Did you ever “tube”?

22 Feb
Ever heard of tubing? Great experience

Ever heard of tubing? Great experience

I’ve only seen this in Laos so far, but it could become a big hit in all countries where the water in the rivers is not toxic or polluted (that probably rules out most of the countries) and preferably warm enough. Basically, tubing is a water activity, in which you take the inner tube of a truck, and get dropped somewhere on a river: you, yourself and your tube. And then you float down the river, till you reach your destination.

What happens between the drop of point and the final destination is basically up to your creativity. You can  imagine all the little races you do with your tubing mates, splashing around, hooking all tubes together, going down some rapids, singing and chatting. Or others take the necessary provisions of beer, joints, cookies or what not.

Yummy Falang Rolls - sushi but sweet - for the travellers

Yummy Falang Rolls - sushi but sweet - for the travellers

It was over breakfast, when I had the lovely Falang Rolls, that this Italian guy joined me and started saying that he was looking for some tubing partners in crime. A few minutes later we were joined by some Dutch, and in the process of hiring our tubes (5000 kip, 50 euro cent) we bumped into some English that also hopped on the bandwagon. So we were nine, which made it cheaper to charter the boat taking us upstream (25000 kip a head). So that was a full day’s entertainment for hardly 3 euro.

We were brought 45 minutes up the Nam Ou river, and then left to our own devices to float back on the stream. The Nam Ou river is really calm, so basically it is like a sunbathing trip on a floating tire, chatting away. You could easily take a nap while at it. So it is sort of rafting, but individually, and with the speed of the water turned to minimum.

Beautiful scenery - dramatic karst mountains sticking out

Beautiful scenery - dramatic karst mountains sticking out

It is incredible though to float through the Northern Laos scenery, a tranquil river flanked by towering karst mountains on both sides, with not a house or village in sight (which is a pitty because it would have been nice to have a snack or drink on the road – as is the case virtually every 50 meters in Vang Vieng tubing paradise).

The first hour we were playing all kind of games, tipping and splashing each other. The second hour we calmed down and snoozed a bit. By the third hour we got into philosophical discussions about meditation and Buddhism etc. And since we still hadn’t arrived by the fourth hour with our asses dipped into the water, when the sun was slowly disappearing behind the mountains, cooling off both the water, the air and us even more, we started rowing frantically to get to our destination before we would get a pneumonia or something similar.

The Nam Ou river - all to ourselves...

The Nam Ou river - all to ourselves...

It was an incredible experience to have the river all to ourselves (we were the only group floating) with only the occasional fisherman or long tail boat passing by. It is a pity that we couldn’t take pictures, because we didn’t risk it to bring a camera. After our four hour adventure, we went to celebrate in the bar at the boat landing – and EAT as we hadn’t had any lunch… Water definitely makes hungry.

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One Response to “Did you ever “tube”?”

  1. Martin Jonasson 1 March 2009 at 17:39 #

    Wow, tubing looks soooo nice and relaxing.. Looking forward to do it on my Laostrip later this year. Tubing is now a “must” on the To do list :)

    Cheers, thanks for an interesting blog!

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