Tubing, on the face of it, couldn’t be more serene. Sitting in an inner tube and floating down the Nam Song river in the afternoon sunshine. Add in bucket-loads (literally) of alcohol however and it becomes a different story
Here’s how it works. Head into the centre of town to get your tubing outfit (vest, shorts and waterproof wallet) and your tube, jump on a tuk-tuk and head 3 km up river to the start point.
First stop is one of the riverside bars. The traditional welcome is a good luck bracelet tied around your wrist followed by a shot of the local whisky after which you’re free to choose your own poison (typically a bucket full of vodka and Red Bull) and start partying. Once you’ve finished your bucket, you jump in your tube and as you float downstream you get dragged by a rope into bar after bar for yet more of the same
5:00 p.m. is the cut-off by which time you should have made it down the river. After a short tuk-tuk ride back to town you’re free to carry on drinking and partying until the early hours of the morning, catch a few hours sleep and do it all again the following day
Check out this article for a more detailed account of how tubing has transformed Vang Vieng