Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Big Changes in Vang Vieng?

Posted by ehenness on 31/8/2012 at 12:02

I'm suprised this hasn't shown up as a post on this forum yet....or maybe I missed it.

http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/sub-new/Previous_198s/FreeContent/FreeConten_Committee.htm

http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/life/24-signs-partys-over-vang-vieng-965782

Basically the Laos government has shut down almost all the tubing bars in Vang Vieng.

There are talks of changes saying people will now be required to wear life-jackets etc, shut down all the tubing bars by 6pm etc.

I'm not taking one side or another, just posting this as a heads up.

#1 ehenness has been a member since 22/3/2011. Location: Canada. Posts: 18

Posted by MADMAC on 31/8/2012 at 13:47

I know a place not far from Muk on the Thai side of the Mekong where there is already a venu for Thais. Given Thai flexibility, and their business acumen, I could see it becoming the new VV. These kids will have to go somewhere.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957


Posted by Rufus on 31/8/2012 at 22:15

I have heard this from a number of sources now. This is excellent news.

#3 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by mikethediver on 3/9/2012 at 16:16

My God They are making people wear life jackets! Cant believe that, I mean only a few or so (maybe more, I mean it's never really reported) die every year for the want of one so why not let them die - it's all good fun drinking & smoking and, well lets wait till it's dark and then we don't know where we are and no can find us!!!

Unfortunately the time has come when people prove they cant control themselves & the government has to step in, and sadly this is the fate of VV . I would be the last to see government involvement in anything, but having been there and seen drunks wandering around at night having pulled themselves from the river, or the bar, it is hardly surprising!!!
Check out this site for deaths in VV
Mike

#4 mikethediver has been a member since 23/3/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 206
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Posted by Rufus on 3/9/2012 at 19:23

". I would be the last to see government involvement in anything."
So I assume you don't believe in road rules or even in any from of law?

#5 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by MADMAC on 3/9/2012 at 22:13

". I would be the last to see government involvement in anything."

So I assume you don't believe in road rules or even in any from of law?

Rufus, you left out his caveat. Funny you should mention road rules, though, which are de facto (if not de jure) largely absent in this part of the world.

I personally do not believe government should be trying to legislate away stupid. If you want to be stupid, you have the right to be stupid. Well, you should. Now, whether VV had other problems which were impacting on the quality of life of people who lived there is another story. Clearly the intent of closing down the bars is to eliminate tubing as it's now understood from VV - which means these kids don't go there anymore. According to Rufus, whom I have no reason to doubt, this should make the majority of townspeople happy. It will, of course, suck for bar owners and guesthouse owners, many of whom will take it in the shorts when word gets around and kids stop coming anymore. Oh well, it's a hard knocks life.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by somtam2000 on 7/9/2012 at 02:43 admin

More on the same deal via Travellerspoint.

#7 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by enigmatic on 8/9/2012 at 07:46

Posted from within Vietnam.

It'll be interesting to see how this develops. The local police have a vested interest in allowing the partying to continue in some way shape or form - a single drug fine is equivalent to several months salary. Many small vendors who have seen their daily incomes rise above subsistence levels thanks to the rude custom of the detestable drunken falangs are going to be unhappy too; Asian tour groups aren't going to replace them overnight.
On the other hand, if the rumours of army helicopters are true, central government is getting involved and they don't have any incentive to turn a blind eye.

It'll be interesting to see what this means for Pai, which already attracts shedloads of Western tourists, is run by people familiar with the art of peddling weed and vodka buckets and has a river you can tube on, yet still maintains a completely different atmosphere (it's probably not coincidental all the late night bars are on the edge of town)
But if you're a betting man now might not be a bad time to buy up some riverside land near Mukhadan ;-)

#8 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

Posted by MADMAC on 8/9/2012 at 12:56

Pai is in Thailand, and Thailand isn't Laos. If the Central Government in Thailand were to go after excess, Pattaya is the place they would target first. But they don't. Because no one here (thankfully) gives a ****. It's part of the charm. Malaysia is more of a controlled place, for those who like controlled. Thailand... different.

#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Captain_Bob on 9/9/2012 at 06:30

Agreed, Pai is a totally different scene, not very comparable to Vang Vieng except that it seems to attract a certain age group. Vang Vieng tubing scene is/was about drinking ridiculous quantities of cheap alcohol, being bombarded with extremely loud club music, risking life & limb, and basically playing tarzan-meet-jane with everyone young and nearly naked. Pai attracts some of the younger crowd, but increasingly a diverse range of more mature travellers, a fair share of aging hippies and spritualists, and in cool season a ton of Thai tourists with their tents and novelty hat/scarf/mitten sets. Drinking is not a primary activity and loud music is generally shunned by the community. People go smoke some herb now and then, but usually in a quiet corner away from the notorious Pai cops who like to shoot people in the head when they've had a few off-duty lao-laos. Periodically the cops also clamp down on bar hours if they're low on tea money, and most nights there's very little action aside from Be-Bop music bar or those little outdoor campfire bars just over the river. Even then it's just small groups of Canadian girls who've changed their name to "Moon Bear Child" singing Tracy Chapman songs and twirling with their eyes closed. Pretty harmless stuff, not much to "crackdown" on here folks.

