The big day. Tubing time fellows! With great apprehension, I signed up for it. With no idea of how to swim, I had volunteered myself to float down a river in a tyre tube!
Where – Vang Vieng
How Much – 7-8 USD with pick up and drop
How Long – 4-5 hours
Safe? – Yes, don’t drink too much
What to carry – A dry bag, you can buy it in town. Carry only some money for drinks and phone if required
By the way, there are a whole many adventurous things to do here like kayaking, ziplining, rock climbing, etc. for anyone who knows me, none of these are my go-to activities. So I stayed clear of them and decided tubing would be the only thing I should really experience since it’s synonymous with this place.
I paid 60k for the tubing and waited at the reception. Was joined by gavin soon after and we left at 1230. A tuk tuk took a bunch of us to the first stop a few kilometres off to pick up the tubes. If you want a life jacket, make sure to tell the driver and get it from this spot. I made the mistake of not telling him somehow and spent the rest of the time in anxiety. Once the tubes are stuffed amidst the people in the van, a few kilometres north and you are dropped off. That’s it, no instructions, nothing. You are on your own. We changed quickly and set off in the cold water southwards. The trip is leisurely and slow, I mean damn slow. Be prepared to row with your hands to steer yourself as the current would tend to pull you to random sides.
In sometime we reached the first bar where the boys ashore threw filled water bottles tied to ropes near you. Catch hold of it and they drag you to them and help you out. You’d probably find a bunch of people already partying on the spot, I mean playing beer pong and chit chatting. I picked up an apple cider and we spent about 30-40 minutes at this spot talking about random stuff.
Once the sun got too much to us, we decided to head on and picked up our tubes again. The next ride was to be bloody long, I mean almost 45 mins + if I am not wrong. Wedged in the tube, I was constantly steering myself to keep near the other people. Just in case you see. Once the next stop was in sight, I frantically steered towards it as the current was pulling me the other side. By the time I reached the shore, my arms felt like they had gone through a day’s workout. And all of this only to realise later that the entire stretch near the bar was barely 3 feet deep. Too bad. But this was winter, so perhaps in the wet season it would be much deeper. We loaded up on lunch here as it was nearly 3 and chilled for a good 1 hour here with some Irish fellows creating a lot of ruckus. They can be a handful I say.
We set off again and the last stop wasn’t too far, barely 20 mins away. I drank to my stomach’s fill here and watched people use the zip line to jump into the river. It tempted me enough to google swimming lessons near my house in india so that I could go back and rid this regret once and for all. As the sun began to recede, we clothed up and the tuk tuks arrived to take us back. The cold bumpy read to the hostel had me convinced that it was a good choice to have experienced this. And I would strongly recommend it to anyone coming here.