After Luang Prabang we began our journey down to Vang Vieng - the capital of Tubing! We spent a good hour arguing with a bloke at the hotel who was trying to tell us that only 9 out of the 11 of us had paid. Eventually he rang someone else at the hotel and it turns out we had all paid! The drive wasn't too bad overlooking the fact that the driver had no concept of using lower gears when going up steep mountain roads.
When we arrived in Vang Vieng we found a great hotel called Mountain River View Guesthouse. We paid £6 for a room of 3 and had a tv, free wifi and free coffee. Over a period of a couple of days our group turned up at the hotel until we had over 15 of us all staying there.
The first night there we found out about the "bucket bar" that gave away a free bucket to everyone between 9 and half past. Needless to say we made the most of that for the majority of our time there. In pretty much every restaurant or bar you go to they will offer you free shots of whiskey. I now realise why as the whiskey is cheaper per litre than Beerlao!
Then it was time for tubing! This is an amazing idea that everyone should try out. You rent a tractor's inner tube from one of the shops in town and get driven to the top of the river. As soon as you get to the top of the river the first bar is ready and waiting for you with free shots. To get into the mood there is a waterslide which dumps you straight into the river. Then the later bars have trapeze style swings where you swing down from a platform, let go when you're ready and go flying into the river. To get to all the other bars you just jump into your tube and wait for the people at the later bars to throw a rope to you and reel you in!
We went tubing for the first couple of days and decided to take a day off on the third. We went to some caves about 30 minutes away. Nothing too spectacular but there was one cave where you could only get into it on a tube pulling yourself along using a rope as the cave was full of water.
We had another day off after caving as there was a lot of rain and we thought they'd closed the tubing, although it turns out they hadn't! Plenty of places to sit and just watch family guy/south park so we had a very lazy day.
One more day of tubing before we left and everyone was a bit subdued due to the night before. Still we all had great fun and I think everyone will take away some fantastic memories from our 6 days there.
This is where it turns out I'd be saying goodbye to most of the awesome people I'd met in Thailand and Laos. So long Craig, Laura, Maartje, Ryan, James, Mike, Jess, Nico, Ami, Sarah, Georgia, Alex, Liam. Hopefully our paths will cross again either whilst travelling or back in the UK.
Now time for Kathy, Ali and I to jump on a 4 hour bus to Vientiane, followed very shortly by a 24 hour bus to Hanoi!
I had a great time here, but anyone planning on coming here, be sure to plan to stay here for just "a couple of days"!