I recently wrote about how it’s sometimes best not to ruin a good thing. That post spoke of how our opinion of Chiang Mai had changed but that’s not the only place I have re-visited lately.
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to have a group of friends come across from home (more on group travel later) and I took them to one of my favourite places of our trip so far. Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos.
We both loved our time on the river and have been bigging it up since, everyone should go to Vang Vieng. Friends visiting was the perfect time to get stuck in again. However, shortly after arriving at the river the day after arriving I began to panic.
Everything had changed but more importantly my favourite bar had gone and perhaps even more importantly all my favourite rope swings. From the first bar on the river I couldn’t see any swings at all.
Had I just dragged my non-traveller friends through nearly 24 hours of travel with the promise of incredible riches at the end, for nothing?
We quickly left the crowds of the first bar in search of more high flying fun downstream.
Thank fuck Thankfully we came across a few rope swings, all now claiming to be the biggest on the river despite only being half the size of the old ones. We made the most of all of them.
This isn’t a post about how returning somewhere again ruined it for me because it didn’t. I went with a crowd of very close friends who despite it’s changes had never experienced anything quite like it and we had an amazing time.
The fact is tubing is just not as good as it used to be – Still awesome and a must for anyone who hasn’t been and yes, I’ll probably go back again but why the change?
That’s the question I put to a guy who was telling me what it’s like to work and live in Vang Vieng. Apparently not long after I left the first time there were a couple of deaths in quick succession. As he described it, they had nothing to do with the rope swings but people getting too drunk and drowning in the river. Unfortunately the police put the blame on the swings and a number of bars closed being replaced by others deemed more safe (swing-less.)
As I wrote in our first post on tubing in Laos, no one can be wrapped in cotton wool the whole time. People have to take responsibility for their own actions be it drunk or sober and this time it’s future tubers who have suffered as a consequence.
So if you’re thinking of going tubing in 2012 don’t be a dick and ruin it for the rest of us – have fun but take care and skip the odd tiger whiskey shot, it’s terrible anyway.