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Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos

  • basho

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    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Tubing in Vang Vieng , Laos is legendary and somewhat dangerous. It is definitely not for children as the entire thing is actually paddling from one bar to another and getting very drunk on buckets. If that sounds like your thing, then great. If want culture then stay away from tubing and indeed from Vang Vieng as well.

    I could explain my time tubing in great detail but video speaks louder than words and you can view the short film here:

    http://www.outsidecontext.com/2009/01/17/lets-go-tubing-a-basho-film/

    or simply google "lets go tubing a basho film"

    Cheers,

    Basho

    #1 Posted: 27/1/2009 - 16:21

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  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
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    Sad and sorry!

    #2 Posted: 27/1/2009 - 17:56

  • chrispyrolls

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    Hi Basho

    Watching your vid made me glad i was not going to VV to be honest ... if i wanted to get wasted I would just do that at home.. i can see the appeal in the place for the gap year crowd maybe - oooh if i was 10 (or 15?) years younger it would be great.

    Nice site you got btw

    #3 Posted: 28/1/2009 - 19:55

  • basho

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    Thanks for the replies,

    @Rufus. I put up the link, partly as a warning to some and a lure to others. Vang Veing polarizes people like nothing else in Laos, or indeed any other spot I have visited on my travels. For some it is heaven itself, for others it is hell and exactly what is wrong with the changes happening in Laos.

    For our own part, all of the people in our group were/are "real adults" who live in the the "real world". All of us have degrees, careers etc. My wife and I were the eldest at 31/32 and it was fun to remember the heady days of University parties with the younger mid twenties for a day.

    The two cross dressing drunkards shown at the end were advertising for a bar in exchange for free drinks that night. I went to the bar the next day, it was blissfully empty and we lunged in the hammocks by the river all day, and asked the owner what he thought. He said that advertising like this with "alcoholics" was a necessary evil for his bar to survive. That tells you all you need to know about this town; it has totally fallen to Bacchus.

    @chrispyrolls Thanks for the comments on my site, we have recently updated the theme and all feedback is very welcome. I suspect that this day may not be the last in my life, but they are becoming more and more rare as I get older. I haven't yet decided if that is good thing!

    Regards,

    Basho

    #4 Posted: 29/1/2009 - 09:40

  • Rufus

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    Basho I live in Laos. I love the countryside around Vang Vieng, (btw the end of your video needs editing for spelling), but like my Laos family and friends hate the hoons. We call them bogans in Australia.

    #5 Posted: 29/1/2009 - 11:06

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
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    By the way, I agree with the coments about your web site. I cracked up reading about your PC. Hope it was worth the wait.

    #6 Posted: 29/1/2009 - 11:29

  • jamesspigne-
    si

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 29
    Total reviews: 25

    Sad to see such a beautiful place go to hell so quickly. Just wish those types of goons would not spread like a cancer throughout southeast asia. Most if not all the places i once visited not too long ago are ruined. But there are a few remaining areas left that are not listed in any guidebook. There are no tourists and i am keeping them a secret to myself. Just so these types will hopefully stay in such areas like Vang Vieng ,Koh Samui, Chang Mai etc. My few words of wisdom are if you can not respect the local customs and treat the locals with respect do us all a favor and stay home.This means not walking the beaches half naked, drunk,etc. I don,t think i need to explain more.

    #7 Posted: 29/1/2009 - 15:54

  • basho

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    My wife and I have been singing the wonder that is Laos, to anyone who will listen, ever since we left. The dichotomy is that the more people visit Laos, the better it is for the country economically and more and more will experience its brilliance. On the other hand, it will all the more quickly become infected with "Friends Bars" and "Gap Year" punks.

    What to do? For me the answer is what is happening (supposedly) in Luang Prabang with the UN stepping in. Vang Veing may be lost, but perhaps the contaigen can be held to only there? 4000 islands better watch out, as it too was similar.

    On the other hand, it is a hell of a lot of fun there!

    Thanks for the kind comments on my site and articles, the story of my PC has been doing the rounds for ages and I still get people coming up to me and saying how they enjoyed reading it. In the end the machine was excellent and I sold it to my best friend before I left (better than it rot!). Other good stuff on the site (which links to here btw) is the Basho Films that highlight Australia and New Zealand - coming next is one about Cambodia. As well as a review of the water proof camera used in the film in this thread.

    Anyway, thanks!

    Basho

    #8 Posted: 29/1/2009 - 16:38

  • sacott

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    Tubing was the best fun. I did two days of it and the first day was tops, the second day was also tops until I broke my leg in the mud bath. But the kind Laos people took me in a boat and in a tuk tuk to the hospital who did a fantastic job of fixing me up.

    So if you are wondering about safety you should go tubing anyway because it is mad fun, just be a little bit careful. The rope swings and slide are mad fun.
    The scenery is so amazing, I am not one for spoiling natural beauty but this place is just such a bizzare mix of western boozing and great mountains that it is a whole nother experience in itself.

    #9 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 21:55

  • basho

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    The camera has been reviewed now here: http://www.outsidecontext.com/2009/01/18/atc-2k-video-camera-review/

    If YOU go tubing, have great fun, but -

    Get back in time to return your tube
    Don't spend all your money, its a long way home
    Don't get too wasted and get hurt, many many did
    Don't do illegal drugs, Laos drug fines are high
    Spend the next day chilling out, you will need it!
    Watch out for your friends

    Watch my video to decide if it is for you.

    #10 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 22:06

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  • MADMAC

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    What I hate are people who are all full of themselves and think they are Mr or Mrs f@##@2ing culture. There's is nothing worse in the world than someone who thinks they are better than other people - particularly the PC crowd.

    These are a bunch of kids having fun. If the Laotians didn't want them getting drunk and swimming - they would stop it. It's a police state for Christ Stakes. The government can, and does, do whatever it pleases.

    These kind of kids gather in very select places. In Laos in VV. In Thailand it's Koh Samui.

    You want to experience "real Lao Culture" then go to a piece of shit village where people are scrapping for their next meal, shower in cold water, and spend the night sleeping on a mat fighting off the mosquitos. That's real Lao culture.

    Temples and so forth, that's platitudinal nonsense.

    This video is just a bunch of kids having some fun. They do it at Daytona Beach in florida (where it is MUCH more serious partying and MUCH more obnoxious) but I don't hear any of you whining about it. The reason Laotian kids don't go to Daytona to blow of steam is because they don't have the money. But plenty of Germans go... what's the big deal.

    Laotians get drunk and obnoxious just like all the rest of us.

    Basho
    Cool video man. I'm not into the wild kid scene, but the water sports looked like fun. Thanks for posting and ignore the "holier than thou" set. They're full of it.

    #11 Posted: 15/7/2009 - 01:15

  • smash

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    Well I know what I'll be excluding from my Travelfish trip report! ;o)
    I'll be doing a travel blog while we're away so if you don't like young drunks destroying the culture of a place, just skip the Vang Vieng and Ko Phangan entries... ;o)

    #12 Posted: 15/7/2009 - 04:11

  • BruceMoon

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    Yep, horses for courses...

    The vid explains why the Y-Gen love VV so much.

    What frightens me is not that the Y-Gen love VV so much (or anywhere else that offers similar pay-as-you-go madcap antics), but it will only be a short few years until the Y-Gen will be determining the future of THIS world.

    Mmmm... what will result from a Y-Gen Vs Ahmadinejad type conflict????

    ps. John

    "It's a police state for Christ Stakes" Which stake are you referring to? The BIG one, or do you mean for Ch*** sakes.

    Cheers

    #13 Posted: 15/7/2009 - 07:46

  • smash

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    We all grow up one day Bruce ;o) I know plently of older folk (company directors, COOs, MD, etc.) who wish they could get away with acting like they were 25 still ;o)

    #14 Posted: 15/7/2009 - 08:19

  • MADMAC

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    I think about the young soldiers and marines I served with in Africa and realize that the kids of today are just fine. Every generation thinks the one following it is a mess. This is just human nature.

    #15 Posted: 15/7/2009 - 11:50

  • Rufus

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    I will send them around to defecate in your front yard and piss on your fence, Mac. I have seen them do it in VV.

    #16 Posted: 15/7/2009 - 17:37

  • MADMAC

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    "I will send them around to defecate in your front yard and piss on your fence, Mac. I have seen them do it in VV."

    Not in this video you didn't. If someone does something that goes beyond the norms of socially acceptable (which in the context of this place was not happening) that's one thing.

    VV has built itself a reputation as a party town. The people who are providing the entertainment spots for these kids are profitting from it. Party animals who drink a lot spend money. Cheapskate backpackers maybe be less obtrusive, but they also tend to spend less. Rare is the guy like Bruce who packs around but sleeps in quality hotels and buys expensive stuff. Just look at these pages. Most are looking to spend as little as possible every day. There's a market for the 20 something kid who wants to blow off some steam and go wild for a week or two. There's nothing wrong with that. VV is capitalizing on this market.

    Again, if the Laotians didn't want this happening they would clamp down on it. This is the only place in Laos where you have kids going wild. There is nothing wrong, sad or sorry about it. Everyone doesn't have to always be just so. I have no problem with vacationers coming to vacation spots in America and cutting loose. That's what vacation spots are for. We generally zone areas just so kids can do what these kids here are doing.

    This reminds me of a criticism I read here about Pattaya not long ago. The same sanctimonious nonsense. There's a market for that place, and if you aren't interested in that kind of activity, then don't go there. But don't feel like you need to denigrate those who do. If you can't get your head around prostitution in southeast Asia, you shouldn't be living here, because it is a deeply ingrained part of the culture that isn't going to go away because some westerners don't approve.

    I find the cheapskate backpacker crowd to be annoying and often full of themselves. Coming around where I live and trying to tell me what's what when they've been in country a week or two. Laughable. They wander around town, don't spend squat, many are not clean... but I accept that people have a right to go travelling and would not describe it as sorry or sad that they do so.

