When communist Laos opened its doors to tourism in 1999, it wasn’t prepared for the alcohol and drug fuelled problems that came with it.
In the picturesque town of Vang Vieng, at least 27 people died last year while taking part in risky stunts on the river. This year’s death toll includes two Australians.
David O’Shea reports on the dilemma now facing Laos over the future of its tourist industry.
The government has started to crack down on the drunken, dangerous and illegal activities, which some locals say have ruined their area.
But the business owners who rely on the influx of backpackers are watching with concern about what it means for their livelihoods.
So, is the party really over?
WATCH - Click to see David's report.
On air: 16th October 2012