Anyone who has travelled in Southeast Asia will have heard about tubing, an activity that dominates this town and its visitors. It was opened up by hedonistic backpackers, and the atmosphere of the town is one of lethargy by day and debauchery by night. Tourists sprawl out in the pillow-filled restaurants, termed "TV bars", watching re-runs of US sitcoms, Friends and Family Guy episodes, until the sun goes down, and then party heavily until the early hours.
A couple of kilometres upstream, the pulsating music, drinking games and drug-fuelled debauchery of the increasingly lively riverside "tubing" bars starts at lunchtime. The majority of the bars from the start of tubing back into town have been closed in an attempt to improve safety; 27 tourists died in 2011 while partying on the river. In 2014 the government closed down many of the riverside bars to reduce the dangerously excessive partying. By February 2016 just two bars were open.
Vang Vieng may have established itself as the exception to the rule that Laos doesn't have nightlife. It does have potential as a base for adventure tourism which attracts a few more sedate foreign sightseers. However, it can be considered a noisy "back-packer hell", and so those wishing to avoid noisy, selfish teenagers away from their parents for the first time and instead seek something Laotian would do well to either use Vang Vieng only as a base to explore the surrounding countryside or avoid it all together.
Since the 2014, the city has developed into a popular base for outdoor activites. Tour companies are everywhere in the city and offer tubing, cave visits, kayaking, ziplines, swimming in water falls, dirt buggies, and combinations thereof.
By busVang Vieng is on Hwy 13 between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. By bus (road and bus conditions permitting) about 6-8 hrs from Luang Prabang, around 3-4 hr from Vientiane.
Tickets for tourist buses and minivans can be purchased at almost every guesthouse and should include pick-up at the hotel.
VIP buses from Vientiane cost about 50,000 kip. Minivans leave Vientiane all day and cost between 35,000-50,000 kip. The express bus to Vientiane costs 60,000 kip. Slower local buses to Vientiane without air conditioning run in the early morning (05:30-10:00) and cost about 40,000 kip for a 5 hour journey. You can board them either at the northern bus station or the bus stop south of the airstrip.
From Luang Prabang, VIP buses cost 150,000 kip and minivans cost 120,000 kip. If you're susceptible to motion sickness you'll be much better off on the slower bus than the minivan (or bring appropriate medication).
Bus Schedule from Vang Vieng
|To||Departs hours||Approximate price (kip)||Duration (hours)||Comments||Last update|
|Vientiane (Songthaew)||Every 20 min||40,000||Jun 2011|
|Vientiane (Local bus)||05:30,06:00,06:30,07:00,12:30,14:00||40,000||Jun 2011|
|Vientiane (Mini)||09:00||60,000||Jun 2011|
|Vientiane(Express bus)||10:30,13:30||60,000||Jun 2011|
|Luang Prabang (Mini)||09:00,14:00||100,000||Jun 2011|
|Luang Prabang (Express)||10:00||90,000||Jun 2011|
|Phonsavan (Mini)||09:30||100,000||Jun 2011|
By carHwy 13 is a sealed, two-lane road that is slowly deteriorating. The road between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang is mountainous and boasts amazing scenery. The road between Vang Vieng and Vientiane is flatter and less interesting.
From the bus stationFrom Vientiane, buses will drop you off either at the old airstrip (from the Vietnam war, it's now just a giant gravel pad) and the tourist buses will drop you in front of a hotel on the main street in the town. The airstrip is directly behind the main street, so in either case there is no need to take a tuk-tuk or cyclo if you plan to stay in the main area of the town. The island and bungalows along the river are about a 10-min walk away. Buses to and from the north Laos leave from the new bus terminal 2 km north of the town. When leaving Vang Vieng, transport to the bus station is usually included in the price of your ticket.
