River Tubing is one of the coolest things about Laos, particularly in Vang Vieng. Tubing is very famous for young tourists who visit the country. Tubing down the Nam Sam River is once in a lifetime experience in the tourists’ hub of Vang Vieng. A huge tire, a fast flowing river, lots of place for drink and food along the river and scenic view makes river tubing an ultimate adventure.
For about US$4 you can rent a tube and ride about 4km up the road and drop off to tube down the Nam Sam River. Floating down the river starts with a slow pace there you can enjoy the scenic view of a limestone mountain. There are eight riverside bars queued for once convenience. Each bar offers activities for tourists to enjoy. Most bars have trapeze swings that range from 5 to 20 m high; there is a concrete slide about three meters long that slants up severely at the end; and a mud pit.
Locals on the riverside bar throw ropes or point bamboo sticks to pull you when the cannot manage to paddle over in time. Bars are mostly bamboo stages over the water with small bar and DJ hut. Bar offers inexpensive drinks and giant whiskey buckets as well as inexpensive tasty meals, however opium and spliff are easily obtained in the bars, free whiskey can be lethal so it is advisable not to rely on it.
Tubing down the river will consume two hours without stopping to the pit stops. At 6 pm tourist are encourage by most bars to leave the river. If some locals notice someone still floating they would swim out and pull the person out of the shore and lead them in a place for the tube to be returned.
Tubing provides ultimate adventure for tourists however it is dangerous particularly during rainy season. It is advisable not to try tubing if one cannot swim. Operators are aware of the danger so life jackets are offered as well as warnings. Jumping from the swing is quite fun but very risky and many tourists must beware of the danger and be very cautious.