    The days of Leave it to Beaver are long over - if they ever existed. Laos hasn't been in a cocoon for a very long time. So let's not pretend these kids are being culturally offensive when this place has been nurtured for them by Laotians.

    #17 Posted: 15/7/2009 - 20:00

  • Rufus

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    "So let's not pretend these kids are being culturally offensive when this place has been nurtured for them by Laotians."

    Thats where you are wrong. It is some Lao - the ones who own the land to build bars and can bribe the cops. The majority regard it as ofensive. Just ask the owners of the Mulberry Farm in VV for example.

    #18 Posted: 16/7/2009 - 08:00

  • smash

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    Each to their own at the end of the day. I'm sure tourism 'destroying' local culture is not just isolated to Vang Vieng. Eurotrash and Mediterranean islands come to mind as one example.

    #19 Posted: 16/7/2009 - 08:44

  • smash

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    Great, now I'm a tout... ;o)

    #20 Posted: 16/7/2009 - 08:45

  • MADMAC

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    "Thats where you are wrong. It is some Lao - the ones who own the land to build bars and can bribe the cops. The majority regard it as ofensive. Just ask the owners of the Mulberry Farm in VV for example."

    Bribing cops... part of Laos culture Ace. The city, with whatever imperfect methodologies it has to zone and regulate activity, has made that place what it is. The community leaders could have said "Look, we just want the cheap backpackers and sedate tourists here. So get rid of the tubing, get rid of the water sports (you know, the kind of stuff that attracts young party goers) and get uniformed police walking the tourist areas to ensure that things are civil." But they didn't do that. They built this area as a playground for kids to come, get drunk, have fun and blow off some steam. They did that because they wanted to attract this kind of crowd so that could make more money.

    So again, the "it's offensive to Lao culture" is just a crock. It's like saying that the Daytona Beach party is offensive to American culture and we hold up a picture of Mayberry and a few quotes from Gomer Pyle to buttress our case. Daytona isn't middle America and it's Spring Break excesses are confined for a reason. Yes, kids drink too much there. Yes, kids party to hard. Yes, kids commit crimes and the police have to work a lot of overtime. But it brings in big money to the community and for that reason the community leaders allow it to continue. VV is the same thing and there's nothing wrong with that.

    If it bothers your friends, I suggest they should sell their farm and move to a more sedate place. Welcome to life.

    #21 Posted: 16/7/2009 - 13:09

  • HoangDJ

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    Remember the time I drink mulberry wine there, and bring one bottle home. Arhh, I didn't have any idea about its dark side.

    #22 Posted: 16/7/2009 - 13:50

  • MADMAC

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    "I'm sure tourism 'destroying' local culture is not just isolated to Vang Vieng. Eurotrash and Mediterranean islands come to mind as one example."

    Smaash
    No place in the world is static. Culture is also not a static thing. It changes, it gets external influences. Some will be god, some not so. It is useless to complain about them.

    I am uncomfortable with the term "Eurotrash" or any other term that denigrates peoples or elements of society.

    In this case it reminds me of a line from a Billy Joel song "We might be laughing a bit too loud, but that never hurt no one."

    These kids are just having fun, cutting loose. The real world is going to intrude on them in a big way soon enough. Let them enjoy life a little.

    Again, if what they were doing was a problem for the Laotian authorities, they are well positioned to stop it. They don't - and that tells you all they need to know.

    As I said before I am repulsed by the know-it-all backpacker kid who comes roaming through here using mommy and daddy's money to do it; has been in country for a couple of weeks; and now wants to tell me what's what about the place. I live here and some kid who hasn't even begun to live wants to lecture me? But I am not recommending that something "be done" about these grossly offensive types. I just have to live with it.

    #23 Posted: 16/7/2009 - 15:34

  • somtam2000

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    At least 113

    A couple of years ago I was talking to a reasonably well connected Lao guy on one of the islands in Si Phan Don. According to him they'd set up a working group to make sure one island (Don Khon) didn't develop in the "wrong way" -- they were using Vang Vieng as the prime example of exactly what they didn't want to create.

    Personally I think VV is a bit of a dive and I wouldn't return there unless I had to -- but it is pretty easy to understand the appeal some see in it.

    #24 Posted: 16/7/2009 - 15:55

  • basho

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    While I would agree that VV is for some and not others, it does have some AMAZINGLY beautiful mountains across the river and the best of their type I have ever seen, even China failed to live up to the view.

    Also, spider fans, the worlds largest spider is in the caves under those mountains (Laos cave huntsman), which was only discovered in 2001/2! If you want to see something very big and rare (they do wander around the area too), go take a look!

    An image of it is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/outsidecontext/3725592023/

    #25 Posted: 16/7/2009 - 16:23

  • Nokka

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    Haha, basho. I have an image of hundreds of arachnophobic gap year kids fleeing VV after reading your post.

    I do have some sympathy with MadMac's argument here. Party towns for kids seem to have mushroomed over the years all over the world. In many ways they are harmless enough and are easily avoided. At least they keep the people who want to do that stuff in one little area. I used to travel a lot to Spain a few years ago and it was the same there; loads of drunken northern Europeans in the well-known resorts on the Costas. Go even a couple of miles inland and you were back in Spain proper. For those of us who wanted to be in Spain proper, it was good news that the rest weren't diluted everywhere else.

    I get a bit more confused as to why so many backpackers travel half way round the world to experience another culture and then spend all their time in backpacker ghettos getting drunk. Maybe many who go to VV have been doing some proper travelling for a while and just for a couple of days want to have some laughs. That's OK. But it sometimes seems to me that ALL that some want to do with their gap year is go from one party place to another, with little or no cultural sensitivity whatsoever.

    #26 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 00:34

  • smash

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    Sorry I caused offense MADMAC. 'Eurotrash' is just a collective term I guess I used to explain crass, classless, new money, tacky, Burberry encrusted, tactless Europeans.

    #27 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 03:29

  • BruceMoon

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    Somtam, Ash, Rufus, John & others.

    A different slant on the subject.

    My home address is Currumbin, in Gold Coast city.

    For those that don't know about the Gold Coast, it is a city of some 650,000 people, and a tourist centre for up to 350,000 people. For the past half century, the image of the Gold Coast is of a tourist destination.

    For Australians, parts of the Gold Coast (especially Surfers Paradise) are the equivalent of VV AND SOME.

    However, the party part of the Gold Coast is reasonably well defined, and the stupidity that is party central doesn't really impact on the rest of the Gold Coast area.

    The economic benefits of tourism have long been recognised, and the city 'fathers' do all they can to pursue tourism opportunities.

    It seems to me that the critics of VV and the critics of the Gold Coast may have several things in common: they are speaking from their own perspective of what constitutes a holiday destination.

    I doubt the tubing, etc., of VV is my must see destination. But, from what I've read, and what I've experienced elsewhere in Laos, I'm sure the region in and around VV would appeal to me.

    Cheers

    #28 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 05:18

  • smash

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    Oh the memories of 'Schoolies' 2002...

    #29 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 06:20

  • smash

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    Out of interest, how do people rate the karst scenery around VV with Halong Bay and Yangshuo? We're going to be visiting these places too on our trip.

    #30 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 09:36

  • MADMAC

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    "However, the party part of the Gold Coast is reasonably well defined, and the stupidity that is party central doesn't really impact on the rest of the Gold Coast area."

    This is my point exactly. Kids are going to party like this someplace. And it is better for all concerned if there are identified places for them to do it.

    #31 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 11:05

  • basho

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    Halong bay is nice. That's how I would describe it. What slightly ruins the experience is the quality of the tour operators in the area. The scenery itself is everything you expect. High peeks out of the water, isolated islands with high peeks, some amazing and very large cave structures, lots of people living on the water. There is a nice hike I took up on peek to a VC spotting point that over looks almost everything. IMHO: avoid monkey island; rabies is no fun brother.

    The Li river cruise was expensive and not my favourite. Yangsho is nicer than Guilin, but there is nothing wrong with either. The scenery on the cruise was again very nice, but very touristed. On this cruise we were unable to stop at any point for a walk. It was just watch and wait for the section that is on the back of the money. In the area surrounding the town, there are many cycle routes for a day out near the mountains.

    Unfortunately, my Vid camera broke on the way out of Halong bay harbour and I didn't get it back until I got to Calcutta, so I have no video. However, I am blogging that section of Vietnam today and have plenty of photo's!

    Out of all my adventures the best scenery of this type, IE the most "unspoiled" by the vigours of tourism; so the best in a Bear Grills sense of the word; was Laos. But then that is the magic of Laos fullstop.

    The best "high mountains" I have EVER seen was the incredible Milford Sound in NZ. That was special. I did a video of the experience here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dvro5XqoSI


    Basho

    #32 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 16:28

  • smash

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    It's funny... I live in New Zealand at the moment and have absolutely no desire to see this country... :o/

    #33 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 17:19

  • basho

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    I think the expression "tragic" better sums up that sentiment!

    #34 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 17:28

  • smash

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    Maybe just saving the backyard for last... Fixated on Scandinavia for my experience of glaciers and fjords!

    #35 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 17:54

  • BruceMoon

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    Basho

    Kiwiland is a great place. But, like most iconic destinations, the best is always hidden around the corner... Thankfully, these are the places where the tourism merchants don't (or can't) spin their bullsh*t to fool the hordes.

    So, in kiwiland, where are the magical high places?

    Milford Sound is so, well, passe.

    Once you've enjoyed the Sounds of Doubtful or Queen Charlotte, you'll say What the hell did we waste our money on the hyped up Milford Sound!!! Geez we got ripped off!{/color].

    But, these views are merely the 'bottom up'.

    For the 'top down' (ie. standing there, looking down on an amazing carpet called 'the world'), there is Cardrona, or Treble Cone, even the (un)Remarkables as spacey, but for an all out 'I'm god type possie, the range road down to Collingwood is hard to beat.