Around townVang Vieng is so small that everything is easily reachable on foot. If you want to venture out of town, bicycles are widely available and can be rented from hotels or local businesses. You should not have to pay more than 15,000 kip for a day's rental. Motorbike rentals are also available. You can rent a small semi-automatic scooter starting from 40,000 kip (from morning till evening, 60,000 kip for 24h) or a dirt bike from 100,000 kip (125cc for a day) to 200,000 kip (150cc for 24h). Good selection of scooters for instance at M/c Rental (across the street and about 50 m east from Whopping Burger). Always check the condition of the bike and details of the contract before signing anything. At some places you will have to sign a contract which makes you completely responsible if something breaks or fails to function, even if it's normal wear and tear. Also you are not allowed to go out of Vang Vieng District, so don't count on renting a bike here to go on a longer tour of the district.
Several tuk-tuks are also scattered around town. 10,000 kip per person will be plenty to get to anywhere within Vang Vieng. It's also the price you'll pay to get to the tubing bars irrespective of how many other people are on board. It's better to sort out exact change with fellow passengers as tuk-tuk drivers are notorious for giving incorrect change.
To rent a tuk-tuk for the whole day costs about 130,000-150,000 kip.
The Hobo Map for Vang Vieng is excellent and shows the dirt roads and sites worth seeing. It can be purchased in few places in the town (Elephant Crossing Hotel, Maylyn Guest House, Pan's Place, Riverside Tours, Silver Naga Hotel, VLT Tour)
Padeng Cave and Ring CaveAcross the river a 1.5-km path marked by white flags cuts through the fields towards the limestone mountains. The smallest hill has very rickety ladders, and somewhat dangerous, to aid in climbing to the top. Halfway up the mountain is a cave. Another 1 km along the path past the mountain goes through a small forest and arrives at a cave. A few sleepy Laotians guard the cave's entrance and will only charge 10,000 kip. However, on exit, they'll ask for 50,000 for the guide and 50,000 per lamp. A couple of men carving reeds with machetes are nearby so negotiation may be difficult.
Tham Poukham (Blue Lagoon)A spring-fed lagoon at the bottom of "Golden Cave". Nice place to relax, swim and play on the rope swing. The waters are inhabited by a few hundred carp that will eat locally sold fish food out of your hand. The cave above requires a modest 100 m hike up a makeshift bamboo ladder. Once inside, there is a short walk to the Sleeping Golden Buddha and glimmering stalactites about 300 m further inside. 10,000 kip entry and 10,000 kip to rent a head-torch, recommended if you go deeper into the cave than the Buddha. Guides for the cave are advertised at 50,000 kip.
Bicycle drink stop towards Blue LagoonA couple of small shops on scenic hill, selling drinks and simple meals en route to Blue Lagoon and several caves. Also mechanic shop providing bike tire air and possible repairs. Also, this is the starting point for hiking up to Pha Ngeun Peak.
Sunset Hill / Pha NgeunAn extremely steep half-hour hike that offers a fantastic 360° view over the surrounding valley and karst mountains. The trail is in excellent condition, with steps, banisters, fences and cables on the more dangerous parts. Bring adequate footwear. Try to be at the entrance at around 16:00-16:30, so you reach the summit on time for the breathtaking sunset.
Xang CaveDecent cave but not worth the 15,000 kip entrance fee plus 2,000 kip per person/3,000 kip per motorbike bridge crossing fee. The cave is well lit and has stairs running throughout that makes it an easy self-guided tour. One part has a really nice view of the farms surrounding the city. If you've been to other caves it's really not worth the money as it's similar but more expensive.
Nang Oua Kham CaveVery nice cave and superior to the one at Blue Lagoon. You might feel the entrance a bit tight at first time but when you get past that most parts are easy to walk. There is mud and water so be prepared if you wish to explore all the cave. Price includes head lamp. Coordinates 18°53'55.7"N 102°21'09.3"E.
KayakingThis covers the same part of the river as tubing (and a more untouched part further upriver). Kayaking includes lunch and different caves. Some of the caves takes more than an hour to walk through, with bats and other creatures.