#10 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,819

Posted by MADMAC on 9/9/2012 at 22:33

Bob that's hillarious man. It sounds like another freak show central. Since it's on the other side of Thailand from where I live, I've never made it out there. And it doesn't sound like I want to either. I was surprised to hear about the cops though. I must live in the only part of Thailand where the cops are really cool.

#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by SeaOz on 21/9/2012 at 09:35

Hey Enigmatic...
Nope, it is not just a rumors. It is true. I was there from 16 Aug - 30 Aug. The helicopters, army & police are everywhere since the 27 Aug. Many were forced to leave VV on the 31 Aug. NamSong river and all the bar including the bars on the "island" completely shut down on the 5 Sept. I managed to talk to one of the high ranking army personnel and he said, no time period. Probably 3 months, probably forever. He said the gov might put up the army enforcement instead of the police (if the tubing re-open) as the Lao police are corrupted.

#12 SeaOz has been a member since 21/9/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by enigmatic on 28/9/2012 at 10:27

My friends managed.to tube earlier in the week as part of a tour itinerary which also included the caves and a trek to a village. Sounded positively civilised.

They were the only people on the river in the tubing zone, but apparently there were a couple of bars open and they haven't bulldozed the dangerous slide yet.

-
as for Pai, I remember a group of us searching for a while for a bar where the music wasn't reggae. Found a band playing mostly classic rock in front of a Jamaican flag, Marley memorabilia and a handful of dreadlocked, pot-smoking Thais

#13 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

Posted by walterb on 15/10/2012 at 10:26

This is the best news in year that I heard about Vang Vieng !!!
The first time I visited Vang Vieng was back in 1996. There was virtually nothing there: a few places to sleep, to eat, and almost no tourist. No bridge over the river, you had to walk through the water. No restaurants near the river, completely laid back and quiet. When I went back several years ago this filled me with horror: this peaceful place is completely ruined by stupid falangs who should go and visit Spain or some other place where they will find all the booze and drugs and discos and Western food that they seem to need when on holiday.
I so much respect this marvellous country and its beautiful people - actually my wife is Lao! I sincerely hope they bring in the army and crack it down forever!

#14 walterb has been a member since 15/10/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by MADMAC on 15/10/2012 at 11:41

"When I went back several years ago this filled me with horror: this peaceful place is completely ruined by stupid falangs who should go and visit Spain or some other place where they will find all the booze and drugs and discos and Western food that they seem to need when on holiday."

I wish you had been with me in Somalia in 93. Vang Vieng filled you with horror?

And as for finding booze, drugs, discos and western food - Just go to Koh Samui or Phuket and you're good to go. I don't recommend the drugs because of the legal risks, but otherwise... No problem. They'll be happy to take that business away from Laos.

#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by squarethecircle on 16/10/2012 at 11:50

I was wondering what was going on in VV this year, as I could not find any news regarding deaths there since the beginning of the year.

I can't see the town going completely off the backpacker or lower-budget traveller map. Things were of course way out of order there, so this "crackdown" was bound to happen. I bet there were a lot of unreported sexual assaults in that place too - with all the drunk/zombie-like unaccompanied young women walking around at night. It sounds like they're just kicking the idiots out so wealthier tourists will come. Does anyone not consider this good news?

On the other hand, I wonder how the Lao authorities plan to continue this Vientiane -led enforcement, since an army "raid" like that is way too expensive to be any more than a one-off thing. Maybe a tacit agreement will balance its way out wherein the VV authorities keep things sufficiently orderly so that the Vientiane authorities will stay out of their way. I can't see it turning into a retirement destination.

Regarding the prospect tubing in Mukdahan...would you really want your skin contacting with water that far down the Nam Kong? I guess people do it further down, but it seems dirty. A lot of pollution.

And in case you're reading this, Rufus, a comment on one of those links said the following: "I loved VV so much I am coming back for a month in 2013, and hope some of its negative aspects have been tidied up. I might even do some English teaching." (emphasis my own).

#16 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by Rufus on 16/10/2012 at 20:38

" It sounds like they're just kicking the idiots out so wealthier tourists will come."
No, it does not sound like that at all.
Firstly it is not "Vientiane led", (I do not know from where you get your misinformation). Secondly you are clearly not aware that there is a pending ASEM conference in Lao in November.

#17 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by exacto on 16/10/2012 at 21:27

well, to be fair, ASEM isn't usually front page news where i live either.

sweeping the trash under the rug before the big conference? even so, glad to see Vientiane getting a chance to shine in the big spotlight. should be fun to watch.

#18 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,606
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Posted by MADMAC on 16/10/2012 at 22:48

Is this ASEM conference going to be held in VV? I'm surprised the town would the infrastructure to support it.

The bottom line is VV and it's party scene bring at least some (don't think anyone knows what the percentage) tourists into Laos. They hit other places while they are there of course. But some come there because of the tubing. So if it's terminated as a party destination, it will have an effect. Measurable? Who knows. But the party kids will move south to Koh Samui, the opposite direction of Laos. Or they'll head over to Cambodia if it can pick up the slack. Or perhaps KSR, although that's a different style of environment (though no less rancid). Or maybe within Laos it will be diverted to another piece of geograghy...

#19 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Kurtz on 16/10/2012 at 22:56

Posted from within Vietnam.

