I'm looking to head to Laos in late september (20-30th) and wondered if that was a good time to visit as I understand it's the wet season around then? do many people head that way during the wet season or is it missed?
I'm Looking to stay in Vang Vieng for a while and i'll be alone so if it's going to be a ghost town i'd possibly give it a miss.
Any help/advice on getting there from Chiang mai would be great.
I dont know but i would take a guess that the tubing that Vang Vieng is famous for wouldn't be to safe in a high and fast river of a wet season. The other problem you can find ( again not been through Laos in that time of the year ) is a lower amount of transport in and out of places.
Sorry, can't help with the weather situation but from Chang Mai you can catch a bus to the boarder of Laos, once you get across catch a slow boat to Luang Prabang and from there it's another bus ride to Vang Vieng. Most of the hostels in Chang Mai offer to organize your transport, so if you only have ten days that might be the best option. Also, once you're in Laos and figure out it's too rainy and wet, you could always stay a few days in Luang Prabang as it's a really nice place.
You are coming towards the end of the rainy season then. Typically rainy season doesn't involve constant rain but instead has downpours (typically in the evening but does vary considerably). Wouldn't let it prevent you from visiting at all.
The Nam Song River (tubing in Vang Vieng) can contain a few strainers but life jackets are (should be) available from the tube hire shop and as long as you are sensible you should be fine.