This really fun trip was relaxing and enjoyable - it was only let down by the curfews and charges towards the end of the day.
We left town at around 1.30pm and although a lot of the bars have now been closed down for safety reasons (there are four, the second is the best in our opinion) it still takes a while to get down the river after the last bar, probably about two hours.
The later you leave it you risk not getting the rented tubes back to the shop by 6pm, and then they take 20,000 kip of your deposit for returns between 6pm and 8pm, or all of your deposit for returns after 8pm.
We had a tuk tuk driver stood on the side of the river at around 5:45pm, offering to drive a group of us back for 10,000 kip and w figured its either lose 10,000k o him or 20,000 kip o the rental place, so went for it. However, once the tuk tuk was full and he had all our tubes on the roof, he proceeded to snack on some crackers and refuse to leave until we paid him up front. We all refused except one girl, and eventually he gave in and drove us back to rental space with only seconds to spare on our 6pm curfew.
The shop returned our deposits minus the 10,000 kip for th driver, so they'r obviously in cahoots to double up on his money! the one girl was asking or her money back and he was playing dumb until we all supported her, and the he just gave her extr money bck nd laughed!
Quite a cheek and a bit disappointing but hat does seem to be how things go in Laos unfortunately.
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