Several places in Asia are slowly getting gentrified. Backpackers find a place, then it gets popular, then it slowly starts getting upmarket and then 5 star accommodation and luxury dining appears. Can you see VV becoming upmarket in the near future? I can't comment as I've never been there, but I find it hard to believe it will go from backpacker scum to the rich and famous.

I might experience the place for myself in a few months. The pictures I've seen of the landscape look incredible and one would think even when the lager louts were running wild, a quiet guesthouse could be found away from the mayhem.

#20 Kurtz has been a member since 15/10/2012. Posts: 20

Posted by squarethecircle on 17/10/2012 at 02:17

@Rufus
Vientiane=central government of Laos. Where else would national-level enforcement come from? I wish you'd replace your condescending assumption that you're talking to idiots with some sort of helpful or informative response, because posts like these contain no information that has not been previously posted, and thus are a waste of dataspace.

#21 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by Rufus on 17/10/2012 at 19:11

I wish you'd replace your condescending assumption that you're talking to idiots "

Then don't post as if you are one.

Mac, tubing is still there; it is now much more controlled and the in some cases illegal and unsafe bars have been closed. This is a good thing.

#22 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by exacto on 17/10/2012 at 21:09

"Secondly you are clearly not aware that there is a pending ASEM conference in Lao in November."

I think that is exactly square's point. Grandma is coming to visit, so the big boys in VTE are sweeping up the place, including VV. The Thais used to do the same thing when ASEM and ASEAN came to town. Same same, only different.

#23 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,606
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Posted by MADMAC on 18/10/2012 at 01:05

"Mac, tubing is still there; it is now much more controlled and the in some cases illegal and unsafe bars have been closed. This is a good thing."

This is a good thing from one point of view. For those who want the wild, ruckus party, it's a bad thing. Remmember, where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit. You're an old guy who looks at that sort of thing with scorn - because you're an old guy. The same way I look at KSR and the Full Moon Party. For a lot of young guys this sort of thing is cool and fun. So for them, the tamping down is going to suck. Will it suck enough that they don't come in big numbers anymore? Will VV lose it's party image luster? Time will tell.

#24 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 18/10/2012 at 03:28

'There was virtually nothing there: a few places to sleep, to eat, and almost no tourist. No bridge over the river, you had to walk through the water. No restaurants near the river, completely laid back and quiet. When I went back several years ago this filled me with horror: this peaceful place is completely ruined by stupid falangs who should go and visit Spain or some other place where they will find all the booze and drugs and discos and Western food that they seem to need when on holiday.'
Wow sounds exactly like my first experience of KSR and Koh Samui. Unfortunately that's capitalism for you. Provide the plebs with bread and circuses.
I expect Spain was nice and laid back once too.

#25 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by chinarocks on 18/10/2012 at 04:47

"I expect Spain was nice and laid back once too."

It absolutely still is both of those things if you avoid certain areas, i.e. the Costa Del Sol.

#26 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by sayadian on 18/10/2012 at 05:27

Try the Costa Brava,. Most of Ibiza,Majorca.
Anyway for years the Spaniards groaned at the drunken antics of the Brits. Well they no longer get first place in the league of obnoxious, loud drunks.The Russians have arrived.
They're in a league of their own.
but that advice to avoid certain areas that would be the answer to those who don't like VV, KSR etc. wouldn't it?
Anybody who thinks the problem with people overdrinking, behaving badly and disturbing peoples lives is solely in Laos need to get around a bit more.It's all around the world.

#27 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 18/10/2012 at 08:11

"Unfortunately that's capitalism for you."

Actually that's life for you. But I think you actually know that already.

#28 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chinarocks on 18/10/2012 at 08:18

"Anybody who thinks the problem with people overdrinking, behaving badly and disturbing peoples lives is solely in Laos need to get around a bit more.It's all around the world."

Without doubt. But I think Western teenagers and early 20-somethings travelling in SEA could hold their own with most groups in the world when it comes to "overdrinking, behaving badly and disturbing people's lives".

#29 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by MADMAC on 18/10/2012 at 08:24

China
Absolutely. Pound for pound, western kids can go toe to toe with anyone.

But young Thai kids can give em a run for their money. And easily beat them in the violence department. We might think we're special, but we are not that special.

#30 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 18/10/2012 at 14:52

No way Chinarocks most Russisn women never mind the guys could outdrink and behave more badly than any Western 20 something.They're in Pattaya, Koh Pagnan so VV next?

#31 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by squarethecircle on 19/10/2012 at 02:16

Rufus "I wish you'd replace your condescending assumption that you're talking to idiots "

"Then don't post as if you are one."


Actually this thread provides two good stereotypes of westerners in SE Asia, and why it's smart to generally avoid them...first, the old, fat, ugly, sometimes grumpy, pensioner (always male), who found a young SE asian wife who claims to love him, but really is just waiting for him to die so she can take the house and car...ironically this type tends to treat other, younger, westerners as idiots, without any justification for the view. And the young, better looking, but immature "bro" (male or female) who drinks idiotically, disrespects local culture, acts like the place is not the "real world", and may stick around as an native-speaking English "teacher".

SO, does anyone think Big Changes are coming to Vang Vieng, or is this simply a temporary, "cosmetic" crackdown?