    Cheers

    #36 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 18:21

  • BruceMoon

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    ps. basho, great vid of kiwiland, like the music too.

    Cheers

    #37 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 18:22

  • buecax

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    i wonder if there is any problem with schistosomiasis around vang vieng?

    #38 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 21:25

  • MADMAC

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    "Out of all my adventures the best scenery of this type, IE the most "unspoiled" by the vigours of tourism; so the best in a Bear Grills sense of the word; was Laos. But then that is the magic of Laos fullstop."

    Vermont. The conifer woods and Green Mountains of Vermont are stunning.

    In a very, very different way (i.e. not green) the Ogaden Desert of Ethiopia holds a very strange appeal to me. Blistering hot (we had one day where it was 55 degrees celsius in the shade) almost every day, no rain, little water, harsh people where there are people at all... I really liked it there.

    #39 Posted: 17/7/2009 - 22:02

  • BruceMoon

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    buecax

    "i wonder if there is any problem with schistosomiasis around vang vieng?

    I'd assume so.

    But, it appears they stay on the skin for about 48 hours before gaining a hold. So, a good all over body scrub under a shower will eradicate.

    For harder to get to parts, maybe an antiseptic type body wash product would suffice if you were worried about the problem.

    Cheers

    #40 Posted: 18/7/2009 - 06:13

  • danza

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    watxhing ur viseo just makes me wanna go back
    i was there early december 2008 it is the most fun ive ever had

    Basho u get videos like that from any other parts of the world, im looking to travel again this year, im just not sure where to go

    #41 Posted: 18/7/2009 - 17:50

  • MADMAC

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    "watxhing ur viseo just makes me wanna go back
    i was there early december 2008 it is the most fun ive ever had"

    Hombre
    Recommend you ignore comments about how "sad and sorry" you are. Glad it was a good time.

    #42 Posted: 19/7/2009 - 17:55

  • danza

    Joined Travelfish
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    u are doos

    #43 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 00:23

  • danza

    Joined Travelfish
    7th July, 2009
    Posts: 4

    sorry
    u are a doos

    #44 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 00:24

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    What's a "doos"?

    #45 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 00:47

  • danza

    Joined Travelfish
    7th July, 2009
    Posts: 4

    i thought you were some educated and sophisticated world traveller, language know it all
    so figure it out

    #46 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 02:59

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Posts: 2303
    Total reviews: 47

    i don't know about that danza. i think you may be out of line here, since the only meaning i know for doos is pretty unkind. if that is what you meant, that's particularly odd, since MADMAC was actually congratulating you on having a good time and encouraging you to ignore anyone who might try to detract from your experience. so what's up?

    also, i don't think MADMAC ever claimed to be anything like what you've written above. that's more like our beloved brucemoon, who has an older, wiser sort of vibe in his posts. MADMAC might be one of the most opinionated posters on this site, but he's also fair-minded and usually quite insightful, even if i don't always agree with his conclusions. i've always interpreted his bluntness as a matter-of-fact way of doing things, like you might be with a good friend over a beer at a pub. cheers.

    #47 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 03:38

  • basho

    Click here to learn more about basho
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    Location United Kingdom
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    When it takes you two attempts to call someone "stupid", even if it is in Dutch, then you are only making yourself appear so.

    #48 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 03:50

  • HoangDJ

    Click here to learn more about HoangDJ
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Vietnam
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    smash

    I'm living in Hanoi, Vietnam and I used to think that there's not much thing to see in my country. But after traveling around, I found that it's great to discover it, discover ourselves, before you guys (I mean Western or American one) discover it, so I can have something to tell about my country.

    Btw, I've just been back from Vang Vieng this morning. It was great there, but not for going off-road (because of raining season). But tubing there was awesome. A pity that I couldn't swim (so shameful), just go there for some BeerLao and some pix. We are the only two Asian over there yesterday :D

    #49 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 14:03

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Exacto
    Sums me up pretty good.

    #50 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 18:28

  • BruceMoon

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    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Hoang

    You wrote...

    "We are the only two Asian over there yesterday :D'.

    So, tell us again, what part of the world are you visiting?

    Cheers

    #51 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 18:42

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Bruce
    I don't think he meant it the way it sounded.

    #52 Posted: 20/7/2009 - 20:20

  • smash

    Joined Travelfish
    21st June, 2009
    Posts: 162

    I'm not from NZ originally - I'm from Aussie which I've pretty much explored growing up many thanks to the mother and father! think as a family of five it was just easier to holiday in Aussie! As a competitive swimmer, I've been to all the capitals numerous times and done side-trips whilst visiting each city. Have done the Red Centre, Kakadu area, GB Reef (numerous times from various points), Indian Pacific, Kimberly cruise... So yes, I think I can reasonably say I've definitely explored the country I spent the first 18 years of my life in and I think Australia is just simply the most diverse and gorgeous country in the world (and I think I'm decently travelled at 24yo). New Zealand I think I could cover off if I could be bothered to spend 10-14 days roaming around the South Island. Just lack the motivation to do so...

    #53 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 03:47

  • smash

    Joined Travelfish
    21st June, 2009
    Posts: 162

    And, addiing to the above, I don't really feel a connection to New Zealand either. I feel more connected (and excited by) China as my father is Chinese (from Hong Kong) so I'm really amped to explore where he's from and the culture and heritage that makes up part of who I am. New Zealand just doesn't have this 'impact' on me - it just looks like a bunch of postcard picture-perfect locations to see. Hope this explains my point of view a little!

    #54 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 03:53

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
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    Location Australia
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    Ash

    I understand where youare coming from. yes, kiwiland is often picture perfect. But, the attraction for me is:

    1/.

    one can wander around the landscape without the regulations, advertising, push-push/sell-sell, and other stuff associated with travel elsewhere.

    and

    2/.

    As an Australian 9and given #1), it feels like Australia was some 25 years ago (not in a backwards sense, rather as, look at the wonderful values, attitudes, friendliness, that WAS Australia some 25 years ago).

    Cheers

    #55 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 07:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    I have to admit, everything I have ever read about New Zealand certainly makes it sound like an appealing place.

    #56 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 09:06

  • smash

    Joined Travelfish
    21st June, 2009
    Posts: 162

    Hmpf. I don't really like South Islanders. A number I've met are generally tainted with a bit of bigotry, racism, narrow mindedness and ignorance.

    #57 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 09:46

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
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    Location Australia
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    Ash

    "A number I've met are generally tainted with a bit of bigotry, racism, narrow mindedness and ignorance.

    hahahahaha

    Not only there, that attitude is everywhere.

    There's been a few discussions on Travelfish about this topic.

    The more I travel, the more I realise the bigoted, racist, ignorant and narrow-minded person has yet to get off the couch and compare (test?) their values against others.

    In some respects, it's the bigotry, racism, narrow mindedness and ignorance in others that makes me enjoy travelling and learning.

    The knowledge I learn actually allows me a sense of superiority when I say to that couch potato "why is your xxxxx better than vvvvv's?"

    They tend to either go inwards and defensive, or silent.

    #58 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 10:16

  • smash

    Joined Travelfish
    21st June, 2009
    Posts: 162

    Typically South Islanders don't get out much so I guess that can be their excuse. LOL. I'm in Auckland which is, I guess, a lot more 'cosmopolitan' than the rest of the country.

    #59 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 10:42

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Uclund, eh...

    .

    Bro, dem big illunder's a but offa wurry...


    .
    daygo mudd sumtimes...




    .
    Cheers

    #60 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 14:20

  • smash

    Joined Travelfish
    21st June, 2009
    Posts: 162

    hey hey hey my partner is Samoan :oP
    all the nicest Kiwis I know are islanders ;o)

    #61 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 14:30

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    The Somalis are the most racist people I know. Quickly followed by the Amharic.

    "hey hey hey my partner is Samoan :oP"

    You remember Antoine Rockamora, half black, half Somoan? Folks used to call him Tony Rockyhorror."
    "I think so. Kind of fat right?"
    "Well I wouldn't exactly be callin' the brother fat. Imean he's Somoan, he's got a weight problem. What's a nigger gonna do?"

    #62 Posted: 21/7/2009 - 19:10

  • HoangDJ

    Click here to learn more about HoangDJ
    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2009
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 19

    BruceMoon

    In the tubing place, yes, we are the only two Asian. I don't think others are Asian, with their blond/brown/grey hair and white/black/tan skin. Am I wrong anything?

    #63 Posted: 22/7/2009 - 10:29

  • smash

    Joined Travelfish
    21st June, 2009
    Posts: 162

    I have no idea what you're talking about Mac! And not all Samoans have weight problems - the men have amazing builds when they look after themselves properly ;o)

    #64 Posted: 22/7/2009 - 11:16

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Hoang

    hehehehe Sorry, I had to make the link, I thought the focus was funny.

    You wrote...

    "We are the only two Asian over there yesterday'.

    So, there you are, two Asian people surrounded by westerners....

    in an Asian nation full of Asian people.

    Sorry, must be my warped Australian sense of humour.

    hehehehe

    Cheers, anyway.

    #65 Posted: 22/7/2009 - 11:40

  • basho

    Click here to learn more about basho
    Joined Travelfish
    10th May, 2008
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 24

    Not that this is a NZ thread!

    But I have uploaded my NZ video to Vimeo in HD! It is here: http://vimeo.com/5703028

    Watch this and THEN try and tell me that this is not an amazing country!

    As for VV, well, I am making a "special edition" of my video for a competition and I will let you all know about it when it is ready.


    Basho

    #66 Posted: 22/7/2009 - 15:41

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    "I have no idea what you're talking about Mac! And not all Samoans have weight problems - the men have amazing builds when they look after themselves properly ;o)"

    Smash
    I guess you haven't seen Pulp Fiction.

