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I've been reading about the shutdown of tubing in Vang Vieng. I'm wondering if someone has information about whether the authorities enforce the shutdown? I was there some years ago when it wasn't as bad as it got in the last few years and I hoped people would stop coming to this beautiful place just for mushrooms and cheap booze.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

CNNGo has a piece on this as well, explaining about how it was done. It sounds like there was a major expose and resulting crackdown.

Wikitravel's page on Vang Vieng also states that there's been a massive shutdown.

However, the Sydney Morning Herald reports these attempts have had 'mixed success':

But two days ago, the river was still busy with more than 100 tubers. One bar was still serving drinks and organising volleyball matches but had stopped playing music. Others operated from Eskis on the sandy banks of the river, mostly for takeaway beer only.

(note, an Esky is a coolbox - Aussie word).
(note, a coolbox is a cooler - no idea who says coolbox). (-;

It seems that despite safety restrictions, you still get situations like the following occuring:

New regulations, which are not posted anywhere in town, read “You must wear a life jacket.” However, none on the river, apart from some kayaking Koreans, were doing so and a staff member at the tube rental asked customers, “Can you swim? Then no need."

So long answer short - yes, there was a crackdown, but no, it hasn't stopped completely - so to answer your question, you can probably still do it, for now.

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I even know what an Eski is :D Thanks for your answer. –  greg121 Oct 31 '12 at 9:52
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@hippietrail - ta for editing, but I did mean coolbox - it's a British word (macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/coolbox) –  Mark Mayo Oct 31 '12 at 10:02
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@MarkMayo Yeah I looked it up afterwards. Why not just call it a chillybin though? (-; –  hippietrail Oct 31 '12 at 10:06
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