#32 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by MADMAC on 19/10/2012 at 02:45

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoaJAa3A92M

That is me. The fat, old, grumpy, male pensioner... who's young wife is waiting for him to die.

#33 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 19/10/2012 at 04:03

Madmac
Is that you?
Nothing like I expected. I thought you'd be one of these survivalist NRA types.

Squarethecircle.
Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.Your agism pisses me off too. I pump weights and run but I'm not so young.

'And the young, better looking, but immature "bro" (male or female) who drinks idiotically, disrespects local culture, acts like the place is not the "real world", and may stick around as an native-speaking English "teacher".'
You forgot the drugs.
Now local culture in Phnom Penh includes:
drink until you fall over, beat the wife, don't stop if you knock someone down on the road, better still, if their unconscious, steal their wallet and wristwatch. etc etc.
My point is the local culture you talk about exists with Peter Pan in Never-never land.Your an idealist but you'll grow out of it.

#34 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 19/10/2012 at 04:41

"My point is the local culture you talk about exists with Peter Pan in Never-never land.Your an idealist but you'll grow out of it."

This is a valid point. Sex tourists are respecting Thailand's culture in spades, where prostitution is a very old and deeply ingrained part of the culture. Yet they are despised in "traveller" circles.

And yes Sayadian, that's me. Here's me doing the survivalist related thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGwjpMfjugw

A more fitting image?

Dancing and fighting are my passions.

#35 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 19/10/2012 at 05:21

Interesting, your not a natural southpaw but your strength is in your left.Maybe you broke your right arm at some time and subconsciously turned to your left? Count how many times you use your left compared to right and the power is all in the left.
Actually I thought you'd take advantage of all that forest out there and be out with your compass. I used to love that stuff. Spiders the size of your head, leaches, ants.sometimes we'd come across a clearing of boulders the size of houses, always something up in the trees following you. Probably monkeys hoping for food. But I still hate mozzies.

#36 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 19/10/2012 at 06:17

My power is in my right. My right cross is my hardest punch by far. But since my left hand is my jab hand (as it is with all orthodox fighters) of course I throw more lefts. My hook is OK, and of course that's a power punch. But you're right handed, you throw more punches with your left hand, because it's your jab hand.

I do not like the jungle. Always something trying to bite or sting or scratch you. It ain't your friend. I do like the dessert. The Ogaden of Ethiopia is a great place. But the jungles around here are trying to kill you all the time.

#37 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 19/10/2012 at 08:42

I should have said you're obviously not a southpaw what I saw on that video was more power in your left (which is unusual for a non-southpaw) and they weren't just jabs I saw quite an array. You know better than me but from that video it looked like your left was the strongest.If you are orthodox fighter you will finish your opponent with your right regardless of the fact you're jabbing/feinting with your left.
You prefer the desert. Obviously you never took a dump on a scorpion.
I must say I love the desert too. especially the way the light changes at dusk.

#38 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by squarethecircle on 19/10/2012 at 10:51

@Madmac and Sayadian: I said those are two stereotypes of westerners here, and cannot locate where I used sarcasm in that post. You can see posts referring to both of these stereotypes of western expats in this region on other SE Asian forums. And I wasn't referring to either of you, at least consciously. I was referring to the troll who continues to call me an "idiot" with "misinformation", but who also refuses to provide concrete information in support of those claims, which is bad internet etiquette. There're other stereotypes I've seen in a number of places: particularly in Isaan, Udon Thani and nearby: the US military vet who's now on a pension, enjoying the fruits of his service. Also I've met people who think the US/Aus/wherever are turning into over-regulated states past their prime and have come here to take "refuge". Etc.
RE: prostitution. The best thing I've heard is that it's accepted here; if a group of respectable male friends goes out for drinks, they might stop by a ladies' bar at some point in the evening. But in the west, it's assumed that if you have to pay for sex then you can't get it on your own. I've seen otherwise respectable (such as a school administrator, a policeman, and a restaurant owner) Thais act around one friend of mine who fits the above categories (a retired engineer), how the wife says "I love you, honey, blah blah blah" and he eats it up, and behind his back they laugh about how gullible he is with his young wife. And how many westerners in their 60's and 70's get poisoned or otherwise killed by their wife, and have it subsequently labeled as a "heart attack" or whatever by complicit authorities?


But this isn't an expat forum and it's getting off topic.

#39 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by sayadian on 19/10/2012 at 11:58

Squarethecircle
Well, I'm not bothered I don't have a young Thai wife. Surely what's to laugh at if a guy's got enough money to get himself a pretty younger girl?
The girls don't always win either.I've seen wise guys play the field and cruelly ditch one for a better model.It works both ways.

#40 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 19/10/2012 at 13:02

OK, first on Rufus. Yeah, he's a little caustic and rough around the edges. Like me. But he knows what he's talking about so he's worth listening to. Shoot right back when he's talking out of his ass. But basically a good guy here on Travelfish.

Nex for stereotypes. Yes, there are some expats here that are freak shows and morons and everything in between. But for the most part guys here are not being offed by their wives. I've lived here five years, know lots of guys, not one killed by his wife (or killed for that matter). There is a lot of hyperbole out there.