Teach English to local children with EEFAEqual Education For All, or EEFA, runs afterschool English classes for local children in Northern and Western villages of Vang Vieng. They are always looking for volunteers who can ideally stay for a month at least, but if you've only got a couple of days then it's better than nothing. Anyone is welcome to observe the classes, participate and contribute in any way you can. Look for Alex at Vang Vieng Organic Farm or message Equal Education For All on Facebook.
Organic FarmThere's an organic farm that offers volunteering opportunities. It is noise-free until about 11:00 and again when the last revelers go back to town at about 18:00 as its location beside the river is also used as the starting point for tubing and the first tubing bars are nearby. If going tubing this is an option for a healthy lunch prior to commencing your tubing adventure. The organic farm has dormitory (30,000 kip), budget and more luxurious rooms for rent. They teach the village children, build mud brick buildings, learn/teach farming, eat organic food and go to sleep at 22:00. The farm has also a kitchen and sells organic food.
River SwingsPlaying on the very high swings over the river and sliding on a slide. Be careful. Perforated eardrums, broken ribs and permanent hearing damage are common injuries resulting from going the wrong way. Also foot injuries from hitting rocks, and sometimes death when going head first or falling off platforms when drunk. The local hospital is not equipped to diagnose or treat these serious injuries. Vientiane has the closest (if Spartan) EMT facility but no English speaking specialists, so you may have to travel to Udon Thani (Thailand) for treatment. All the rope swings and slides have now been removed for safely reasons.
TubingLook at the magnificent view of the mountains rising directly beside the river. Many beer bars along the way, almost all in the first third of the trip. Some hire dry bags (hire for 15,000 kip or buy own nearby for 50,000 kip) may not be of the best quality, cameras can get ruined by faulty rented to tourists, so beware and if in doubt, don't bring your camera. Tubes have to be back by 18:00 or loose 20,000 kip from your deposit. In winter it gets a bit cold from 16:00, so start early to make the most of drinking your way down the river. Ride at least one rapid before starting the party to avoid disturbing guests visiting the Organic Farm (nice place for lunch before commencing tubing). Some Westerners have the job of promoting bars. The party scene has taken over and the owners use humongous loudspeakers, effectively blocking out any singing of birds. Beware of tubes getting stolen while stopping at bars, you may lose your deposit and the ride down. Tubes get stacked up at each bar so keep an eye on how many are left, especially at the first few bars where lots of people arrive without their own tube. If you're not used to drinking liquor, stick with beer and for reasons of safety and common sense consider avoiding alcohol completely if entering the water. The amount of alcohol in buckets can be seriously high and can kick in suddenly; you won't be the first one to be too drunk to make your way back on the river. As of 2016, only 2 bars remain open, and both are fairly close to the beginning of the tubing. Consequently, many people stop at the last bar and drink until night-time, then take a tuk-tuk back into town. During rainy season there is more water in the river and eye infections are common.
address: Ban PhonpengOffers immersion and volunteer opportunities. FruitFriends is a social enterprise working with only local staff. Profits are used to organize community-based projects. FruitFriends has a small homestay and your help is much appreciated.
Sae Lao Organic Garden & RestaurantYou can visit this organic garden and restaurant just before or after your visit to the Blue Lagoon. They also undertake eco projects to try and protect the natural environment in the Vang Vieng region, and you can volunteer.
Tham Nam Cave (The Water Cave)The main attraction is to go tubing into the cave. It is really huge, taking 15-30 minutes to get to the end, and then the same time to get back. There are two ropes inside the cave, be sure to follow both. Water is rather cold, but bearable. There is also a zipline at the cave entrance.
Prices for tourist packages are quoted in both kip and US dollars. Restaurants, hotels, and pretty much everything else is priced in kip. Most places will accept kip, Thai baht and US dollars for larger purchases.
There are several ATMs that now take all major credit cards, but are known for running out of cash. Some tourists have reported only being able to use cards on the Maestro (MasterCard) network.