    #67 Posted: 22/7/2009 - 23:28

  • pabloeskimo

    Joined Travelfish
    30th June, 2009
    Posts: 19
    Total reviews: 2

    We went to Vang Vieng & went to some beautiful caves & swimming spots by bike. We didn't go tubing cause this seemed to be like a party thing the British would especially like.
    We spoke to some locals & they didn't like the whole "tubing" thing, their beautiful city turned into an amusement park for drunk teenagers.
    If you go to Laos, I recommend you go to Vang Vieng because it is a very nice place. But please don't support the tubing thing.

    #68 Posted: 28/12/2009 - 17:16

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    "If you go to Laos, I recommend you go to Vang Vieng because it is a very nice place. But please don't support the tubing thing."

    The "tubing thing" is a bunch of kids having fun. Everywhere you go in the world, when young kids want to drink and have some fun, somebody is going to ***** about it. They aren't hurting anyone except perhaps themselves. As Billy Joel said "They might be laughing a bit too loud, but that never hurt no one." Christ, it's the only place in Laos where kids can cut loose, and there's no shortage of people who want to stop it.

    #69 Posted: 28/12/2009 - 23:11

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    I still don't get the British - Tubing link? i didn't meet any Brits in Laos or VV. I'm not sure how you can support the link either, unless you happen to have lived in VV for awhile. I could easily pass the buck to other nationalities.

    I also can't see how the simple act of sitting on a tube and floating down the river harms anyone? It is what often goes hand in hand with tubing that has led to debate/conflict. Don't avoid tubing, avoid copious amounts of alcohol and drugs. Hell, go down sober, kick back and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. The tube people will still get some money, the tuktuk man will still get some money and you can still feel good you haven't supported what you refer to as "the tubing thing".

    #70 Posted: 29/12/2009 - 02:01

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Chris
    I agree absolutely on the tubing-UK thing. I don't understand why some people are so intent on portraying certain groups in a negative light. We're all individuals at the end of the day. This kind of labeling isn't useful.

    I disagree on the partying thing. Because the crowd here tends toward the sedate and enjoys "cultural" activities, they want to disparage those who just want to have a good time, do some drinking, have some sex... kind of normal actually. They put themselves on pedastals because they aren't "tourists", they're "travelers." It's a bunch of nonsense. If you don't live here, but come to visit, you're a tourist. And just because you're interested in a bunch of old stone masonry doesn't make you a superior human being to the rest of us.

    #71 Posted: 29/12/2009 - 15:52

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    I'm not sure that is disagreeing with me mac, different side of the same coin? I was simply saying that those who have an issue with what happens in Vang Vieng shouldn't avoid tubing necessarily but just the stuff that goes with it. I am not saying 'everyone should avoid the stuff other than floating down a river in a tube' i'm just saying it can still be enjoyable even if you're not off your face. Tubing doesn't HAVE to be about this even though for many people it is. Either way, tubing is pretty enjoyable whether you're there for party time or you usually like to enjoy cultural stuff.

    #72 Posted: 1/1/2010 - 04:32

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Chris
    Fair enough - point taken.

    As you can probably tell I get a little annoyed with the arrogance that shines through once in a while from those who, because their interests are "cultural" believe themselves to be better humans than everyone else and look down upon "normal" tourists. I saw this in spades when I was in Savanakhet and have been equally annnoyed when members of the backpacker crowd make snide comments about my wife of ten years as if I had just bought her out of a bar (and no, she doesn't look like she just came out of a bar).

    #73 Posted: 1/1/2010 - 10:23

  • dclayw

    Joined Travelfish
    20th October, 2008
    Posts: 22

    We've just returned from Laos on new years day. We actually had to cut our 30 day planned trip down to 15, deeply disappointed about that, right now we should be in Nong Kiaw :(

    Just thought I'd add my 2 cents worth on tubing in Vang Vieng.

    We are a family of 4 with two teens 15 and 17 and spent 4 nights in VV. The "scene" in VV is no-where near as "bad" as has been made out by some. Sure there are a few drunks around (kept seeing the same ones actually). There's obviously some drugs there too but we did not see anything totally off the planet. I think we were probably expecting the worst, didn't get it, not by any means.

    The tubing was great although the river was a bit on the slow side. we had to paddle the last bit just to make the 6pm deadline so we could get our 60,000 kip deposit back. It was just interesting seeing all the bars with zip lines and swing ropes etc set up. It appears most of the backpacker crowd just hang around the first bar which was absolutley packed. I'm not sure if too many of them actually went tubing, if they did it would have been in the dark. Our 17 year old son says he wants to go back there, not surprising I guess.

    We stopped at a couple of bars on the way down, like most of us we are partial to beer lao as well. It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Actually got a little cold later in the afternoon.

    My advice would not to be put off on visiting VV, there's plenty to do there and the scenery is magnificent. We hired bicycles one day and road out to the main caves (Blue Lagoon etc), and motor bikes another day to get further out into the country-side.

    I have to say I probably enjoyed VV more then LP. All of us as tourists, backpackers, travellers or whatever, we all add to the numbers and have an impact on whereever we visit, but LP was just crawling with foreigners, us included ofcourse. I found it easier to get away from it all in VV. Don't get me wrong we did enjoy LP too, it's quite a facinating place.

    #74 Posted: 2/1/2010 - 13:37

  • acidliam

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 11

    I'm off to VV to go tubing in a few days. I'm going to get drunk, be rowdy, maybe injure myself and maybe do a little bit of sick.

    I couldn't give a rats ass if this offends any of the Guardian reading liberals on here. I can't stand the way some people use travelling as a method of judging other people. 'Oh you didn't sleep in a mud hut on a crisp packet, how very unfortunate'

    These are the people that normally walk around in bare feet in fishermans pants but go home to a middle management job. Unlucky.

    #75 Posted: 13/1/2010 - 14:06

  • basho

    Click here to learn more about basho
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    Location United Kingdom
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    I think you are confused. Liberals read the Independent, not the Guardian (80% of its readers are Labour voters - it is basically the bourgeoisie paper), and if you think about it - of all the political groups, liberals would have the LEAST problem with what you are doing in VV.

    I think you means Greens (who hate the VV party scene for the damage to the countryside).

    #76 Posted: 13/1/2010 - 16:35

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Basho
    He meant Liberal as in politically to the left in their orientation. And I tend to agree with his position. There is a haughty arrogance that begins with people calling themselves "travelers" vice tourists (if you don't live here - you're a tourist). It descends from there with those who thumb their noses at those staying in hotels on the beach instead of a "homestay" in some remote quarter. Basically, as I stated before, there are some in the eco tourist or cultural tourist set who start to take on airs of superiority and it is pretty nauseating.

    #77 Posted: 13/1/2010 - 17:43

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    "I'm off to VV to go tubing in a few days. I'm going to get drunk, be rowdy, maybe injure myself and maybe do a little bit of sick."

    Please do. perhaps you might like to post your address here as well, so that if any Lao people live in your area they can go and urinate on your doorstep.

    #78 Posted: 13/1/2010 - 18:05

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    Liberal - The UK/American usage of the word differs. In everyday usage 'liberals' refers to the Party, not the left. Lets not get into a political debate though, i just thought i should mention it. Especially as he refers to the Guardian which, at least traditionally, is a paper which was viewed has having liberal sympathies.

    It doesn't really matter if you offend people here, on a forum, or even other tourists. I do think that you should always try and respect the locals though. Don't get me wrong, you can still get drunk and respect the locals...afterall, locals get drunk too but theres a line. I think good sized minority of people in VV cross this but still a minority. Of course, i've been once...i'm no expert.

    #79 Posted: 13/1/2010 - 19:08

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    I agree with Christay. Getting drunk and then foisting obnoxious behavior on others around you (tourist or not) is not cool. I have no problem with a group of kids getting together in a place where it's generally acceptable to be drunk and obnoxious - but keep it in that place and don't bother others who are not participating. If you don't have the self control to do that, then obviously you shouldn't be drinking - in VV or anywhere else. Certain places in VV have set themselves up to entertain this, and that's fine. But the rest of the community shouldn't have to deal with it. Just treat other people with respect.

    #80 Posted: 14/1/2010 - 09:43

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    Good grief, Mac. What is this display of caring and sharing? A New Year's resolution perhaps?

    #81 Posted: 14/1/2010 - 12:51

  • acidliam

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 11

    Rufus, why would they want to do that? I wasn't going to piss on anyones front door. You need to brush that chip off your shoulder sunshine.

    #82 Posted: 14/1/2010 - 13:39

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    No chip. But by your stated behaviour in my country, I think pissing on your doorstep in yours is equivalent.

    #83 Posted: 14/1/2010 - 18:21

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Rufus
    Assuming he just gets drunk and has some fun... that is not inappropriate to Laos. Laotians come over here and get drunk all the time. And I do mean all the time. It's normal. They aren't saints. They aren't special. They're humans, just like the rest of us.

    Again, I have no problem with people getting drunk and having some fun. That doesn't mean you have to be an obnoxious dick, and it doesn't mean you have to piss in their yard. You can be drunk and still use a bathroom. Being drunk doesn't mean being uncivilized.

    #84 Posted: 14/1/2010 - 22:06

  • acidliam

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 11

    Im pretty sure if the people of Vang Vieng didn't want people tubing down the river getting drunk it would be pretty easy to stop. I can't imagine hoards of Westerners turning up with illicit inner tubes in their back packs, breaking into tractor depots and harvesting the rubbery delights that await them in the dead of night, etc.

    You obviously do have a chip that needs brushing away, either that or you need to take your face for a big ****. If it would really help you can come and take a piss on my doorstep, I wouldn't mind. I'd even give you a hug afterwards, I'm certain you need one. x

    #85 Posted: 17/1/2010 - 14:15

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    'rubbery delights' made me laugh

    no need to make this a personal dispute though

    A lot of people didn't want us [UK] to go to war but we went anyway...if the powers that be want tubing, i doubt theres much that regular ol' joe can do about it.