As for prostitution - it's normal and within the cultural norm here. So if you want to rag on the local culture because you don't like it, have at it. But it ain't a western derived thing. Not even close.

#41 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rufus on 21/10/2012 at 03:49

" I was referring to the troll who continues to call me an "idiot" "
I didn't call you an idiot, STC, you referred to yourself as an idiot. I can only but agree. Your latest post is the stupidest post you have put up yet. ".ironically this type tends to treat other, younger, westerners as idiots, without any justification for the view" In your case there is heaps of justification for that view.

"And how many westerners in their 60's and 70's get poisoned or otherwise killed by their wife, and have it subsequently labeled as a "heart attack" or whatever by complicit authorities?
roflmao. You have lost it matey; perhaps you never had it in the first place.

By the way, I do not have a "young Thai wife". I live in Lao and my wife is not that young.

#42 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by sayadian on 21/10/2012 at 08:10

So none of us have young Thai wives but we all know it goes on and that plenty guys marry girls in their 20's when they are in their 60's.
I've heard this rumour of the girls killing their husbands and TBF there have been two or three high profile cases in Western newspapers reporting on Court proceedings where this HAS happened.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/with-so-many-britons-murdered-in-thailand-why-does-our-government-not-warn-of-the-dangers-faced-there-769640.htmlhttp://
This sort of thing from the UK Independent newspaper gives you a flavour of the kind of hysteria generated.

But this thread is about VV and rowdy Westerners.

The simple solution would be to use VV as a business plan. It's obviously a successful and profitable venture so maybe they/some entrepreneur could find a piece of river far enough from habitation and turn it into a tubing theme park.
Anybody like to join me in putting in money?

#43 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 21/10/2012 at 13:36

I wouldn't invest in Laos until it ceases to be a one party state. I trust one party states even less than I trust representative democracies, and there the trust is pretty limited.

#44 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 21/10/2012 at 14:26

Madmac
Thailand would be even better.Somewhere up near Chang Khan, but would have to survey the river first.
You're right there with John Wayne I see. Don't give an inch to those commie bastards.
;-)
Seriously you are right any investment in that part of the world has its risks. I could find some Russian investors.Nobody screws with them.

A friend of mine put up a load of slides and stuff off Ocheteal Beach in Cambodia and did well. He's sold out now but he has the head for all this.

#45 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by Rufus on 21/10/2012 at 18:51

Your link is broken Sayadian. These reports are rumours only; they are like urban myths.

#46 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by squarethecircle on 22/10/2012 at 00:39

@Rufus. I never referred to myself as an "idiot".

@sayadian. I never said *you* have a young SE asian wife. But the stereotype of older men (or people who for various reasons can't get what they want in their home countries) coming here and finding suspiciously young, attractive wives - is certainly well-founded, particularly upcountry (BKK seems to have a lot of decent, 'normal' professionals). But not everyone (such as Madmac) fits this category.

@Madmac. Where has Rufus provided information on this page? All I can see is disinformation, textual excrement, and he does not seem at all like a good person; actually he exhibits similar arrogant, abusive attitudes as some of the child sex tourists that unfortunate conglomerate in this part of the world. You, on the other hand, do seem respectable and at least have some basic ethical standards.

@the moderators. Are abusive posts of the sort posted by Rufus above acceptable on this site? They would be quickly removed on thaivisa or any well-run forum.

#47 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by MADMAC on 22/10/2012 at 01:02

Square - Rufus lives in Laos. There is no reason whatsoever to suspect he's involved in pedophelia. He provides a lot of good information to tourists in Laos - you just haven't looked around enough. Yes, he can be a bit condescending (as can I) but you just need to fire back when he's giving you crap. He adds a lot to the value of the site because he knows the ground up in Northern Laos well.

#48 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by squarethecircle on 22/10/2012 at 01:08

@Madmac. I know that he lives in Laos from what he posted last year. I didn't say he's a ped but says he exhibits the same attitude (arrogant and abusive) as some of those encountered in Pathet Thai.

Regardless, the abusive posts/ad-hominem attacks should be deleted with a warning sent to the poster. This is key for a properly functioning/mature forum, whether in person or via internet.

#49 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by Rufus on 22/10/2012 at 02:26

@Rufus. I never referred to myself as an "idiot".
ahem. "I wish you'd replace your condescending assumption that you're talking to idiots "

Point out one post where I have been abusive. I have only responded to you. You are the one who is abusive with your last few comments. I can understand your naivety, (how old are you? 15? 16?), but your last couple of comments are over the limit.

By the way you do not need to use the @ symbol. This is a forum; it is not Twitter.

#50 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by sayadian on 22/10/2012 at 02:56

'By the way you do not need to use the @ symbol. This is a forum; it is not Twitter.'

He's not the only one a lot of people on this forum seem to be using this @ tag now. Can someone explain?

Try this link Rufus.I've already said it's rumour but articles like this fuel it.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/with-so-many-britons-murdered-in-thailand-why-does-our-government-not-warn-of-the-dangers-faced-there-769640.html

#51 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by squarethecircle on 22/10/2012 at 04:44

Sayadian - I only used the @ symbol since I saw others using it here. Also, do you follow Thaivisa? It seems like several times a week someone commits what the authorities label as 'suicide' or 'accidental death' by falling off a tall building in Pattaya or Phuket.