The Lao Development Bank changes money at good rates and processes cash advances. BCEL will also do cash advances on credit cards.
BCEL bankBiggest bank building in town. Therefore safe bet for ATM withdrawals, especially during bank opening hours. Also offer good rates for money exchange on 2nd floor.
For quick eats and late night snacks, numerous pancake and sandwich stalls dot the streets. But be careful, food hygiene may have been compromised by being in the heat all day and your gastrointestinal system may react accordingly. The street running next to the river just to the west of the tube rental office has a few vendors selling large chicken and pork kebab skewers for 5,000 kip each.
Many restaurants used to offer "happy" shakes and pizzas, although this practice is slowly disappearing. While this may be obvious to many, any food or drink with the words "happy", "special" or "ecstatic" will contain an undetermined amount of marijuana or magic mushrooms. Therer may also be plain-clothes police men around in the city watching out for tourists smoking weed and giving them hefty fines.
phone: +856 23 511 484Western-style menu. All day English breakfast, spaghetti Bolognese, beef goulash, cottage pie, fresh fruit shakes, snacks and drinks. Helpful, friendly staff with Lao/Thai management and English reception.
Peeping Som's RestaurantKorean and Lao (Sindaad) barbecue. Very popular.
DK3 - Milan PizzaPizza for 50,000 kip.
The Green RestaurantLarge menu with western and lao food for decent price. Great for breakfast. Serving can be a bit slow when busy. Great view. Watch out for the crazy puppy.
phone: +856 20 792 8266Pub food with homemade pies and burgers for 40,000 kip.
Beerlao is available everywhere in Vang Vieng, but the drink of choice is a cheap plastic bucket filled with liquor and soft drinks. A bottle of Tiger Whisky costs the bar 10,000 kip, so around a third of a bottle goes into your bucket, normally with a choice of 7-Up or Pepsi, lime and Red Bull.
Tubing areaThere are eight bars within the first kilometre of the tubing route. Alternately, four of them open daily, two on each side of the river.
Fluid Bar and RestaurantIs filled with abstract art, strange sculptures and an eclectic mix of music. A break from the norm.
In townBeerlao and buckets are available all around Vang Vieng in bars covered with Christmas lights (including all the "TV restaurants") and the buckets are usually very strong because Lao whisky is cheaper than soft drinks. There's no shortage of choice but a distinct lack of diversity, especially if you're looking for live music.
phone: +856 20 78008555Popular backpacker party bar jointly managed by a Lao-Filipino couple. The bar is famous for its 'drink triple, see double, act single' vests sported by backpackers across Southeast Asia which you can get for free for every purchase of two vodka drinks. It is the busiest nightspot in town with beer pongs, dance floor and happy hour promos every night.
Fat Monkey'sPopular backpacker party bar. Gets drunk and wild every night. Free beer pong, cheap drinks, very lively. Closes at midnight, as most bars in town.
Kiwi Sports Barphone: +856 20 2877 9796The cheapest beer in town. Play your own music. Free pool, dartboard, Internet, whisky shots and sports on a 60" LCD. Excellent variety of Italian and Lao food. Also has mountain bikes for rent.
Jaydee's BarFree pool, table football, dartboard and wifi. The beer is a bit more expensive than elsewhere around town (15,000 kip), but this is compensated by the great atmosphere and friendly service. Bartenders Macky and Jaydee have a couple of funny serving tricks. Lao-Lao shots are usually served for free with each purchase, and even without them. Closes at midnight.
Q-BarA "club" environment. Depending on the revolving staff of Westerners they play Dnb, dubstep and pop. Open for food all day, and closes between 24:00-01:00 depending on the numbers.
phone: +856 20 792 8266The only Irish pub in Vang Vieng. Regular live music, 2 free pool tables and 3 TVs showing live sport. Cold beers and homemade pies. They play music extremely loudly at night; bring earplugs.
