Kapono Cheruene

Travelled to 5 countries / regions

Written 24 briefs
I am Laotian and I live in Vientiane



Asia > Laos > Vang Vieng > Useful Info
Updated on Jul 20, 2019 Useful Info

How to go tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos: price, location, etc.

Despite the government crackdown, tubing is still a relatively popular activity to do in Vang Vieng especially among tourists in their 20s. However, it's not the drunk fest it used to be; there are still bars along the river, but the atmosphere now is one of relaxation, more like a lazy river than spring break.

Here's what you can expect it to look like (not my video):

Here are some essential information to help you prepare:

  • What is it: you basically sit in a rubber tube and float down the Nam Song River, and along the way you stop at bars to drink and do bar activities and beer pong
  • Tube operators - there are 2 tubing companies right now in Vang Vieng, referred to by the color of their tubes:
  1. Yellow/White tubing company: the more established and popular one and the one that most tourists (and travel bloggers) talk about. The crowd is younger and it's more of a party crowd. The bars along the way are a little crazier. You also tube individually and there's no guide that follow you
  2. Red tubing company: the newer company that focuses on a more relaxed, family-friendly experience. The section of the river they use is different; there are still bars along the route but it's much less boozy. The tubing is done in groups and there's a guide that goes with the group. The sign up process is also much less hectic than the Yellow/White ones

  • Cost of tubing in Vang Vieng:
  • Admission: 60,000 LAK (~$7USD) per person for both tubing companies if you go directly to their offices. If you book through a local tour agency, the rates will be more but it usually includes hotel pickup services
  • Deposit:
  • For Yellow/White tubing company, there's also an additional 20,000 LAK per person deposit which you get back at the end. But know that if you return after 8pm, they may refuse to give your deposit back.
  • Red tubing company does not charge a deposit (because there's always a guide with your group)
  • Transportation:
  • If you go to the tubing offices directly, there's a 5,000-20,000 LAK per person ($0.75-$2.3USD) charge for the tuk tuk that will take you from the office to the tubing starting point. Each tuk tuk costs 20,000 LAK, and if you have 4 people or if you don't mind waiting until there is 4 people in total, then it's 5,000 LAK each, otherwise you can get the tuk tuk going right away by paying the full 20,000LAK
  • If you book through an agency, the agency usually will drop you off to the tubing starting point directly and save you the tuk tuk charge
  • Food and drinks:
  • In the bars along the river, beers are usually 15,000-20,000 LAK ($2-2.3USD) each and cocktails 30,000 LAK ($3.5USD) each
  • Food ranges but french fries cost 15,000 ($2USD) per serving for example
  • Everything needs to be paid by cash, no credit cards are accepted for anything

  • How to book:
  • You can book directly at the tubing companies' offices (see their locations below)
  • Alternatively through any tour agency in Vang Vieng. Many hotels, hostels, and guesthouses will also sell you tubing tickets
  • Agencies will sell tubing for both Yellow/White and Red companies. You can choose which one you to go with
  • Finding tour agencies is easy peasy. You will see a lot of them if you just walk around the downtown area (here's a simple Google Maps search)

  • Where to start tubing in Vang Vieng:
  • The spot where you start tubing is not where you go sign up! Tubing starts upstream on the river outside the city, but you sign up in the downtown area.
  • If you book through a tour agency, the agency will drop you off at the starting point directly so you don't have to worry about how to get there
  • If you go directly to the Yellow/White or Red tubing companies as many tourists do, you sign up at their offices which are in downtown, and they will put you on a tuk tuk that takes you to the starting point
  • The Yellow/White tubing company office is located right across the street from Hally's Coffee. The red tubing company is located just one block south. Exact location of the tubing company offices:

  • How long does tubing take:
  • Ranges anywhere from 1.5 hours to 5 hours, but it takes most people 2-3 hours to tube, assuming a moderate amount of drinks at the bars
  • During the low water dry season from mid-January to late-April, it generally takes much longer to tube because water current is weak and there are many stretches of the river where you have to either paddle yourself or even walk on the river bed. During these months, it will usually take 4-5 hours from start to finish. However, you don't necessarily need to tube till the end, you can get out halfway
  • Outside of these dry season months, unless you spend a long time at the bars you will generally finish the entire run in 2 hours assuming some bar chilling, or just 1.5 hours if you don't stop in any bars

  • When to go:
  • In terms of season:
  • I recommend going in the wet, hot months between May and September. This is the season when the water level is high (so you don't hit rocky river bed!), and temperature is warm until the evening
  • In the winter months (November-March), you can tube during the day, but the temperature can get too cold after 4pm to comfortably stay in the river
  • In terms of time of day, it depends:
  • The earliest you can go is 8:30am. If you go at this time (any time before 11am), it's going to be very quiet and relaxing. None of the bars will be open yet, and you will have the entire river to yourself with little to no other tourists
  • Between 11:30am and 2pm is the peak arrival time, when backpackers and partiers start to show up in large numbers. If you're looking for more of the party atmosphere, this is when you should go
  • Going after 2pm and 3:00pm is ok between May and September, but outside of these months I would not recommend going after 2pm because the river will get too cold after 3:30pm and it will take you longer because of low water level

  • What to bring:
  • Memorize your passport number, you may need it to rent a tube. Don't bring your actual passport as it's not needed and it's too easy to lose it or damage it
  • Sunscreen: you will be in direct sunlight for several hours
  • Cash: bring 180,000 LAK to 260,000 LAK ($20-$30USD) for to cover the price of your admission, as well as deposit, drinks, transport and miscellaneous costs
  • Waterproof bag: to store your cash, clothes, towel, etc. If you book through a tour agency, they will usually include this in the price. But if you go the tubing office directly, you will need to bring our own dry bag. These bags can be bought everywhere in Vang Vieng at any general store, corner store, or tourist shop for a few USD
  • Only bring your phone if it's waterproof: you'll very likely get it wet and there's a high chance that you may even drop it in the water

  • What to wear:
  • Your regular swimwear is fine
  • Avoid wearing sunglasses, hats, and accessories
  • Most people usually go barefoot, but I suggest wearing sandals or water shoes because you will be walking on the rocky river bed to get in and out of the water (or even while tubing if you go in the dry season). Avoid wearing flip flops in the river because you will very likely lose them