    #86 Posted: 17/1/2010 - 21:01

  • damo

    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2009
    Posts: 14

    Finally got to experience the VV phenomenon and I have to say that I really liked it. I stayed on the other side of the river, nice relaxed vibe and loads of amazing and beautiful stuff really close (the view from the bamboo hut at the top of the pillar was incredible), and when I felt like letting my hair down, chaos was only a 10 minute walk away. Tubing was slightly bizarre, but I enjoyed the free shots and actually completed the trip back to town.

    One thing that my Italian friend pointed out was completely true - even in the midst of the wildest party in VV, the overall vibe was very mellow. I never saw any hassle, aggression or fighting, and compared to a weekend night out back home, it was like a kids playground.

    Big ups to Maylyn guesthouse and Jaidee's Bar.

    #87 Posted: 25/1/2010 - 12:38

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    I'll have to check it out... kind of cold right now.

    #88 Posted: 25/1/2010 - 17:48

  • somtam2000

    admin
    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 6960
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    A topic that just keeps giving... I've just added a story on this topic here: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/186 Paints a pretty sccurate picture I think -- may even need to drop by next month.

    #89 Posted: 29/1/2010 - 09:03

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    The article paints a pretty sad picture for me, Somtam.

    #90 Posted: 29/1/2010 - 10:57

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Not to me. If this were happening all over Laos, I'd agree that it would be a problem. But it's happening in one po-dunk little postage stamp of a town. Rufus, you seem to take exception to this happening any place on the planet. If not there, where? Where can kids go and just cut loose for a while? Life is hard enough as it is. Why not let them chill somewhere once in a blue moon? For property owners that live there and don't like the way their town has changed, they can always sell their now more valueable real estate and move elsewhere. Nothing stands still. Places change. That's life.

    #91 Posted: 29/1/2010 - 18:01

  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
    1st March, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 560

    I just bought a half a hectare maybe 12km norht of town. To get the deal done my brother in law and family all went up and I guess they got a hotel room right in town. His only comment was after the sun goes down you don't see a Lao face in town.

    #92 Posted: 29/1/2010 - 21:45

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    Mac, I am not the only one who feels that way. On another sight someone described the tourists there as "facebooked moronic zombies". I don't objetc to getting pissed. Hell, I played petanque with some Laos on Wed and got home as pickled as a parrot.

    I object to two things:
    1) the drugs
    2) disrespect to local culture, and the failure to even see something of the countryside except the inside of the nearest bar. The kids who I've seen wandering around topless have no regard for anyone but themselves. Selfish little shits!

    #93 Posted: 30/1/2010 - 08:44

  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
    1st March, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 560

    ????

    First paragraph you brag about doing drugs with Lao people on Wednesday, second paragraph you object to drugs. Which is it?

    #94 Posted: 30/1/2010 - 10:42

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Rufus
    First of all, VV is marketing itself for this crowd. You know it, I know it. You can't call that selfish or disrespecting of local culture when the Laos themselves market it in that fashion. I said before, and will say it again, if this were a problem with Laos officialdom they would put a stop to it.

    At least a fair number of people come to Laos because of VV. I get the impression that you believe Laos should be set aside for the cultural tourist - all others need not apply. That's not the way life works. If Laos wants to play with the big boys in the tourist industry, it has to cater to all tastes. To put this activity in one, narrow, location is, in my opinion, wise. It allows the cultural tourist who doesn't want the exposure to it, to avoid it. It allows the person who wants some of that cultural experience but also wants to cut loose, to do that to. It keeps all of those tourist dollars in Laos (which is the point of tourism).

    You complain here about the drugs, in a society which has historically used and sold drugs for eons. Opposing the use of drugs is disrespecting Laos culture. On top of that, you are call those going topless disrespecting Laos culture. I invite your attention to the following. Third picture down, look at how that women is disrespecting Laos culture:

    link here

    #95 Posted: 30/1/2010 - 11:03

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    "First paragraph you brag about doing drugs with Lao people on Wednesday, second paragraph you object to drugs. Which is it?"

    Somsai, since when is Beer Laos doing drugs? Thats a new one for me.

    Mac, now you are being disingenous when you show a picture of a Hill Tribe female. You ever see any topless Lao in VV?
    As for the comment that disrespecting drugs is disrespecting Lao culture - firstly I didn't say that. I am against the trafficking of drugs anywhere. I'll explain why when we meet.

    #96 Posted: 30/1/2010 - 11:40

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    OK, I'm oppossed to the use of narcotics as well - BUT, I am also libertarian by nature. So if someone wants to be a moron, whoa be it for me to tell him he can't be.

    And those hill tribes are citizens of Laos and they are in Laos...

    Again, Rufus, you know if the authorities wanted this behavior stopped there, they would stop it. I'm sure most of the Laos women enjoy seeing white women show off their racks!!! Don't get to see much of that in these parts.

    #97 Posted: 30/1/2010 - 15:51

  • she_spools_-
    180

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2010
    Posts: 6

    Sorry to resurrect an old topic, but I feel I need to say something

    Madmac you are completely right, and I can't see how Rufus does not understand.

    Rufus,

    First of all, beer lao contains alcohol, alcohol is a drug, it is a mind altering substance.

    Secondly, are you saying that all of Laos is ruined now because of one town overrun by drunk farangs?

    You want to visit a country and see a culture that is basically 100% untouched by developments of tourism? Go to Ethiopia perhaps, you won't find tubing, or drunk tourists there.

    Oh, but you want to see Lao culture? Then go to ANY other town in Laos, that's what they are there to cater for, and stay away from the one town that is not there to cater for your travel desires, but other people's travel desires. And stop having a whinge about it.

    It seems that you would only be happy if every town in Laos catered for your travel desires and fitted your ideal travel spot. That being, traditional culture with out young drunks wandering around. Is this correct?

    I am travelling to Vang Vieng for NYE this year. It will be my first time in Vang Vieng or Laos.

    I consider myself a well respected member of society, I have better manners than 95% of the population of Australia. I am an Engineer, with a well respected job, and of course a tertiary education. And I have a great respect for other people and their property.

    When I go, I will not be urinating on people's doorsteps, I will not be vomiting in people's front yards, I will use my manners and respect the locals. I will, howerver, be going to Vang Vieng purely to get as drunk as possible and to let loose. Who knows I might even partake in some drugs other than alcohol if curiosity gets the better of me. But the point is I'm glad that there is a place like this that I can experience, and just because it is not your thing, you should not go and denounce a place like this.

    The only reason, currently in my life, that I am going to Vang Vieng or Laos at all for that matter is to experience a party that I cannot experience anywhere else near by, in Asia or Australia. I am bringing in money into the economy, and who knows, one day later on down the track, I might perhaps come back to experience the culture. But I currently have other cultures that I am interested in higher up on my to-do list.

    But this brings me back to the point, as people have already mentioned. if the government really wanted to stop it, they could. If the locals really don't like it, they can sell their land which would not be worth bucket load because of the location, and move on.

    I agree, there will always be those farangs that are an embarrassment and disrespect the locals and their doorsteps. However, you will find these everywhere in the world, as was already mentioned, with spring break etc. Do you have a problem with the kids at spring break? or Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan? Should both of these events be abloished or condemned as well?

    If you don't like it because of the severe lack of culture, don't go there, and stop whinging about it. As people mentioned, chip, shoulder, OFF!

    #98 Posted: 19/10/2010 - 09:30

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    "are you saying that all of Laos is ruined now because of one town overrun by drunk farangs? "
    And I said this where precisely?

    "Who knows I might even partake in some drugs other than alcohol if curiosity gets the better of me."
    If you tell me when and where you are staying and what your real name is, I will inform my cousin who is a police officer currently stationed in Vang Vieng. I am sure he will be able to help you out and take good care of you.

    "It seems that you would only be happy if every town in Laos catered for your travel desires and fitted your ideal travel spot. "
    You didn't read much of this thread, otherwise you would know that I am not a tourist, but live here.

    " If the locals really don't like it, they can sell their land which would not be worth bucket load because of the location, and move on."
    Sorry, but this comment is unbelievably ignorant and displays a total lack of knowledge of Laos culture and society. I am amazed that anyone who claims to have a tertiary education can make a comment like this. Before making comments like this I suggest you actually speak to some of the locals and ask them what they think.

    #99 Posted: 19/10/2010 - 11:18

  • she_spools_-
    180

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2010
    Posts: 6

    " "are you saying that all of Laos is ruined now because of one town overrun by drunk farangs? "
    And I said this where precisely?"

    You didn't but that was your posts seemed to entail. The implication I picked up was was that Laos is at risk of losing its 'charm' however you want to put it. When infact it is only Vang Vieng that is, and it is very much confined to there

    " "Who knows I might even partake in some drugs other than alcohol if curiosity gets the better of me."
    If you tell me when and where you are staying and what your real name is, I will inform my cousin who is a police officer currently stationed in Vang Vieng. I am sure he will be able to help you out and take good care of you. "

    Thank you, appreciated. But, I'm guessing I should take this as ‘it is illegal and you will get arrested’, correct? So maybe you can explain to me, by asking him, if it is illegal, why, as I have been lead to believe, every restaurant so openly and freely sells drugs? Or is this not true? It was under that pretense that I would have possibly succumbed.

    " "It seems that you would only be happy if every town in Laos catered for your travel desires and fitted your ideal travel spot. "
    You didn't read much of this thread, otherwise you would know that I am not a tourist, but live here. "

    I did read the whole thread, but did not pick that up.

    " " If the locals really don't like it, they can sell their land which would not be worth bucket load because of the location, and move on."
    Sorry, but this comment is unbelievably ignorant and displays a total lack of knowledge of Laos culture and society. I am amazed that anyone who claims to have a tertiary education can make a comment like this. Before making comments like this I suggest you actually speak to some of the locals and ask them what they think."