The IslandFor serious drinking, the bars referred to collectively as The Island, reached via some ramshackle bamboo and wood bridges, are where most of the tubers end up after a day on the river, particularly after the bars in town start to close. The Sandwich Pancake pushers hover in a long line as people stumble over the bridge, waiting to prey on drunken Western tourists. But be aware of trying to buy eye drops for sudden onset conjunctivitis around this area. Stories abound of people being drunkenly extorted as much as 5x the normal price for treatment for their conjunctivitis
As of 2015, there are only two bars open on the former party island. One, River View Guest house, has a stretch of low wooden tables along the river next to the restaurant. Another bar has recently opened at the north end of the island, and is mainly a sunset place which closes early.
Generally though, double rooms go for USD6-15, make sure you see the room (and bath) before paying. More local, low-key (which is pretty low-key in Vang Vieng to start with) places are by the market and more shiny set ups are on the main road. The party crowd tend to advocate choosing a bungalow on the island, but expect it to be quite noisy if you want to sleep during the night.
Most guesthouses have large TV-viewing areas, practically coated in the Southeast Asia signature triangular cushions, where they serve food. But be forewarned - you'll be hard pressed to find a place screening something other than the US sitcoms Friends and Family Guy.
The Famous Spicy Laos Hostels is no more. Due to problems with ownership and corruption backpackers are advised to stay away from Spicy Laos VV and LPB Hostels. (Spicy Thai is still ultra successful and legendary as always)
Bee Bee Guest HouseFull of character. Rooms are clean and spacious and the family that runs this guesthouse speaks English and are always ready to help. Free Wi-Fi, all rooms have hot showers en suite, drinking water and supplies tourist information. Great roof views from the balconies, safe rooms and at a good price.
Babylon GuesthouseAn established inimitable accommodation that's either loved or not. Free Wi-Fi and Internet for guests and a downstairs bar and organic restaurant. Politically incorrect jokes are a must and the English speaking staff are helpful. All rooms have hot showers en suite. Great roof terrace views.
phone: +856 23 511 593, +856 20 5570 0005In the centre of Vang Vieng and a 2-min walk away from the tubing starting point. It has clean, cheap and safe rooms (doubles, twins, triples & dorms) with safety lockers. Good food available, friendly English speaking staff and big chill out area with table football, dartboard, drinking-related activities, water pipes (shisha, hookahs, nargila) and regular screening of TV shows & live sports. Free Wi-Fi.
Champa Lao BungalowCheap huts on the island downstairs with river view. Friendly local family and traditional-style rooms. Mountain view from the wooden porch with hammock upstairs priced at between 40,000-70,000 kip. Breakfast included, tasty food and free Wi-Fi.
Champa Lao VillaNice garden, tasty food, nice rooms. Breakfast included and free Wi-Fi.
Chanhthala Guest HouseFree Wi-Fi, towel and soap.
Chillaophone: +856 23 511 328Centrally located, social hostel offering dorms and some of the cheapest single rooms in Vang Vieng. Adequately clean despite the rather unorthodox plumbing, dorm rooms have broken lockers, free Wi-Fi.
Domon GuesthouseNice enough, double room worth the extra money. Views from the balcony onto the river and towards the mountains are stunning, especially at sunset.
The Elephant Crossing HotelSmall hotel. All the rooms have a view of the river, with a restaurant right on the river. Good selection of food and beer. Free Wi-Fi.
Greenview Bungalows and Restaurantphone: +856 20 212 8086, +856 20 501 1679Khamsone and his wife, Some, offer comfortable, clean bungalows with hot showers, great Lao food, and occasional campfires and singalongs. A great place to escape the noise of the centre. Bicycle and motorbike rentals available.
phone: +856 20 5589 8945address: Ban Meung SongOn the quiet end of Vang Vieng village, but still within walking distance of the town centre with all the party activities. The surrounding views are stunning, the place is quiet and offers comfortable, large rooms, all with private bathroom, hot shower, and either king or queen size beds or twin singles all with innerspring mattresses. All the rooms have a veranda or a secured balcony with mountain views. Also a dormitory is available with free mosquito nets provided. Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms and throughout the guesthouse. Water, coffee, tea and bananas, pickup service are all inclusive.
