What is really going on in Vang Vieng
Replies: 55 - Last Post: Oct 16, 2012 9:40 PM Last Post By: davelliot
Sep 18, 2012 5:36 AM
What is really going on in Vang ViengThere is a lot of misinformation, not just here in the Thorn Tree, but also in other online sources. Not even major press sources have got it all. I have been in Vang Vieng since before and now during all the changes that are taking place. As a resident and business owner here, I am going to lay out all the changes. Those who wish to continue reading posts by twits that are not here or from those who find some joy in spreading misinformation or their negative take on VV, enjoy. Here are the FACTS (As well some of my own musings on the subject):
1. All the bars/restaurants on the river had their business licenses revoked.
2. The bars/restaurants within 10-15 meters (need clarification here) have either been completely torn down, or moved back to fit with the governments "new" regulations. * Note: the land along the river within 10-15m of the rivers bank belongs to the government and was sold illegally to those who purchased it. Now of course this has been going on for years and the government has only stepped in now (go figure). There will be bars and restaurants along the river in the future, but if the regulations hold, they will be 10-10-15 meters back from the rivers edge.
3. All the bars on the "island" were shut down and have been torn down. What the future of late night revelry on the "island" will be remains to be seen. Or those days may be gone.
4. I am not sure on the numbers, but some businesses have been shut due to insufficient paper work (ie operating illegally)
5. The government has been here enforce, from various departments to inspect businesses for safety, cleanliness and to make sure all the businesses papers are in order.
6. Tubing never stopped! But now it is about a relaxing day taking in the scenery. Not about an over the top party.
7. No one REALLY knows whether all this will hold after the ASEAN summit, but one thing does seem certain, "The Party" is over until at least that time.
8. Vang Vieng is AMAZING period. If tubing and getting trashed on the Nam Song was the only reason you wanted to come here. Then we don't need you. There are loads of wonderful things to do here and the Laos people are some of the friendliest people the world over.
9. There are a lot of different things being said by people working for the government to different business owners. Some things are certain, but some less clear. They seem to be nit picking. Suffice it to say its a bit confusing/frustrating.
10. Tourism is Lao' 2nd biggest industry. So I would imagine if the crackdown renders less tourists, that in time all this will be forgotten and VV will once again take off into a party town.
**The tubing stations are operated as a collective, with villages surrounding VV sharing in the profits. This provides extra income to these villages and allows more children to go to school, more food etc. The less people tubing . . . (I shouldn't need to explain this further)
**September is always a slow month for Lao, but this September has been especially bad so far. Many people working in the tourism sector in VV are going to lose their jobs at the end of this month.
**Speaking to travellers coming from Vientiane and Luang Prabang, these centers for travellers are suffering as well.
**October/November will be the true test. Most business owners in VV are VERY worried and VERY angry. And if the tourism numbers don't start picking up in the next 2 months I wouldn't want to be the government. Cleaning up VV was inevitable, but to shut it down so suddenly, might not have been the wisest decision.
We who live here continue to bide our time and hope this will all be for the best.
I think the hope is that VV will become a great Eco-travel destination and that even more people will come here in the future for its amazingly beautiful landscape.
Come to Vang Vieng. You'll love it. I promise.
Sep 18, 2012 6:35 AM
1Only if the guy opposite the restaurant where we always sat and watched the sunsets removes that awful water tower that ruins our sunset photos.
I also hope they remove that concreteslide montrosity and the guy who built it.
maybe its time someone did intervene as I have met very few who have lived there a long time as most of the town was moved a few years ago further north and many involved in tourism there since after the shooting on route 13 are outsiders including many expat, bar and restaurant owners.
There is also a lot of corruption and crime going on there, I often wondered how the policemen who sit all day booking mobo drivers parking outside the bank can afford to be so richly rewarded and own some of the Hotels and Guest houses that now replace the old market and original bus station;-)
Sep 18, 2012 6:40 AM
2Cheers OP. let's hope there is some clean up so that the beauty of the area is not ruined by morons. I am not saying people should not have a good time in the bars but VV semed to be attracting the worst of the smackheads.
I admit I have not been to V V because I did not like the sound of its reputation.
Better times ahead?
Sep 18, 2012 7:38 AM
Sep 18, 2012 4:51 PM
Sep 18, 2012 7:53 PM
5Good post OP. I've been reading a lot of rubbish on other forums too.
It will all be forgotten after ASEM - there is just too much money to be made by the district and provincial Govt.
I met district authorities in VV a few weeks ago on something unrelated to the shutdowns, and was told there are 33 government offices in VV for a population of 12,200. Compare this with the much bigger M. Xai where there are only 12 govt offices for a population of 33,900. Bar and guesthouse owners are not the only people making a nice living out of VV tourism..
Sep 18, 2012 8:32 PM
6"By the way op, it is the ASEM conference, not an ASEAN summit. The latter was some years ago".
This is true. We also saw a lot of "clean ups" just prior to the ASEAN summit.
Can I be blunt? It's about time Vang Vieng was cleaned up, it just attracts the wrong crowd. It's a pity really because the Nam Song valley is one of the most picturesque areas of Laos.
Sep 18, 2012 8:45 PM
7Good stuff but in all of these recent news reports and other comments I haven't seen a single thing about the real problem I see for VV's future, the disgusting condition of the Nam Song river the last few months. As long as we're hanging out dirty laundry let's get it all out and then maybe we're due for a fresh start. Somebody needs to find out the sources of the mud flowing into the river and put a stop to it. The river's not all that long and it shouldn't be too hard. Maybe it was just recent road improvements which means it's a short term problem but if it's slash and burn on the hills beside the river then action s/b taken to reduce it or just admit that growing corn crops once a year is a higher priority.
Sep 20, 2012 2:58 PM
8Article from a popular news website in NZ this morning - http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/international/7708186/Tubing-is-ruined-and-its-your-fault
Sep 20, 2012 6:47 PM
Sep 21, 2012 8:57 AM
10Great timing! I'm in Laos in November and was considering skipping VV due to its recent "rep", but I'll be going there for sure now :-) can't wait!!
Sep 21, 2012 9:15 AM
11how about the Elephant crossing and the Vasana? They had gardens and bars overlooking the river - have their bars been demolished?....or have the hotels themselves been closed?
Is this clearance just to make way for the big boys to build some more permanent structures up the river?
Sep 21, 2012 9:40 AM
12^^No those hotels are too expensive for tubing kids, and don't have rope swings or ziplines just well-paying adults drinking a couple Bialao at sunset. I would expect more such hi-so hotels to arrive soonish. This big boy is currently under construction.
Sep 22, 2012 4:53 AM
13"1. All the bars/restaurants on the river had their business licenses revoked. " - so point number one is not true.
and point two is nonsense.
what has actually happened is that the cheap bamboo establishments have been \cleared for future development.
Development that will have a far more detrimental affect on the environment and bring little or no employment or business opportunities for the locals?
Sep 22, 2012 6:30 AM
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