    All I did was make an educated guess. I did perhaps state it too strongly, and imply knowledge in the area, which I should have not, however, that being said, was that really such an outrageous assumption though? It is a guess, and I understand that it could be wrong, but after pointing that fact out, could you at least explain why, as you are a local, or close enough, even if you don’t live in Vang Vieng.

    #100 Posted: 19/10/2010 - 13:17

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    Firstly, not all places sell Happy Pizzas or similar, though a lot do. Why? It has to do with corruption. Flouting the laws is easier if you make money. Secondly, foreigners are caught every now and then in scams involving corrupt police or restaurant owners etc. This involves the payment of several thousand dollars to avoid prosecution. Remember that Lao still has the death penalty for drug trafficking. (Remember Samantha Orobator?)

    Regarding selling land and moving elswhere. Land in VV is getting expensive, but only if it is near the river. Where should the Laos move? Land in Vientiane is very expensive. What could a farmer do in the city? Further there are all sorts of cultural traditions and family ties that are too complicated to explain in a short post. Also Laos as a rule do not move a lot unless you are talking of the nomadic slash and burn hill farmers who are largely of the past

    #101 Posted: 19/10/2010 - 14:54

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Rufus
    Again, the basic point is simple here:

    1. Local entrepreneurs and local officials developed VV to cater to young kids who want to party. While I disagree on a few of She Spools points, the fundamental point remains - if not VV then where in Laos? I suspect you would object no matter the location.

    2. While Laotians don't often move from place to place, this is a lame arguement for clamping down. Germans don't like to move either and are very geograghically attached to their local areas. Still, if circumstance dictates it, anyone can and should be able to move. The world doesn't stop for anyone.

    3. It seems to me that you only want to see "positive" development in Laos, which is, of course, impossible. You have to take the good with the bad. While the average Laotian will doubtless complain about any number of things that come with development (just like the average human anywhere on the globe), take away their running water, their electricity (for those who have it), their roads... most importantly their TVs and watch how fast they complain.

    #102 Posted: 19/10/2010 - 18:06

  • she_spools_-
    180

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2010
    Posts: 6

    Perhaps I have brought up a few separate issues here which were not initially discussed, and we went off track a little, but madmac has brought it back to the original topic. Which is what I was really agreeing with in the first place.

    Out of curiosity, madmac, on what points do you disagree with me. I think I have an idea, but just out of curiosity?

    Also, regarding my initial post, after re reading it, it could perhaps have come across a little aggressive towards you rufus, I did not mean it to be, if you took it as a bit of a personal attack, I do apologise, no hard feelings?

    #103 Posted: 20/10/2010 - 09:47

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    None. Mac and I have a "go" at each other sometimes as well, and you should have posted when Bruce Moon was here.

    #104 Posted: 20/10/2010 - 14:10

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    I miss old Bruce...

    #105 Posted: 20/10/2010 - 18:05

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1530

    Stumbled across this one today. Really sums up the hedonism of Vang Vieng tubing, love it or hate it.

    YouTubeVideo

    And this good documentary

    #106 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 00:38

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    I fall of Laos, or even all of the backpacker destinations, had turned into this kind of a place, I would understand the objection. But it's one small place in the whole country. As I have said many times, if not VV then where? Thailand has Pattaya, Laos has VV, the US has Vegas. If you aren't interested, just don't go there. Simple.

    #107 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 17:46

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    Why not in their own country, Mac? If Lao residents of VV were getting a share of the proceeds, I wouldn't mind as much. It is only a few who make money, and of course the corrupt as well. If you ever go there, talk to the owner of the Mulberry farm and hear what he has to say.

    #108 Posted: 24/10/2010 - 08:23

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Come on Rufus - lots of people make money off of this. For a fair number of kids, VV is the draw to go Laos. And they are dropping real money. The guest house owners, the restaraunt owners the bus owners to get to and from VV, the beer distributors - plenty of money is moving around from these kids. Not to mention some are actually going to go to some other destinations in Laos who will also profit, and at least some of this business would not exist for those for whom VV is the primary draw. Any time you have changes in the economic or social structure of an environment, some people are not going to like it. The only thing I don't like about it is the fact that there are no Laotian kids participating. Understanding that most don't have that much disposable income. And before you start harping on how they wouldn't in their culture, my son has a Lao girl in his university and she's a party animal (from Savanakhet too funny enough). So yes, it's not "local culture" and it's a little out of control - but it's the only place in Laos that does this. And it's not a big place. Let the kids have some fun for Christ sakes. Everything doesn't have to be buttoned up and the "respect of local culture" is just an excuse by those who don't think this should be happening anywhere, ever. You say "their own countries". Well, in many of their own countries such activity has been regulated out of existence. So they have to go elsewhere.

    #109 Posted: 24/10/2010 - 11:24

  • Hernie

    Joined Travelfish
    17th January, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Ah, I miss VV, I was there eleven months ago... I'm 31, not 21, so for me it was a choice between tubing all day then an early night, or chilling out in the day (the Irish pub with the pool table was a good place to do that) then a few Britneys and a dance in the evening. I have to say it wasn't the Sodom and Gomorrah I was expecting, compared to your average "Broken Britain" documentary or the nights I've had in Ibiza and Berlin, it was quite tame!

    Sure, there was a lot of drinking going on, but no-one seemed incapable of movement, there certainly wasn't any aggression witnessed, and while I saw the odd joint being bandied about, surely this just generated more income from the "Sabaidee Sandwich Pancake" ladies with their carts by the bridge? It took me five days to pluck up the courage to try a mushroom shake, I wish I hadn't bothered. Five minutes of sligh hallucinationy wobbliness, no lovely feeling, and that was it.

    I agree with the idea of keeping this a localised thing; I certainly wouldn't have thought about going to Lao PDR at all if it wasn't for VV, but I stayed three weeks (one in VV) and had plenty of culture aswell as boozy fun. Interesting to see people above saying don't "support" the tubing... support? Is tubing a cause? It seemed from when I was there that there are two companies running the tubing racket and quite a large chunk of the £5 fee goes to the town council, there were loads of posters about telling us that money goes towards local projects, increasing water supplies to homes outside the village.

    My main piece of advice to anyone going (especially if you're only likely to go tubing once) is simply this: when you get to the first bar, look down the river, and you'll see the 6th or 7th bar over on the right hand side, the one with the slide. That's pretty much it. The float is indeed 4km, but bar-wise, there are only one or two after the slide bar. Don't blow your wad too early, the first, 3rd and 4th bars have the best music, spend the first few hours at these places getting nicely toasted, then (preferably) in a group, give yourself a good hour and a half to float back to town.

    #110 Posted: 25/10/2010 - 21:23

  • zitone

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd August, 2011
    Posts: 2

    hi to everybody!!!
    someone know if will be ok tubing in laos in the first week of october??
    The weaather? how will be the river?

    Thankssss

    #111 Posted: 2/8/2011 - 21:43

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2045
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    I can't help you with your specific question sorry, but seeing this thread pop up reminded me of an article that I saw yesterday on NZ and Aust news sites that I thought be of interest.


    "The man who claims he accidentally started the tourist craze of tubing in the Laos riverside town of Vang Vieng says its popularity is now hurting the town and its culture.
    ...
    "They don't respect any law, regulations. There's no inspections, no control," he says. "Two years ago it was paradise." Now he says the bars that have been built on the banks of the popular tubing route - which begins just in front of his farm - are "very bad".


    The riverside bars play loud music for much of the day, disturbing the tranquillity of the farm and the surrounding area. Sorangkoun says tourists leave rubbish and some are scantily-clad and kiss and cuddle in public - something not generally done in Laos....

    "It's just destroying the town and we are losing our culture ... the noise, the people naked, alcohol, people vomiting all over the place, sex," he says. Sengkeo Frichitthavong, who owns a farm about seven kilometres out of Vang Vieng, is also shocked by the effects of tubing and tourism. Frichitthavong says some children had been tempted to thieve from tourists. ...."

    Full article here:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/international/5372627/Laos-tubing-craze-destroying-town

    #112 Posted: 3/8/2011 - 02:23

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Liz,
    The article is bullshit. Pure, and adulterated, bullshit.

    First of all, seven klicks out of town and he can hear it? What is he, the bionic man?

    Losing our culture? This activity is constrained to a very narrow geograghic range. Not that your culture was worth respecting anyway. But asssuming it was, outside these few narrow square kilometers of Laos, the shitty ass culture that remains there survives just fine. Such statements are nothing other than pathetic.

    "They don't respect any law, regulations.

    This is hillarious. Laos is a police state - for those who have missed it. It's governance is ****. To say they don't respect the law, when the law is absolute - when government can do what it pleases, when it pleases, is ludicrous. Whoever wrote this is either a moron, or living in a delusional state. Of course they respect the law. The problem is, the law isn't worthy of respect. Because the system of governance isn't worthy of respect.

    I said it before, I'll say it again. VV is to Laos, what Dayton Beach is to the US, or the European equivelent of Ibiza or what Pattaya is to Thailand. These are relatively (emphasis on relatively) extreme places, but they are small, sanctioned - THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THESE PLACES EXISTING.

    Funnny how the shitty governance of these places that oppreses your normal citizen (Laos, Vietnam, Burma) gets a pass, while VV for it's small amount of hedonism gets the gong. I mean, seriously, WTF?




    #113 Posted: 3/8/2011 - 02:57

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    "The article is bullshit. Pure, and adulterated, bullshit.

    First of all, seven klicks out of town and he can hear it? What is he, the bionic man?"

    Mac, I know this guy quite well and have been to the Organic Farm many times. It is not bullshit. The bars playing techno music are not just in town, but dot the Nam Song. There is one 100 metres past his farm and this bar is the prime reason I did not stay at the farm, but in a hotel in town. The noise was very disturbing.

