We finally built up the courage to do tubing. After serveral death stories and roughly 80% of Vang Vieng with eye infections from the river, we decided to risk it as it was the main activity to do. Even our guide book talked about the deaths on the river!. We bought our tube (a big tractor tyre) and jumped on the tuk tuk. Even on the journey to the river, people were talking about friends who had accidents, head injuries, hospital trips etc!! We did wonder what we had let ourselves in for, but was no turning back! The tuk tuk dropped us in the middle of nowhere and left. We entered the first part of the stream, and it didnt seem too bad. After about ten minutes we hit the first few bars, long ropes with tyres on the end where being thrown in all directions.
Whilst in the bar, it was quite easy to see how accidents happen. Drinks were so cheap and its very easy to get into the party spirit, we ended up having their famous buckets of vodka for 2.50pounds. Bargain. The Zip wire was open and we had to have a go. It was quite high, and you had to hold on tight and let yourself go into the river when you had had enough! Was brilliant. After a few bars, we headed back down the rest of the river, the last 20minutes or so was brilliant. The scenery was amazing, really beautiful. There was only one stop to end the tubing and if you miss it you keep going down towards Vietianne!! There aout 10 children on the side aged about 5-8 who all jumped in and grabbed us and took us to shore - we thought they were really sweet until they all shouted money money!! The children start their business very young out here! Our hotel in Vang Vieng was run by 10 year old!! He was great! Anyway we gave them 10,000kip (about 90p) and they were happy. Was a fantastic day, we loved the tubing and would do it again.
Vang Vieng was a great experience, the bars were brilliant, we found a favourite which we kept going back to, all the bars play continuous episodes of friends too so keeps you going for hours. With a pound for a very large beer Martin was more than happy.
The following day we took the bus to Luang probang, it seemed to be circling higher and higher up the mountains really close to the edges - was quite scary. All Martin was talking about was the amount of landslides he could see which didnt help. There was also a lorry that had overturned in the opposite direction blocking the road - Road safety is not big out here! We arrived in one piece, again dropped in the middle of nowhere, with no idea where we had to go. We jumped in the nearest tuk tuk and headed for the centre. After looking around 10 or so guesthouses, it was clear that the prices was much higher here than other parts of Laos. We ended up negotiating a good price for a place called the wooden house, with a large rooms, tv, mini bar, fridge, very powerful shower and a massive bed - all for roughly 11pounds a night.
We had planned to explore the city on our first day but ended up getting a good deal with a local tuk tuk driver to take us to Kuang Si Waterfalls. It was beautiful, loads of swimming points and bear huts. The only problem is it ended up pouring with rain, but even with the rain the waterfalls were pretty spectacular. We had a nice group and ended up with a spare hour before being picked up, so of course we hit the local bars!! I am very addicated the pancakes that the sell on local stores, chocolate ones are amazing so sure well put our weight back on!! Nothings fitting at the moment!!! We have the elephant camp booked tomorrow where we have booked to learn to ride the elephants ourselves. Cant wait.
Laos is great and we are enjoying every minute. Time is flying by here. Meeting some really nice people and keeping very busy. Will be heading further north in a few days to hike through the jungles and tribes. So much to do and not enough time!