Le Jardin OrganiqueAway from the party in a nice location with lovely rooms. Hot water doesn't get hot and some find the owners are difficult to deal with.
phone: +856 23511900address: 047 Ban Vieng KaewLooks gorgeous from the outside, but don't let that scare you away as it costs only 50,000 kip/person in a dorm (2019 update : no dorm booking available, first price at 190000 LAK). The family running the hotel are very helpful. Booking kayaking and other adventures through the manager may be cheaper than some other hotels/agents.
Nam Song GardenLao-born Malay's and Norwegian Arne's place. Great view over the mountains from the shaded garden. Free 24-hour Wi-Fi, towel, water refill, in-room safes. Book exchange.
Nana Guesthouse3 storey, simple guest house. Friendly family-run staff, hot showers, a fourth-storey balcony and laundry. Good for sleeping away from the raucousness further north.
Pans Place GuesthouseClean rooms in a quiet location, 300 km from the centre of town and 200 m from the river. Restaurant open from 07:00 till late, snacks and meals, internet cafe, with discount rates for guests. TV room with cable TV and DVDs, Communal balcony with views of the mountains and sunsets, Laundry service, free drinking water. All rooms have fans, comfortable beds and are mosquito-proofed.
Phoudingdeang Organic FarmPeaceful and serene, an employer of orphans, mountain views. Simple short-term rooms, long-term residences in adobe houses.
Sengdeuan Guest Housephone: +856 23 511138All rooms come with towels, soap, bottled water & toilet paper. The private pool in the garden has water in it from Feb-Nov. A great place to learn about the history of the area and the Hmong people.
Tony Guesthousephone: +856 23 511 232, +856 20 560-2830Friendly family-run guesthouse. Large, clean and recently renovated rooms, probably one of the best values in town. Laundry service available and free Wi-Fi.
phone: +856 23 511460On the river, with a great view. Buildings and rooms in Lao-style. Fast free Wi-Fi.
Malany Villa & bus stopaddress: main streetThis is where the mini buses stop. Therefore this is likely to be the first place to stay you will see.
- Molina Bungalows, main street. Small, clean bungalows in a local families backyard. air-con and free wifi. Approx. 80,000 kip.
Thousands of tourists pass through Vang Vieng without incident every year, but the combination of outdoor activities, drink and drugs still makes it one of South East Asia's most dangerous destinations for travellers.
Even the town's main street can injure the unwary traveller: you'll need to watch out for the large holes in the pavement through to the drainage ditch below as they are not fenced off.
The medical care available in the town's hospital is rudimentary at best - for serious injuries you'll want to go to Vientiane, or better still, Thailand.
Watersports and alcoholFloating downstream at a sedate pace in an inflated rubber tube shouldn't be a dangerous activity, provided you leave enough time to get back before darkness falls.
What raises the danger level is the bars offering a combination of hard liquor and high platforms to jump from.
Whilst you may find that risk reduced somewhat by the dismantling of some of Vang Vieng's infamous ziplines, swings and slides following recent deaths, you're still going to have use your common sense. If you want to jump into the river, be very careful about where you do so - the Nam Song isn't very deep except where the bar staff have cleared rocks from the river bed. Don't even think of pushing others in: at least one person has died that way.
Needless to say, if the alcohol or drugs you've consumed may impair your ability to swim or climb out, don't enter the water, even on a rubber tube. Remember whisky buckets can be deceptively strong and their effects can kick in very quickly.
The river current is strong in many places - even the stone-cold sober should avoid sapping their strength by swimming against it. It should be easy enough to swim across to shallower water instead.
DrugsHistorically accepted drugs, such as marijuana, mushrooms and opium are freely available in many bars and restaurants around town. The majority of bars have "magic menus" offering most of these drugs. Consuming them on the premises is fairly safe, although drugs are illegal in Laos and nothing is totally safe.