    "Not that your culture was worth respecting anyway. "
    Mac, seriously that comment is unworthy of you. There is a LOT in Lao culture that I like. Sure there are some things i don't as well, but Lao, (and Asian culture in general), has a lot to offer to the west.

    "The problem is, the law isn't worthy of respect. Because the system of governance isn't worthy of respect."
    Really? I believe that some, (many?), in the govt are really trying to do their best for the country. Sure some are corrupt and on the take, but talk to some of the younger ones and they aren't. Anyway, in contrast are western systems of govt worthy of respect? There is corruption there as well, it is just better hidden.

    You must have been constipated when you posted this.

    #114 Posted: 3/8/2011 - 07:30

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Actually I was stone drunk - look at the time I posted it. I really gotta cut down on my drinking. But my basic sentiment stands. When change happens, it often impinges negatively on some people. When they have concerts on the Mekong, the noise prevents me from doing much at home (like your friend). But a great many people enjoy those concerts, so I have to either live with the inconvenience or move to a place where they don't happen. Sorry your friend doesn't like it, but he can sell up and move if he can adjust to the reality. If not VV then where? And the biggest issue for me is saying it's somehow culutrally insensitive - that's just absurd. It's geograghic footprint is way too small to impact on Laos culture.

    #115 Posted: 3/8/2011 - 11:47

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    Mac, he is not my friend. He is the owner of the Organic Mulberry Farm. I know him because I have had lunch at his restaurant at the farm on a number of occasions and have had one or two other dealings with him. This place has been there for years - well and truly before the party time started. He also has rooms for rent on the farm. I would not stay there because of the noise. He also mentioned that he has lost about 30-40% of his restaurant custom due to the incessant noise from the techno bars. You have to talk quite loudly to be heard. The bar starts at 10.00am and finishes about 8.00 pm in the Summer months, 7 days a week. I am sure that you don't have concerts on the Mekong 7 days a week.

    #116 Posted: 3/8/2011 - 12:07

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Rufus
    This is a basic zoning issue. That is up to the Laos authorities to handle - or not. But the insinuation is that people should stop enjoying this activity because:

    a. It impacts some people negatively.
    b. It's culturally insensitive.

    The latter arguement is ridiculous, and the former is an arguement that can be applied to a great many endeavors and has an answer - you move when your environment changes in such a way that you find it unacceptable. A lot of people hate when highways are built near their property. The incessant noise from the cars can be, for some, irritating. Ditto airports and train tracks. Does that mean that no highways, airports or train tracks should be built? There are a great many other examples as well.

    The bottom line is the boycott arguement as it applies here is not legitimate.

    #117 Posted: 3/8/2011 - 16:20

  • zitone

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd August, 2011
    Posts: 2

    vary intersting... but someone know if is ok make tubing in the first week of october??????????

    #118 Posted: 5/8/2011 - 20:30

  • morse96

    Joined Travelfish
    11th December, 2011
    Posts: 27

    calm down you keyboard warriors!!!! i for one cant wait to go tubing getting smashed out my face but then after about 2 days i'll be going sightseeing. im pretty sure the locals can deal with a few drunks and are happy with how many people turn. laos is one of the poorest countriesin SAE and every doller you spend getting drunk is feeding families .rant over!!!

    #119 Posted: 14/12/2011 - 18:33

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    Rant as much as you like. I was talking to some residents of Vang Vieng on Tuesday of the week. The contempt and pity they have for these hoons is quite strong. Pity? Yes, because they regard the drunken hoons as lowlifes. No, the money you spend does not go to feeding families. This is an incredibly naive view.

    #120 Posted: 14/12/2011 - 20:49

  • morse96

    Joined Travelfish
    11th December, 2011
    Posts: 27

    i think your quite naive to think only the rich man is benefitting from tourism. the street vendors are selling there food,clothes,drinks,ubes etc the laos people have to make sacrifices if tubing wasnt available in vangvieng i can almost guarantee the number of tourists woulddrop, this is not an attack on laos at all i am really looking foward to travelling there but without tourism laos would be a lot worse off. its the times we are living in and i think the laos people can think themselves lucky if they only have 1 town like this. again this isnt a rant about laos and im sure some people are annoyed but i was annoyed when they opened a tesco in my town but i just carried on living my life

    #121 Posted: 14/12/2011 - 21:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Rufus
    The people you are talking to on that subject are taking an obnoxious and elitist viewpoint. They "pity" the kids because they are having a good time blowing off some steam? Kids do this all over the world. What's the big deal? There is no big deal. Weren't you ever a kid? Didn't you ever do this kind of thing? This is confined to one lousy little town in the middle of nowhere Laos. If not there then where? If they find it "pitiful" or "contemptuous" then move. There are plenty of other crappy little towns in Laos they can live in.

    #122 Posted: 14/12/2011 - 21:33

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    "There are plenty of other crappy little towns in Laos they can live in."
    Really Mac? Maybe we can in western countries, (even then you may not be able to), but how can a Lao shopkeeper or villager move? This is not a realistic pov.

    #123 Posted: 14/12/2011 - 22:35

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Rufus, people move all the time, even in Laos. In fact, now that VV is a tourist destination, their property values have likely increased. At any rate, saying that this development has had a negative impact on some in the community is not a valid arguement for saying it should be boycotted or those partaking should be regarded as some sort of social pariahs. The blame for this lies squarely with the local civic government which has sanctioned it. And again, if not VV, then where? Tubing attracts tourists who have their party and then go on to visit other places in Laos. For some, were there no tubing, no party destination at all, then they wouldn't go to Laos - hence it would negatively impact the overall tourist industry. Probably not significantly, but perhaps enough to hurt some in the industry. At the end of the day, this activity is confined to a small geograghical area of Laos. Blaming the tourists for coming and partaking something that has been sanctioned by the local government for being somehow culturally insensitive is ludicrous.

    #124 Posted: 15/12/2011 - 03:25

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 642

    Surely Vang Vieng is beautiful enough in its own right without tubing, i.e. if it were to stop I think the tourist numbers wouldn't fall off too dramatically.

    #125 Posted: 15/12/2011 - 05:26

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    "partaking something that has been sanctioned by the local government"

    Has it? Are you sure about that?

    #126 Posted: 15/12/2011 - 17:49

  • esembey

    Joined Travelfish
    27th September, 2011
    Posts: 1

    So I fell into the trap of going tubing and while I did actually enjoy myself, I lost my camera. I know this is a massive long shot but I'm devastated at the loss of all my pictures and my own stupidity in bringing it so I'm at least going to try to get it back. I lost is dec 14, it's a blue canon D10 waterproof and I am the blonde girl in most the pictures. $100 reward if by some miracle anyone found it and also uses travelfish. A girl's gotta try right??

    #127 Posted: 15/12/2011 - 22:20

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Rufus
    You live in Laos right? It's a one party state right? Something like this CAN NOT exist in a one party state without state sanction. Not possible. Government officials could close it down in a New York minute were they so inclined. Stop being funny here.

    China
    Large numbers of kids go there exclusively partying. You turn that off, and lots of people don't come anymore. In VV the effect would be dramatic. Everyone isn't into "scenery". I don't go anywhere because of the scenery. I'm not alone.

    My other objection, however, is to the notion that kids having a good time drinking and screwing around with inner tubes is somehow a negative. Come on. This is the Laos version of Daytona Beach or Ibiza. There's nothing inherently wrong with it. It's confined to one place.

    I asked before, I ask again, if not VV then where?

    #128 Posted: 16/12/2011 - 04:13

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    "we might be laughin' a bit too loud, but that never hurt no one."

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

    #129 Posted: 16/12/2011 - 04:15

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Posts: 2303
    Total reviews: 47

    i suspect the objection isn't people having a good time but rather people having a good time at the expense of others. my dad was fond of saying that your right to throw a punch ends at my nose. people having fun on the river is fine, but when the loud music and hoonish behavior begins to negatively impact nearby businesses or homes, that is a legitimate problem. we all have to put up with some of this garbage every day with traffic noise and pollution and dogs barking, etc. but when it is all day, every day, it is a much larger concern.

    it also seems to me that the financial benefits of this type of tourism are going largely to one group of folks, but the price for having the trade there, in terms of reduced quality of life, is being paid by another group of folks - your poor, everyman's man. plus, as pointed out, it is a one-party state. so the odds of the average villager gaining a slice of the benefits seems pretty low.

    we've got a surprisingly similar issue going on in the small town where i live. an outside developer wants to put in a coal-processing facility. the lion's share of the profits would go to people from outside of the community. but the negatives associated with the coal plant, in terms of additional dust and air pollution, added truck traffic, and use of available scarce resources such as water, are on the shoulders of those who live here. there is a large percentage of townfolk who feel that their input is being completely ignored, and that is here in estados unidos where we have a high degree of political participation. because of that, it is easy to see how the promotion of the tubing culture in vang vieng is being done at the expense of local folk. cheers.

    #130 Posted: 16/12/2011 - 10:25

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Again, I go back to this basic:
    They have a system of redress, and if that system doesn't satisfy them, then they have to acknowledge either:

    A. The system of redress is insufficient and they need to work on their system of governance.

    Or

    B. There are more people in town who support the current status quo than would prefer to terminate the influx of drunk tourists.

    I suspect the answer is B.


    Whatever the answer is, it isn't "C", which is that tubing and drinking on the river is inherently wrong and / or anti-cultural vis-a-vis Laos culture.

    #131 Posted: 16/12/2011 - 12:19

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Posts: 2303
    Total reviews: 47

    i actually think the answer is A, system of redress, because that is how it seems to be playing out in my small town here on the coal plant issue. but even if B were true and the majority of people in town fully support it, if the negatives are shouldered by a disproportionately small segment of the population, that would still be an injustice, wouldn't it?

    as for C, we actually have that here too, particularly the drinking part, which isn't allowed at festivals and such. sort of bugs me, since that is an example of B, the majority insisting on everyone having to abide by their values at the expense of the minority. but that is an example of A, redress, i suppose.

    i haven't been to Vang Vieng for five years now. i liked it there...

