Today was a very lazy day, a stark contrast with our three active days in Luang Prabang. We pretty much only went tubing on the Nam Song River and went for dinner in the evening. Easiest yolomimo blog post to write ever!
We woke up late this morning, probably a bit tired from our minivan ride yesterday. We just made it on time to the complimentary breakfast at our hotel shortly before 10am. Very basic breakfast food there: tea / coffee, orange juice, some fresh fruits and a choice of eggs or pancakes.
After that we walked around town for a little bit, mostly on the main street. We stopped by Green Discovery Laos first to book an excursion day for tomorrow, we chose the Discover Vang Vieng tour which offers a good mix of activities.
We arrived at a place that was renting tubes for 50,000 Kips per person including a transfer to the location where the tubing starts, several kilometers north. We took two tubes and waited for more people to join as the songthaew needed at least four people. It was not long until two other girls showed up, both of them francophone (one from France and the other from Quebec). They had just met the previous night at their hostel and like us, both of them were traveling through Southeast Asia for an extended period of time (one of them for a full year!). About ten minutes later, we were on the river ready to start our slow tubing journey down the Nam Song River.
We took our waterproof camera with us so we could take pictures and videos of our descent. That explains the water droplets on some of the material below.
Soon after the start, we passed by a first bar playing loud music, actually very loud considering it was still the morning. The two girls we were with stopped there to have a drink but we kept going. There was really nobody in the bar and we were not planning to stop at every bar on the way. The folks working at the bar were throwing empty plastic bottles tied to a rope to pull tubers to the shore.
The river is surrounded by beautiful mountains that we enjoyed for the next few hours. We were actually surprised to not see more people tubing since it’s one of the must do activities in Vang Vieng. Perhaps it was because most people prefer to go in the late afternoon. In any case, after passing the first bar that was playing loud music, we resumed our journey in a very peaceful quiet.
Silence was broken once more when an army of South Korean kayakers passed by. We had already noticed many South Korean tourists in Luang Prabang, but Vang Vieng appeared to be an even bigger hotspot for them. It turned out there was a popular South Korean reality TV show shot in Vang Vieng a few years back which had the effect to instantly make this town the go to spot for travel in Southeast Asia. This group of enthusiastic kayakers went much faster than us and some of them voluntarily splashed us, knowing that we could not retaliate in time.
We kept going for some time until we reached Mr Laoh Lao, the second and also self-proclaimed best bar on the river. Since it was starting to get hot we decided to stop by this time.
I was ahead of Mimi and so able to take a video of her stopping. Like at the previous bar, staff members were pulling tubers using plastic bottles tied up to a rope that they threw in the water. Notice that Mimi managed to find a nice wood stick in the meantime which was useful to better control direction and speed. I got one for myself as well.
The bar looked very basic. Much like the previous one, it did not have that many customers.
We ordered one big bottle of Beerlao, the only brand of Laotian beer. The bar had little huts with hammocks and was playing American music non-stop. We stayed there for about an hour at which point our bottle was empty and we were completely dry.
We went back on our tubes with our sticks and in to the water again. The current was very weak so the sticks were helpful to move a little bit faster as we kept going for a very long time and the sun was very strong. At some point we got together to take our very first tube selfie.
As we split up, Mimi kept the waterproof camera to take more beautiful pictures of the surrounding nature, sometimes including her dark pink painted toe nails for the world to admire.
She did take some unadulterated pictures as well, here are the ones I selected. The next two hours were really more of the same, us very slowly making our way down.
We had been tubing for over three hours by that point and I was getting seriously bored.
So when I saw some rapids at last, it was hard to temper my excitement! It does not seem impressive on video but the current really made a difference.
We arrived at the end a little later and just walked back to the shop we had rented our tubes from. After returning them we got ourselves some fruit shakes at a nearby restaurant. We were tired, tired of being lazy. It was time to go back to our hotel to take a nap!
We woke up later in the evening, hungry. We went to a nearby Laotian restaurant for dinner and called it a night. Mimi worked on yolomimo for a few hours at home while I was already deep asleep.