|click to enlarge|
I decided to leave my youngest at home as he is not a strong swimmer yet. My 12-year-old son is a better swimmer than I, and they had life jackets available at the rental office for my 8-year-old, free of charge. So I insisted on that for him. We decided to go at 10am, before the hardcore drinkers were even awake. This turned out to be a really good decision!
|Some of the view along the way|
|The flying fox that reportedly led to quite a few deaths|
I left the choice up to them as to what rides they thought were safe and which ones weren't. I was pleased that they chose wisely and didn't get themselves hurt or killed. My oldest did suffer from some pretty sore arms after about 15 times on the rope swing but he made it through. The bars were pretty dead as it was early by party standards. The men running the rides were really nice and had fun jumping in the water with the boys. I am a bit too timid myself to partake but I cheered them on from a safe, picture-taking distance and may or may not have had a beer Laos in my hand!
|Clowning around at one of the bars|
After about an hour there chatting and swimming, we decided it was time to get back in and mosey down the river. We spotted several more smaller bars but declined the bottle toss and instead focused on the views and our own conversations. Surprisingly calm and quiet we hooked ourselves together and just enjoyed each others company and scenes of locals and wildlife.
I am guessing it was around 1pm that we decided we were all pretty hungry. We searched the banks for more bars or restaurants but there was nothing, absolutely nothing to fill our bellies. The views, small boys spear fishing in their undies, water buffalo cooling off, and women busy with chores was enough to keep our minds off the hunger pangs though.
Of course had we realized, as you all will now, we could have eaten from quite a good selection earlier in the day at the bars. This really was our only complaint from an otherwise amazing day!
All in all the whole day took about 5 hours although if we had skipped the bars I suspect it would have been closer to 3 hours. If you are in the area with or without kids I would definitely recommend this activity. It can be a peaceful day and at the same time qualifies for a family adventure travel outing!
What to bring
Camera (invest in one of the many waterproof pouches for sale in town to keep it dry. I was skeptical but they actually work great with their 3 zip lock, fold over, MacGyver-esque mechanisms)
The tube rentals were 30,000 kip (roughly $4.50 US) each. We also had to leave an additional 30,000 kip per tube as a deposit which they returned to us when we brought the tubes back at the end of the day. The tuk-tuk ride up to the starting point was also included in that price. At the end of the line we were right back where we started so easily walked up the bank from the river and returned the tubes and got our deposit money back.
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