Rufus - you were abusive in personal insults you made. Such as saying the following: You have lost it matey; perhaps you never had it in the first place.
I can understand your naivety, (how old are you? 15? 16?), but your last couple of comments are over the limit.
I didn't call you an idiot, STC, you referred to yourself as an idiot. I can only but agree. Your latest post is the stupidest post you have put up yet.


All of these posts are devoid of logic: I didn't refer to myself as an idiot; in fact, I was describing your assumptions about other posters on the forum, as evidenced by the above remarks. It's also very much a stretch of the truth to claim that you "responded" to me, since your "response" has only consisted of personal attacks - in fact they're what a logician describes as "ad hominem" attacks, directed against the individual who's making a point rather than against the point itself (such as describing this particular poster as "naive" and 15 or 16 years old). If you want to correct a point I've made that you consider incorrect, then do so, but the fact that you have chosen instead to make ad hominem attacks suggests that you do not have any reasonable objection to what's been said. Therefore, describing you as abusive and arrogant in your posts is completely founded. I suggest you read up on the basics of logic and reasoning if you have a desire to improve the lack of quality content and information in your posts. Also it makes people angry when you insult them like this, but I think you're already well aware of that.



This is actually a very good illustration of why I basically avoid other westerners in this part of the world, since most are in some way or another full of it.

Madmac - I missed your point about the prostitution; as I understand it's basically normal here, integrated in the culture, so a man with a wife and family and job might have a mistress or go to ladybars or the like, completely normal, or a group of friends might go to the back room they have in some of the restaurants after a night of drinking. I see nothing wrong with that.
Actually the only problem I have is with *some* of the sexpats, since they tend to be a blight on the country, like the rowdy people in VV, but since it's consensual sex between adults then there's no substantial objection, even though it does seem like a cesspool sometimes. I wonder if the Thais can see this. Clearly the bar for immigration admission is not set high.


There are a lot of parallels with VV.

#52 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by MADMAC on 22/10/2012 at 04:48

"Actually the only problem I have is with *some* of the sexpats, since they tend to be a blight on the country, like the rowdy people in VV, but since it's consensual sex between adults then there's no substantial objection, even though it does seem like a cesspool sometimes. I wonder if the Thais can see this. Clearly the bar for immigration admission is not set high."

The bar is driven by money - like everything else in Thailand. And I disagree that the expats (or sexpats as some like to call them) are a blight on the country. Most I know are perfectly decent guys who settled down here because the cost of living was cheaper than back in their home countries.

For every drunken, whore mongering expat here, there are 100 Thais at least. They blend right in.

#53 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by squarethecircle on 22/10/2012 at 05:07

Fair enough, but I've also come across enough seriously sketchy westerners to avoid them in general. I'll give you one extreme example - a westerner (I hate the f word) bar in northern Issan. A year ago, I went there to buy a book, then accepted an invitation to sit down - they were mostly in their 60's or 70's. At some point, one of them mentioned working with the Catholic Church in Thailand, and I made a remark deriding the abuse scandals with the Catholic Church. At that point every person in the bar turned and glared at me, and one of them said, with a threatening tone, "and why do you think we're here?". I regret not having a way to respond, but I did not feel physically safe, with them all glaring at me like dogs, so I immediately left. A few related incidents like that, or seeing westerners with kids spending their days drinking, smoking, being bad parents, etc., have taught me to generally avoid others here, though I have met decent ones like you describe.

I'm curious what your estimates are for the number of drunken, whore-mongering westerners vs. number of non-drunken, non-whore-mongering westerners?

#54 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by MADMAC on 22/10/2012 at 06:04

Square
The number of pedophiles here, like the number of black widow wives, is small. It's overblown. If you were in a bar full of pedophiles - well that's just fucked up (I like the F-word). I know of only one in our community and he's been taken to court twice but yet to be convicted. Thailand has cracked down on this issue over the last decade. Of course, Thai men love teenage girls and I know that remains a problem. But there is no tolerance here for sex with the prepubecent.

#55 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chinarocks on 22/10/2012 at 07:48

I think the f word he was referring to was "farang".

#56 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by MADMAC on 22/10/2012 at 08:21

China - re-reading it, I think you're right. I've never heard said reference as the "f" word!

#57 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rufus on 22/10/2012 at 18:57

" If you want to correct a point I've made that you consider incorrect,"
So are you saying you are not 15 or 16?

"one of them mentioned working with the Catholic Church in Thailand, and I made a remark deriding the abuse scandals with the Catholic Church"
Why did you do this? Is this not a naive and childish thing to do?

Anyway I am going to ignore your posts. Its a pity there is no killfile here.

#58 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by MADMAC on 23/10/2012 at 00:27

Don't seat it Rufus. He's just not used to us old, caustic guys.

#59 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rufus on 23/10/2012 at 01:22

Fair enough Mac; its like taking Candy from a baby anyway.

#60 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by exacto on 23/10/2012 at 10:11

hang in there square. Rufus can't help it!

#61 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,606
 Where has exacto been? 

