The thing no one tells you about tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos

For those who don’t know, tubing is simply floating in the river with a big truck tube as a buoy. Tubing in Vang Vieng became famous or even infamous a few years ago because it was connected to drinking and drugs, leading to a few deaths.

There are many articles about this! About the drugs, the drinking, the deaths… how wild it was, and how Laos stopped it by closing down most of the Bars. This is not the fundamental thing about tubing in Vang Vieng. This was all accessory! Nowadays, as far as we saw, no drugs are being sold, and it’s a pretty vanilla outdoors activity. But that’s old news and not the essential thing about tubing in Vang Vieng also.

Tubing in Vang Vieng is a relaxing a soothing activity! It isn’t an adrenaline thing. Tubing is about going through the river for 3 or 4 hours and maybe stopping at a river bar for a drink. But this is what every blogger tells you (and it’s true!)…

Tubing in Vang Vieng Laos
Tubing in Vang Vieng

Is Tubing in Vang Vieng dangerous?

As long as you aren’t wasted, it isn’t dangerous at all… just be aware that in some parts, the river is relatively shallow. Although this is pretty obvious, isn’t it? We wouldn’t be writing a post about it, would we?

While tubing, we strongly advise you to do two things:

  • 1) be nice and salute the kayakers by saying: “Sabadie” (Hello in Lao);
  • 2) be mean and through the water at them!

These are part of the fun but aren’t the fundamental thing you need to know about tubing in Vang Vieng.

Reasons to visit Vang Vieng
Kayaking and Tubing in Vang Vieng

The weird thing we noticed was: barely anyone was tubing while we were there! We saw many more people kayaking than tubing… we are not sure why everyone talks about tubing in Vang Vieng, and then no one is doing it…? It was weird, but definitely not the thing you need to know.

Finally, the one true thing you need to know about tubing in Vang Vieng Laos, and no one else is telling you… not even travel agents, service providers, other bloggers, or travel books… is:

When you reach the starting point, you must tube DOWNSTREAM the river! Not UP the river, or across the river… you have to float down with the current! NOT against, OK?

Now you know! Don’t go there and start paddling upstream like an idiot.

What to do in Vang Vieng
Tubing in Vang Vieng

Other helpful information about tubing in Vang Vieng:

Price of tubing in Vang Vieng

55 000 Kip per person + 60 000 returnable deposit to guarantee the tube. If you return past 18:00, you won’t receive the deposit back.

How much time do you need to tube in Vang Vieng?

At least 2h30 hours, but it depends significantly on how much time to take in the bars and how relaxed you are during the course of the river. If you paddle a bit, it’s faster.

Where to go tubing in Vang Vieng?

Vang Vieng is very small; look for 2 or 3 stores with huge tubes on the outside. After you pay, they will take you to the starting point. The end of the activity is in Vang Vieng, so you need to get off the river, walk to the store, return the buoy and get the deposit back.

Tubing in Vang Vieng price
One of the Cafes by the river were one goes tubing in Vang Vieng

PS: Sorry… 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading the post as much as we wrote it! See it as a blogger/writer self-criticism… Sometimes we write things that are too obvious and that have been repeated dozens of times as if we had just found the holy grail.

8 thoughts on “The thing no one tells you about tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos”

  1. Did you happen to stop by any riverside villages along the way? Seems great if one could do like guided tour of Vang Vieng via tube!

    • Along the river there aren’t any villages:) The course isn’t that long… but it would be a great idea. On the river course, you will find some bars where you can stop to have a drink.

  2. For some places, everyone is talking about and wants to be there but until you go there you have no idea what it is to be there in real life! Thanks for sharing your funny experiences!

  3. OMG, I think my kids would love this (and mam and dad too :-)). It’s an Original way to enjoy the scenery.

  4. This looks very relaxing and the views look incredible too. Enjoyed reading about your experience and the photos really tell the story as well. I have not been to Laos but this would definitely be an experience I’d like to have.

  5. This looks like an awesome trip! I love floating the rivers here in Tennessee; Vang Vieng looks like a place I should add to my bucket list!

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