Hello, Jesse from the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.
The "reality of tubing" in Vang Vieng is that it is carnage. I scan thousands of stories a day for the safety hub, and it seems almost every couple of weeks a story crops up about people who have died from either rope swing incidents, alcohol poisoning and drug overdose. It's gotten so bad there that the authorities are beginning to shut down bars - and for the relatively lax Laos police force/government that is saying something. Locals don't swim in the river any more because they believe the water is haunted with souls of the dead. If going to a bunch of tacky bars on the side of a river, getting drunk with hundreds of loud mouthed backpackers on absolutely appalling quality bootleg whisky, then risking spinal injury and death jumping off rope swings that have absolutely no safety standards sounds like fun to you, then go for your life!
But seriously, we get that people love to party - and Vang Vieng has become an incredibly popular party destination. The thing that concerns us the most are the bodies washing up on shore. It is becoming a riskier place to go to by the month, and this is largely due to people leaving their brain at the door - which is easy to do if you replace it with booze and drugs. about 5 years ago
No more parties and games on the river ... Just tubing, kayaking, trekking and cheap pizzas ...
The government put some strict rules highly reducing risks and troubles... If you really want to, you still able to find parties and happy shakes but families will be able to sleep and Lao people able to go to the market without hitting a half naked and fully drunk backpacker. over 4 years ago