After a long, over heated drive we finally reached Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. This is predominately a backpacker town where the main attractions are 'tubing' and partying.
-Tubing is basically when you sit in a massive tyre inner tube and float down a winding river with the current. On either side of the water are bars and as you float past they throw a rope out to you and pull you in and give you a free bracelet and try to get you to come buy drinks there. Along the river are numerous rope swings and jumps and before we came we'd heard endless horror stories about people jumping in and hitting rocks and injuring themselves or even dying. But it soon became clear that this only happened to idiots who were too drunk to listen to warnings of shallow water and jumped in regardless.
- As we pulled up at 'easy go' hostel which we had pre booked we recognised some faces stood outside and realised that the others had booked the same place!! I think Becca and I both felt a bit weird about the situation at first as we didn't know how the others would react, after all it was us who had left them and there might have been a feeling of animosity towards us... however they seemed ok and headed out to let us get sorted on our own.
- We also headed out into the town to gather our bearings and check out the deal with tubing. As it turns out, everyone we spoke to told us not to bother getting a tube at all and instead to just make your own way down the river - whether that be by swimming or just walking down the waters edge. Apparently tubes were a 'waste of money' as you have to pay a fair amount to use one, plus pay for a deposit and if you bring it back after 6pm you only get 50% of your money back and none at all if you return it after 8pm.
- Later on we went out for a couple drinks and bumped into Adam and Matt in 'bucket bar'. After planning on just having one drink we actually ended up staying out with them until about 3am. Unfortunately we think Adam got spiked as one minute he was absolutely fine and the next he was slumped over a table, so we packed up and took him home. He was staying with Matt and so we went back with them and stayed until about 4 to make sure he was ok and asleep. Afterwards we headed back to our hostel and on the way bumped into group of about 10 old Laos men playing cards. They started speaking to us and we joked that we were hungry and they actually ran inside to get us a bag of sticky rice each and some meat and dried banana chips - all for free!!
- The next day we woke up (I was feeling especially rough - thanks to cheap laos whiskey!) and got ready for a day of tubing. We hopped on a tuk tuk crammed full of backpackers, including Karoline and a German girl named Vanessa who stayed with us for the day, and headed upstream to the start of the river where the main bars were. When you get to each bar they give you a free shot and a bracelet - with the aim of getting you as drunk as possible and making you easily identifiable to other travellers who instantly see your multicoloured wrists and know at once you've been tubing. Or in my case spit out the shot because you're feeling so rough but keep the bracelet ;) The girls all got stuck in straight away and ordered buckets but I had to stick to the water... The first place 'smile bar' had floating platforms you could lounge on and benches in the water which we perched carefully on. After here we swam across to the other side and proceeded to get drawn on in marker pen and spray painted with stencils - so becca and I ended up with whiskers and writing all over us! This bar and the next one along had rope swings which, after lots of hesitation and false starts, we plucked up the courage to jump - and we managed to get videos of us on beccas camera which she has promised to send me at some point :)
- We stayed at the river for around 7 hours, and as everyone had been drinking apart from me I just pretended to be a bit drunk which was errr interesting, but funny to watch everyone else!
- I hadn't felt any better by this point and so started to think that I hadn't been hungover in the morning but actually getting sick... That evening there was a reggae jungle party going on which we were going to go to, but as the night wore on and I felt worse and worse and soon was the only sober one, I started losing the desire to even move never mind go out again. At this point we were back at the hostel and Becca was pretty adamant on going and but i'd started shaking and was absolutely freezing cold. Se ended up going with people from our dorm (and later found Sophie and Ben from the group) and I ended up in bed at about 9pm.
- For pretty much the next 2 days we had in Vang Vieng I ended up staying in at the hostel being sick :(
- We finally decided to leave VV and the plan was to kayak to Vientiane, however we needed a minimum of 4 people to do this and so ended up boarding a bus out of the town...