Vang Vieng Closed Down – What Happened?

Vang Vieng Closed

Vang Vieng Closed?

Have you heard that the crazy party that used to exist around the town of Vang Vieng, Laos has closed down? Maybe you’ve even been thinking about heading out there to possibly go tubing down the river and get involved in the crazy antics yourself. Well, Vang Vieng has changed… a lot apparently.

What Was it?

Vang Vieng used to be well known for it’s tubing atmosphere. But it became much more than that, it got ridiculously out of control. In a country that has a curfew, and doesn’t support drugs or much drinking, Vang Vieng somehow blossomed into the Amsterdam of South East Asia. Drinking ran rampant, Opium was easy to get your hands on, mushrooms were easily available and weed was a mainstay of the little town.

In a couple of years, it went from being a town with no paved roads, known for having bars on the river where everyone would have a few drinks and then continue to go tubing…. to a place where young travelers looking for the party would come and get wasted, on a mix of the four substances.

A leisurely tubing experience down the river became a fairly dangerous, full octane binge. Capitalism hit this little town in communist Laos hard… bars started moving closer to where tubing started, ignoring the depth of the river.

Oh, and don’t forget about the swings, and the ziplines, and that massive jump. Things got pretty crazy.

Why did it shut down?

Well… if the afore mentioned reasons weren’t quite enough to convince you that this town was starting to run just a little astray, let me add something else to the mix… deaths. Yes, that’s right. As it turns out, when you have people on all sorts of drugs, jumping off of swings and ziplines and tube jumps in a river that really isn’t that deep… well people start to die.

It was most likely due to the rising death tolls of tourists and the complaints of many of the locals who has seen their town become nothing more than a binge vacation spot for 20 year olds that shut down this town.

Wondering what it used to be like? Check out either:

Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos
Special Menu, Happy Menu in Vang Vieng

If you go now, from what I understand, there’s a few bars left on the river, and a totally different atmosphere… but maybe that’s what it should’ve been in the first place, and maybe even saying that Veng Vieng has closed down is part of the problem?!

6 thoughts on “Vang Vieng Closed Down – What Happened?

  1. Gabor Kovacs

    We were there last year and enjoyed quite a lot that it was already after that they closed. In all of the bars they had Friends episodes on TV, but the ambience was much better than it must have been years before. The natural surroundings are absolutely amazing there. Actually the locals told us that the Australian government asked the local one to close it down as most of the people who died there were from Australia…

    • Jonny Jenkins Post author

      Hi Gabor,

      That’s great to hear. I haven’t been back since it’s been closed down, but was compelled to write about it since the information acquired from other travelers implied that my other two posts on Vang Vieng were out of date.

      Very glad to hear that it’s returned to the charming little town that it once was, and thanks for the info regarding the Australian govt. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Special Menu, Happy Menu in Vang Vieng, Laos

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