and get a taxi. It wasn’t entirely a happy ending though. During our treacherous adventure a local boy had swam out to us, helped us paddle and then swam off. Turns out while we were distracted by the thought of drowning, he was busy robbing a bag which had four girls passports, cameras and purses.
Despite all this I would still do it again. Tubing is so much fun. It just happens to also be a bit dangerous. My advice would be don’t do it in the dark! The guys and girls have gone to do it again today! My knee and ankle is painful to walk on so I gave it a miss. Who puts big rocks in the river for me to fall into? Silly if you ask me.
On a happier note, enjoy the video!