Like most backpackers in SE Asia, we ofcourse had Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng on our route. The north was a bit rustic so Luang Prabang was a sweet break...and we may or may not have splurged on wine bars a couple nights ;). While charming, Luang Prabang wasn't the highlight of Laos for us. Maybe it has TOO much western influence? TOO much backpackers roaming around? Or maybe it was because we were still stoked about the Lao village party we went to in Luang Namtha.
Our trio ofcourse couldn't pass up tubing in Vang Vieng. Was it crazy? Not TOO crazy...which we thought was a good thing. Given all of the history with backpackers drowning in Vang Vieng, we could very easily understand why they brought it down a notch: rocks, water, and lots and lots of cheap alcohol can never be a good mix.
There were still plenty of beers and whiskey shots to be had and bracelets to be had. And it was really fun to barhop down a river via tube. Word of wisdom: hang out at the first and second bars for longer, because most of the bars after that are closed. Oh and be sure to get back in your tube and get down the river before sunset...we had to hitch a ride back ;).