Vang Vieng is a lovely Laotian town on the banks of the Nam Song river. It is mostly famous for "tubing". Tubing is floating down the river in an inflated inner tube going from riverside bar to riverside bar drinking cut price booze. Vang Vieng also offers an array of activities like rock climbing and mountain biking. When we were in town neither drinking or working up a sweat sounded particularly appealing.
If you are looking for something other than tubing which doesn't involve exerting yourself in the tropical heat, here are five things to do in Vang Vieng that aren't tubing or exercising.
Get a Massage
Like the Thais, the Laotians have a tradition of massage. Massages are readily available around Vang Vieng and only cost a few dollars. The quality varies from place to place so you may have to commit to getting daily massages while you search for the best masseur in town.
Try Deep Fried Mulberry Leaves
To our knowledge these delectable delicacies are only available at the Organic Farm Cafe and only after 12:30pm (just after lunch time). I mean the Organic Farm Cafe in town. There's no need to traipse out to the actual farm outside of town. They frequently sell out so don't leave it too late in the evening to head there to try them. They're served with a honey dipping sauce.
Go on a Balloon Ride
Although this is definitely on the pricey side for south east Asia, for around $50 you can see Vang Vieng from a different perspective. The rides last somewhere in the 30 to 60 minute range. Make sure to charge your camera before you go.
Catch up on Friends, Family Guy, work or Facebook
The many Friends or Family Guy bars around town offer an excellent chance to check in on the Friends gang or the Griffin family. The bars are basically all the same. Lots of cushions for you to lay on and low tables so you can reach your banana shake without having to get up. They screen episode after episode of Friends or Family Guy. Free wifi is usually available so bring your laptop to do some work or to see what's happening on Facebook. Otherwise, just lay back and let your TV show of choice lull you into a coma.
Eat a Giant Cookie
If you've been in south east Asia for a while you'll have noticed that bread and biscuits can sometimes be hard to come by. If you've begun to crave baked goods you've come to the right place. There are a few bakeries around town set up to cater to tourists and that apparently means giant cookies. One can be yours for 10,000 Kip.
There you have it. Five relaxing, lazy, hangover and exercise free things to do in Vang Vieng.