Sign up | Log in



Home  >>   Daily News  >>   Laos News  >>   Tourism  >>   Laos town going down the tube
NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                      16  August 2011

Laos town going down the tube

Related Stories

June 14, 2010
Laos looking to lure more Japanese tourists

February 22, 2009
Laos plans visa waivers to boost tourism

The man who claims he accidentally started the tourist craze of tubing in the Laos riverside town of Vang Vieng says its popularity is now hurting the town and its culture.

Thousands of tourists visit Vang Vieng each year - about four hours' bus ride north of the capital city, Vientiane - to float on a rubber tube down the Nam Song River and to party at rickety riverside bars.

An organic farm owner in Vang Vieng, Thanongsi Sorangkoun, says the craze inadvertently began in 1999 when he bought a few rubber tubes for his farm volunteers to relax on along the river. "After a month, every guesthouse and tour company bring tube and starting from here. And kayak," he says.

Now he says the bars that have been built on the banks of the popular tubing route - which begins just in front of his farm - are "very bad".

"They don't respect any law, regulations. There's no inspections, no control," he says. "Two years ago it was paradise."

The riverside bars play loud music for much of the day, disturbing the tranquility of the farm and the surrounding area.

Sorangkoun says tourists leave rubbish and some are scantily-clad and kiss and cuddle in public - something not generally done in Laos.

Vang Vieng has its own tubing association but Sorangkoun says he hasn't been allowed to join because his farm is outside the town centre. He says this prevents him from accessing any of the profits to help clean up the mess left by tourists.

Sengkeo Frichitthavong, who owns a farm about seven kilometres out of Vang Vieng, is also shocked by the effects of tubing and tourism.

"It's just destroying the town and we are losing our culture ... the noise, the people naked, alcohol, people vomiting all over the place, sex," he says.

Frichitthavong says some children had been tempted to steal from tourists.

Both farms are involved in the Equal Education For All project, providing 30 free English classes a week, taught by local and foreign volunteers.

Frichitthavong's farm also employs local people in farming and weaving and aims to use sustainable farming methods.

About 300 international volunteers have visited so far, helping on the farm and teaching English to local children.

"If you want to do some good, you could go to the other side of the river [where his farm is] and check it out," Frichitthavong says. "It's not like we don't welcome the foreigner."

As for Sorangkoun, he doesn't believe tubing is a bad activity but he wants to see police enforce regulations at the bars, which he says promote irresponsible drinking and unsafe behaviour.

He says the Laos government should educate bar owners and their employees to serve alcohol responsibly and adhere to safety regulations.

Reach Southeast Asia!
10- Nations, 560- Million Consumers
And $1 -Trillion Market
We are the Voice of Southeast Asia Media Kit
The only Media Dedicated to Southeast Asia Advertising Rates for Magazine
  Online Ad Rates

Comment on this Article. Send them to

Letters that do not contain full contact information cannot be published.
Letters become the property of AseanAffairs and may be republished in any format.
They typically run 150 words or less and may be edited
submit your comment in the box below




1.  Verifier

1. Verifier

For security purposes, we ask that you enter the security code that is shown in the graphic. Please enter the code exactly as it is shown in the graphic.
Your Code
Enter Code

Today's  Stories    16  August  2011 Subsribe Now !
 • Tax holiday for high-value Indonesian investors Subcribe: Asean Affairs Global Magazine
• Indonesia seen as attracting FDI Asean Affairs Premium
• Laos town going down the tube
Research Reports
on Thailand 2007-2008

•Textiles and Garments Industry

•Coffee industry

•Leather and footwear industry

•Shrimp industry

• Iskandar investments expected to reach goal
• “Philippine customs agents should be jailed”
• Thai mobile firm ignores government agency
• New finance minister prods central bank

• Vietnam discouraging unskilled labor

Asean Analysis    16  August  2011

Advertise Your Brand
• China’s train ride on hold? Sponsor Our Events

Asean Stock Watch   16  August  2011

• Asean Stock Watch-August 16 p

ASEAN NEWS UPDATES      Updated: 04 January 2011

 • Women Shariah scholars see gender gap closing
• Bank Indonesia may hold key rate as inflation hits 7 percent

• Bursa Malaysia to revamp business rules
• Private property prices hit new high in Singapore
• Bangkok moves on mass transport
• Thai retailers are upbeat
• Rice exports likely to decline
• Vietnamese PM projects 10-year socioeconomic plan


This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


Home | About Us | Contact Us | Special Feature | Features | News | Magazine | Events | TV | Press Release | Advertise With us

Our Products | Work with us | Terms of Use | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Shipping/Delivery Policy | DISCLAIMER |

Version 5.0
Copyright © 2007-2015 TIME INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT ENTERPRISES CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Bangkok, Thailand