Yaa-baa (ยาบ้า), the Thai/Lao name for a narcotic made of methamphetamine and caffeine, is available in both pill and smokeable forms. It was formerly legal in Thailand as a way for long-haul truckers to stay awake. Yaa-baa is highly addictive. Manufactured locally, the drug can be cut with any number of substances.
Aside from the drugs already mentioned it is inadvisable to attempt to purchase any other substances not freely available on the magic menus around town. The dangers of most drugs should be well-known to travellers, and additionally there is also a police presence. Plain-clothed policemen frequently take unsuspecting tourists to the local police station for smoking a joint. The usual outcome of this involves having your passport seized until you cough up a hefty "fine", typically between 3-5 million kip. Once the fine is paid, however, the matter is generally taken no further and the passport returned. But the punishment will depend on the officer you are dealing with. Several local policemen are best friends and drinking buddies with restaurateurs who sell opium, mushrooms, cannabis and yaa-baa. Customers are not harassed at these establishments. The police wait until they leave. Some of these same cops own guesthouses near the island. Never surrender your passport if you can help it, and often the best way out of the situation is simply to pay.
Medical issuesA minor annoyance around Vang Vieng (referred to by locals and long-time residents as the "Vang Vieng plague") is conjunctivitis, or pink eye. This is a viral, and sometimes bacterial, infection which can be caught from the river or other tubers. The onset of conjunctivitis is often felt as an unnatural tiredness, and inability to properly fully open your eyes. If you sense this, or have been sharing buckets with people with conjunctivitis or wearing sunglasses at night, the best thing to do is shell out for eye drops as soon as possible to prevent the onset. If this should happen late at night, be aware that eye drops alone should cost a maximum of 20,000 kip. Some of the late night pharmacies attempt to extort tourists, charging up to 5 times the normal price for eye drops.
As well as eye drops, general antibiotics are available from any pharmacy. In some cases eye drops will cause an intense stinging sensation, this can be soothed with an eye bath formula also available at pharmacies. Of course the sensible solution would be to rest your eyes and ease the drinking, but Vang Vieng's non-stop party atmosphere makes this a hard option for most. Should your conjunctivitis last longer than a week you should probably seek proper medical advice, and stop drinking all that Tiger Whisky to give your body time to heal.
TaxiboatWhen tubing home late and its getting cold and dark, there are taxi boats who offer to take you home for a price of around 10,000 kip each. These boats will just take you to some place and stop there, refusing to continue. They tie up the boat, take away the engine and go away, waiting for you to get out and grab a waiting tuk tuk for a high price back home, because they know that you are freezing and want to take back your tube. If you don't want to pay the tuk-tuk, the only way to get home is to walk.
ScamsIt's common for places offering laundry service (priced per kg) to 'rig' their weighing scales so that your bag of dirty clothes suddenly weighs (and costs) twice as much or more!
- Babylon Bar, has the fastest free Wi-Fi
- Pan's place, has qood quality Internet
- Sakura, has qood quality Wi-Fi (20,000 kip minimum spend)
- Luang Prabang and Vientiane are normally the next stop, depending on the direction you're heading.
- Rent out a motorbike and venture into Xaisomboun Province
- The adventurous can make their way Vientiane down the river by kayak. The trip should leave in the early morning, placing you in the capital by 18:00. For your belongings, dry bags are available or you can opt to place them in the accompanying van which will take them along and carry you at least part of the way. Expect to pay 170,000-220,000 kip
- You can book trips all the way to Bangkok (via Vientiane) but since you'll change mode of transport (there are excellent sleeper trains running from the Thai border town of Nong Khai) at least once anyway it's just as easy to arrange this trip at your own pace.
- Travel agents will be willing to book you to anywhere in Thailand, but expect some very long bus journeys and probably several bus changes.
- Buses to Vietnam are notorious for taking even longer than expected and being a really unpleasant experience.