Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…not just tubing in Vang Vieng


While it is/was tubing that made Vang Vieng such a popular stopping off point, in my few days there I found out there was more to do in an area surrounded by mountains and with a big river running by.


Stop me if this sounds familiar, but I went tubing. Not with bars and beers, but with caves, low ceilings and ropes to pull yourself along.

After a quick lunch and a ‘tour’ to a temple in a cave we headed to the river for a bit of kayaking. The route went past the proper tubing area, including a stop at a bar that used to be on the course but got cut off because of petty administration/it was killing people.


Back in town, or in village, and lots of the main street is taken up by bars to carry on the party spirit for the tubers. A lot of the rest of it is made up by weird bars/cafes where all the seats are pointing to a TV on the wall that’s almost invariably showing Friends reruns but occasionally puts on Family Guy. Multiple locations.


Luckily I was staying a street — or a disused airstrip — away from the main drag, meaning I could escape these frivolties when I wanted to. It also meant I could go to the markets on my side of town and Vang Vieng is the first place I tried sapodilla, a fruit that tastes like toffee.

There were other excursions to do, mountains to explore, but given the place’s reputation I only booked a short stay but at least I have the colour bracelets to prove I was there (update: I cut these off because they weren’t blessed and they were starting to smell).



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