    #132 Posted: 16/12/2011 - 14:26

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    " Something like this CAN NOT exist in a one party state without state sanction."

    Sorry Mac, but you have clearly no idea what life in Lao is like based on this comment. I suggest you come and take a look one of these days.

    #133 Posted: 16/12/2011 - 20:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    I was there not too long ago Rufus (not in Vientiane I'm afraid) and I also have a very good knowledge about how one party states and closed systems function. They have to maintain control of the political apparatus and they have to use the threat of violence to do so or they don't remain one party states. The tubing and drunkeness in VV are well known. It ain't some sort of secret. If the government officials wanted it stopped, like everything else they would stop it forthwith.

    exacto
    In all such situations you have winners and losers. Losers are those who are negatively impacted and who either don't benefit or in their view don't benefit sufficiently. Then you have winners who are either not impacted negatively or rewarded sufficiently that they are willing to accept the impact. Take a highway project. Some homes are going to have to be demolished as the state takes them by imminent domain. Rarely are the home owners adequately compensated and sometimes even when they are, they don't want to move. Or for people who's homes are close to the highway. Suddenly their home values have dropped from the noise. They see the highway going by as a negative. This is life.

    What isn't going on here is some sort of cultural offense. What also isn't going on here is somehow inherently bad or wrong - it's just kids having some fun and blowing off some steam. Life is hard enough without pissing in everyone elses corn flakes.

    AGAIN I ask, if not VV then where?

    #134 Posted: 16/12/2011 - 22:10

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 761

    I'm not partaking in this thread but just wanted to say that I admire the enthusiasm and stamina. Almost 3 years now and no-one has moved an inch.....

    #135 Posted: 17/12/2011 - 03:04

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 724
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    interesting post here by someone new to that forum: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2141633

    long ago there was a regular on that forum who used to work for the embassy of a Western country in Vientiane. a less than pleasant part of his job scope was going up Vang Vieng whenever there were bodies of his countrymen that had to be repatriated.

    #136 Posted: 18/12/2011 - 22:05

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    "I'm not partaking in this thread but just wanted to say that I admire the enthusiasm and stamina. Almost 3 years now and no-one has moved an inch....."

    I doubt they will. We are all stubborn old bastards.

    #137 Posted: 18/12/2011 - 22:27

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    "I doubt they will. We are all stubborn old bastards"

    Yep. At least we're self aware.

    #138 Posted: 19/12/2011 - 04:03

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1530

    #139 Posted: 20/12/2011 - 00:43

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    That dude is either a liar or a nutter or both. Did you read the entire thread Bob? Holy cow.

    Rufus, I have a fairly low opinion of the Laos police, but this guy paints them in a worse light than the Sicilian Mafia. Isn't this description a bit over the top?

    #140 Posted: 20/12/2011 - 08:01

  • lewks

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2012
    Posts: 5

    Hi people I am landing in Bangkok on the 22nd of march and am going to spend a couple of days there before making my way up to Vang Veing to go tubing.

    I am thinking of traveling overland or water to get their and flying back and was wondering what the best way to travel overland there was and any places to stop of for a few days on the way I would like to see some of northern Thailand and other parts of Laos as well i have roughly 2 weeks to for this part of my trip! Also what would be the best way to fly back if possible at all either to Bangkok or Phuket!

    Any information would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance

    #141 Posted: 7/1/2012 - 18:45

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    You could fly back from Vientiane to Krungthep, or alternatively with a budget airline from Udon Thani to either Krungthep or Phuket.
    Have you thought of taking the train from Krungthep to Vientiane?

    #142 Posted: 8/1/2012 - 04:57

  • lewks

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2012
    Posts: 5

    No i didn't realise you could get a train how long does this roughly take and how much it costs?

    #143 Posted: 8/1/2012 - 08:13

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    Overnight. Price depends on whether you want a 1st or 2nd class sleeper.

    #144 Posted: 8/1/2012 - 18:06

  • morse96

    Joined Travelfish
    11th December, 2011
    Posts: 27

    i am in vang vieng now and have askeda lot oflaos people what they think,they all say the same that its great . and although the drunks do ruin it a little its still no where near as bad as zante,ibiza,ayia napa etc

    #145 Posted: 10/1/2012 - 00:34

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    The Lao think it is great? Yeah sure! You speak Lao I assume?

    #146 Posted: 10/1/2012 - 00:45

  • morse96

    Joined Travelfish
    11th December, 2011
    Posts: 27

    no they speak very good english though. whyy would it make a differenve if i spoke laos.. ni think you have your own opinion and are not willing to listen to anyone elses.. you probly live in laos from money made in the west,if u had to choose between putting food on the table pr scenery what would you choose ?

    #147 Posted: 10/1/2012 - 00:56

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    I would prefer to retain my dignity and my culture. That is also the view of the Lao that I speak to - in Lao!

    #148 Posted: 10/1/2012 - 03:27

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    Well then Rufus, they should lobby their government to have the activity banned.

    #149 Posted: 10/1/2012 - 08:56

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    They do and they have.

    #150 Posted: 10/1/2012 - 17:57

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    FYI
    http://www.theage.com.au/travel/down-the-tube-20110727-1hzzc.html

    #151 Posted: 10/1/2012 - 23:44

  • Suturn

    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2012
    Location Italy
    Posts: 25
    Total reviews: 8

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    #38, #40 From what I read:
    " Infection takes place when schistosome cercariae (larvae), shed into fresh water by snail-intermediate hosts, penetrate the unbroken skin of an individual who is washing, bathing, wading or swimming in ponds, lakes, or slow moving rivers, streams, or irrigation ditches in endemic areas." Source: http://www.travmed.com/health_guide/ch10.htm

    How fast moving is the water in VV?

    And don't forget about Leptospirosis, that's more common among rafters and swimmers...

    #152 Posted: 18/8/2012 - 23:37

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    "I would prefer to retain my dignity and my culture."

    It's funny, though, that westerners who have this attitude in the west are considered narrow minded and mono-cultural. But think it's great if mono-cultural narrow mindedness exists in other countries like Laos. Western societies should be multi-cultural, eastern societies should protect their culture. Hmmmm.

    "That is also the view of the Lao that I speak to - in Lao!"

    I'll bet it is. My father in law won't touch western food with a ten foot pole. He thinks it's revolting. He isn't interested in western values or western music... he's very mono-cultural. And he's a good guy. But if I were to simply invert his attitudes and pronounce them here "Laos food terrible. I'm not interested in Laos music or Laos values" it comes off as narrow minded, ignorant. If I say that in the inverse, though, I'm all fucked up. Funny how we hold people from different regions to different standards.

    Like I said before, it this behavior isn't offensive in Daytona, it isn't offensive in VV - UNLESS you are a mono-culturalist. In which case when Eastern culture appears in your communities back home you oppose it.

    #153 Posted: 19/8/2012 - 02:58

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 949

    Why is this thread resurrected?
    " it this behavior isn't offensive in Daytona"

    If this behavior isn't offensive in Daytona, I am never going to Daytona.
    By the same token, Mac I guess you don't think stoning sexual offenders in the Middle East is offensive?

    #154 Posted: 19/8/2012 - 04:23

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Wow, another old thread resurrected but I'd never watched the vid before and I'm thinking:
    What's the big deal, it's just a bunch of people enjoying themselves!
    I can't believe all the vitriolic disapprobation on here. Seems like Rufus would be more at home in the good old USSR! But he's got the next best thing I suppose. I'm sure Stalin would have agreed with him.Maybe the Puritans are still alive and kicking.

    #155 Posted: 19/8/2012 - 05:27

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1142
    Total reviews: 50
    Places visited:
    At least 43

    Didn't we already have this discussion? Again, I say that people were trying to make a buck and very happy with it until their neighbor and their neighbor's neighbor all started to get in on the action and then the whole community went downhill.

    I have not been to VV, but I imagine I wouldn't want to raise a kid there, as I wouldn't want to raise my kid around Daytona beach or in Stalinist USSR. I also imagine there are some people there making a lot of money who are younger and have adapted to the situation and there are some people there who are older or not making much money who are not pleased with it.

    If you want to have a good time and be around a community that supports it - I suggest looking at places like Gili Air, where they keep control of the situation and police it as a local community. I still have no plan to go to Vang Vieng, but I never wanted to go to Daytona beach either. I'm no Puritan, I just don't like dudes in singlets hollering all around when I'm trying to relax.

    #156 Posted: 19/8/2012 - 05:42

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Fair comment and I SHOULD say I haven't been there and was only referring to the video.Seemed like harmless partying.As far as people not liking it; this happens everywhere.My home town has a 'party street' which goes on most of the night.It gets pretty wild too.Ordinary people live near there and I'm sure they get firmly pissed off but ...money talks(unfortunately). So what do you do ban people from getting ripped? Good luck.

    #157 Posted: 19/8/2012 - 07:33

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6051
    Total reviews: 10

    "By the same token, Mac I guess you don't think stoning sexual offenders in the Middle East is offensive?"

    Rufus, I'm not a mono-culturalist or an opponent of globalization. I love watching western influence eat away at traditional values like stoning women in the middle east.

    #158 Posted: 19/8/2012 - 09:19

  • lylzezane01

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd September, 2012
    Location Australia
    Posts: 20

    I apologise in advance if this has already been covered.

    Seven of the clubs/bars along the river have been shut down (in July 2012 maybe)and any slides or ziplines or the like no longer exist in the governments efforts to clean up the area. Apparently the bars and stuff that are left are those that could afford to pay off officials, so they are the better ones anyways.

    Google it!

    #159 Posted: 4/9/2012 - 23:09

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