Posted by squarethecircle on 24/10/2012 at 10:59

Madmac - so you think the authorities are already on top of the pedo issue here? Actually seeing that and not being able to do anything about it has bugged my conscience for a year now. Also, are you serious about tubing coming to the Mukdahan region? That area of Isaan seemed to be pretty much untouched by the backpacker-type travellers, at least at the beginning of 2012.

It'd also be interesting to hear any updates on whether these "Big Changes in Vang Vieng" are really that, or just cosmetic changes.

#62 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by MADMAC on 24/10/2012 at 12:29

"Madmac - so you think the authorities are already on top of the pedo issue here?"

The authorities started cracking down on that about a decade ago. Not to say it doesn't happen, but it's high risk behavior. I worked at the court here as a court translator for just such a case. Perp got eight years (I thought he got off light. He was a scumbag of the first order).

"Also, are you serious about tubing coming to the Mukdahan region? "

I don't seriously think it will happen. But I could imagine it happening. Down at Kang Kebao - which is a pretty small town anyway, so if anyone was bothered it probably wouldn't matter much. Someone, somewhere, will take up the slack if VV goes by the way of the dinasour. If there is money to be made, someone will figure out a way to make it.

"It'd also be interesting to hear any updates on whether these "Big Changes in Vang Vieng" are really that, or just cosmetic changes."

Only time will tell. I don't really care. In all probability I'll never be going up there anyway. I don't give a crap about Karst scenery and I'm not interested in partying with a bunch of 20 something western kids either.

#63 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by squarethecircle on 27/10/2012 at 05:40

"Only time will tell. I don't really care. In all probability I'll never be going up there anyway. I don't give a crap about Karst scenery and I'm not interested in partying with a bunch of 20 something western kids either."

I also don't plan to go there, but am curious to know if Lao authorities handle this sort of thing the same way the Thai's do with the regular Pattaya/Phuket "crack-downs" or "round-ups" (mainly against locals such as yabba dealers, roaming ladyboy gangs, etc.), which appear to be completely for "show" and/or "tea money" rather than part of a logically considered plan to permanently improve the place.

#64 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by MADMAC on 28/10/2012 at 06:02

Square - this is not Europe or the United States. And I'm glad for that. If I don't hurt anyone, I can pretty much do whatever I want here and no one cares. What's my business is my business. The last thing I want Thailand to become is some over-regulated, over-governed place like Germany (where I lived for 18 years). So don't complain. For show "crackdowns" sure as hell beat real crackdowns. The last thing I need in my life is some moralistic dickhead telling me what to do.

#65 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by squarethecircle on 28/10/2012 at 09:04

Madmac - I wasn't complaining. "Crackdowns" sure as hell beat actual crackdowns. When you compare the number of permits, inspections, and money investments, necessary to open a restaurant in the US these days (Europe must be even more severe), to the virtually nonexistent food bureaucracy here (as long as you don't serve bad/poisoned food), it's clear this place is much freer. Long Live the King.

Also, can I ask where you learned your Thai (to a sufficient level to serve as court translator)?

#66 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by MADMAC on 28/10/2012 at 11:00

I have a Thai teacher here. It's a good deal. He teaches me Thai, I teach English at his school. No money changes hands.

However, my Thai isn't even close enough to move between English in thai for a court proceeding. I had a second party. I did German to English, the second party did English to Thai. Not efficient, but the best that we could do with available human resources.

#67 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 28/10/2012 at 11:37

Must have taken forever :-)

#68 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 28/10/2012 at 20:01

Long enough. The guy was a pig. I'm not going to go into the details here, but even what came out of his own mouth concerning his behavior was repulsive. And I'm not thin skinned by a long shot. The process would have been longr if at the second hearing he hadn't plead guilty (which knocked a lot of time off his sentence). He was lucky he wasn't in the US. The girl was only eight. In the US he'd have been looking at 30 years for what he did.

#69 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by katyyneal on 29/10/2012 at 03:37

so i booked my flights to Loas a few months ago before i heard the bars were getting shut down. I would like to go but im not sure if its a good idea to go to Vang Vieng now.
Has anyone been there recently and can tell me what is actually happening in Vang Vieng?

and dont get me wrong, i have visited Loas before and i do know that theres more to it than Vang Vieng and the Tubes. but im sure you have all heard, it was a great day there.and i would have liked to do it again.

thank you

#70 katyyneal has been a member since 29/10/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by neosho on 29/10/2012 at 05:47

Square....I myself have never actually ran into someone that admitted they were a perv/pedo. There are volunteer groups of expats in both Thailand and Cambodia that watch for that kind of stuff. If someone is suspected they will follow/trail said individual and collect evidence then present it to the police. I and I'm sure all the other expats on here would turn in someone like that in a heartbeat if we knew about it. People like that cast a very bad light on the rest of us that do volunteer work around the various areas where we live. So it's not only the governments that are doing something about it but all us fat old drunks also.

#71 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Posted by chopin on 29/10/2012 at 07:43

hi katyyneal,

i have just been to northern laos earlier this month. tubing in v.vieng is still on, no problem about that, but those bars along the riverside have been closed, so we ended up with a more quiet drift on the river - which is very nice. the bars, restaurants, kara-oke, etc etc in town are still open, not sure about the closing time as we went back after 10pm.

re the issue of whether to crack down or not, i just wonder:

imagine if The Thames and The Hudson had similar wild and unsafe activities just like what v.veang had prior to September 2012, which would have caused on average 1 death per month, would their gov still not do anything about it?

