The misty jungle clad valley is home a stunningly beautiful compilation of jagged limestone peaks, amazing caves, traditional villages and a crystal clear mountain waterway. Right in its heart sits Vang Vieng, a hive of utter shit full of bars, western food, drink specials, internet cafes, travel agents and a pan-global array of fuckwit hippy wannabes. There are bars that serve ‘happy’ food and play constant reruns of shitty American sitcoms. I can’t speak for anybody else but it is going to take a lot more than a mushroom shake to make watching Friends tolerable, let alone funny.
The crowds have come for the tubing. You hire a tractor tyre tube in town, jump a Tuk Tuk four kilometres upstream then float back down the river. The start of the tube run is like stepping into a waterworld apocalypse. The floating bamboo bars, with zip wires and rope swings, lining the riverbank are filled with a mass of people getting loose like it is the end of days. If conscious-free fun is what you are after then you can have a pants pissingly good time with the booze, buckets, drugs and rope swings.
As a destination it has heaps of cool stuff on offer: stunning landscapes, kayaking, caving, climbing and trekking. The problem is you need to be able to see past the rathole of a town and the massively disproportionate number of fuckwits the place attracts. We had a good time there but it was hard work at times.