Our next stop was the infamous party town Vang Veing. Famous for tubing, however in recent years the crazy party scene has mellowed due to government restrictions placed on the numbers of bars on the tubing circuit. The removal of zip lines was after several casualties and 11 fatalities in 2011. We arrived here with an open mind, if it was really mental we would move on or embrace the party if it had a good vibe.
The latter was followed, after meeting Leigh and Anna in the Irish bar on our first night we planned to meet at 12 noon the following day to see what this tubing is all about.
After purchasing our tubes- large inflatable tyres we jumped in the back of a tuk tuk and headed for the 1st bar. As we arrived there was a huge game of Jenga with forfeits underway, as well as numerous games of beer pong. Before we knew it we had a tiger shot in our hand and the 1st bracelet on. It was time to show these kids that 30 is the new 20.
After a few drinks it was time to take to the river. Jumping in our tubes we floated along the river before being pulled in by a homemade line- string with a plastic bottle to the next bar.
This theme continued as we floated down the Mekong river from pub to pub. We really enjoyed a fun day with our new friends, everyone here was so friendly. John and Leigh enjoyed playing basketball and table tennis. They showed the young ones how it was done…although the next day both boys were sore all over. They maybe felt 18 but their bodies quickly reminded them otherwise.
Sorry for the lack of decent photos, we decided to leave the camera and phones behind. Instead we purchased a cheap water proof camera which was the first casualty of the day so our new friend Anna took some with her phone (Thanks Anna!).
With tubing done we set off to explore the caves nearby. Following rough directions from the guesthouse we came to two signs, Blue Lagoon at 7km away or another Cave to our left with no distance given. We chose poorly…
It was clear after 1.5 hours of trudging along over fields that the lack of distance on the sign was not in our favour. We eventually arrived at the ticket booth and made our way to the nearby cave.
We had to climb some rickety steps over barbed wire and then trek over the most rickety bridge we have seen followed by thick jungle. By the time we made the cave and were intercepted by a young boy ‘guide’ we had almost had enough. The fact that the caves were only accessible to someone who was the size of a small boy was the final straw and after taking some background photos we made our way back to town- tired and beaten.
But before our journey ended we had to survive not just the usual insects but cows… Who decided to set up a checkpoint on our path back and who started jostling with each other as we approached.
After that encounter John said the fateful words “Well at least that’s the worst that can happen”. 10 minutes later we were charged by a pack of goats and it was only the timely interdiction by the goat herder that changed their course.
To get our own back we had some beef for dinner. We couldn’t find any goat on the menu – only mutton :-).
A weird fact about Vang Vieng is that each and every bar shows episodes of Friends continuously all day without fail.