#72 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154

Posted by MADMAC on 29/10/2012 at 09:51

"imagine if The Thames and The Hudson had similar wild and unsafe activities just like what v.veang had prior to September 2012, which would have caused on average 1 death per month, would their gov still not do anything about it?"

Are you kidding? In Europe? Permits required to open the bars. Permits required to open the other venues. Health and safety inspection requirements... It would be dead before it started. Like most everything else here in SEA.

#73 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rufus on 29/10/2012 at 19:06

Katy, it is Laos, or more correctly Lao, not "Loas". Had you done a little research online you would have seen that tubing is still possible, though more sedate. Some of the more unsafe bars - those with zip lines and slides - have been closed, as have some of the bars selling illegal substances.

#74 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by MADMAC on 29/10/2012 at 23:45

Rufus
Are all the ziplines and slides gone? That was the best part! It was the only thing that made me want to go.Oh well, nothing lasts forever.

#75 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rufus on 30/10/2012 at 01:54

Pretty much all of them are gone, Mac. Friends went there last Saturday. They still had a good time though.

#76 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by MADMAC on 30/10/2012 at 04:28

Maybe I'll make my own on my farm Rufus. We'll see. I'm a few years away from completing it.

#77 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by katyyneal on 30/10/2012 at 08:34

Thanks Chopin.

and rufus yeah i was just wanting to find out by someone who has been recently. chur

#78 katyyneal has been a member since 29/10/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by squarethecircle on 31/10/2012 at 06:11

Mac - do you own riverfront property?

#79 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133

Posted by Rufus on 6/11/2012 at 01:36

Mac, fyi:
I just got back from Vang Vieng today. The town is not deserted at all, though there are not as many people as I have seen in the past. I spoke to some bar owners in the town and they claim that for the most part business is up. What is happening is that instead of getting inebriated and dancing to mindless techno music, visitors are doing many other activities such as rock climbing, trekking and kayaking instead.

#80 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by eoincasey1 on 8/11/2012 at 06:06

Decent article regarding the latest in Vang Vieng:
http://www.southeastasiabackpacker.com/newsflash-vang-vieng-laos-the-end-of-tubing-vang-vieng

#81 eoincasey1 has been a member since 7/9/2012. Posts: 6

Posted by stever1000 on 8/1/2013 at 15:34

Any recent updates on the state of VV?

#82 stever1000 has been a member since 7/1/2013. Posts: 28

Posted by Rufus on 9/1/2013 at 00:01

To what updates are you referring? I was there on Friday 4th Jan.

#83 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by MADMAC on 9/1/2013 at 03:23

Rufus, I assume the party is over for good. good assumption?

#84 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rufus on 9/1/2013 at 23:17

Possibly Mac. The plan is now to build a walkway along the bank of the river and to keep the partying to the outside part of town. It would appear the authorities are planning on a "better class" of tourist?
It was pretty quiet last week.

#85 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by theloner on 13/10/2013 at 05:30

Still plan to avoid the place after what i saw in 2009. Would not break my heart to see that entire bunch tossed out of Laos for good. Totally disrespectful idiots and junior alcoholics. Thank God they are not able to have the brain power to wander very far. Now if we can just get them out of Thailand and nail the door shut that would make so many happy to be done with that bunch of losers. (losers is a very kind word for that lot) Totally agree with squarethecircle about the numerous dodgy expats/sexpats alcoholics i avoid most foreigners here also. They really give me the creeps!

#86 theloner has been a member since 7/10/2013. Posts: 116

Posted by Rufus on 13/10/2013 at 19:36

What on earth are you talking about? Have you even been in the last year? If not, please don't post nonsense.

#87 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by theloner on 13/10/2013 at 19:52

No i did not go there last year nor plan to in the future after what i witnessed a few years back. A paradise lost! Happy to here the Lao government made an attempt to clean up the mess. Twenty two dead in one year alone and hundreds hurt that should say something about what VV attracts. From what i saw it looked no different than your typical tourist trap. It was once one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Sad to see the Lao sold their souls for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

#88 theloner has been a member since 7/10/2013. Posts: 116

Posted by Rufus on 13/10/2013 at 20:40

Well if you haven't been there recently your information is dated and incorrect. Actually it was always incorrect, as the yobbo element was always able to be avoided - just stay at a better place on the Nam Song. I visit there at least 2 times a year for a couple of days holiday, and I take my family.

#89 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by theloner on 13/10/2013 at 22:22

When i was there in 2009 they were all over main street . was not fun having to walk around puddles of puke, but have to admit it was interesting watching the topless bimbos on the river right behind the old market. kick myself now for not getting a picture. i am sure the locals love it. i think this is Laos not Brazil, maybe the girls need a map.

#90 theloner has been a member since 7/10/2013. Posts: 116

Posted by squarethecircle on 13/10/2013 at 22:51

I hear they are doing what the Thais are doing and trying to attract mainland Chinese, who tend to come on short trips and spend a lot of money, rather than hang around for months on the cheap like many westerners. Only problem is Chinese look down on SE Asians, like their slaves, Ive never met a Thai Lao or Burmese who liked China, but they do spend a lot.

#91 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133


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