Vang Vieng is a small town located about 4 hours north of the capital city of Vientiane in Laos. It is situated on the banks of the Nam Song river and is surrounded by forested mountains. The city is known for the many caves, beautiful hiking trails, lakes and hidden waterfalls. For tourists traveling in Laos, it is worth visiting Vang Vieng for its natural beauty and water adventures.
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Tubing - Tubing is the top attraction in Vang Vieng. You can enjoy sailing in tire tubes in the Nam Song river by hiring tubes per hour, which is about 27,644 LAK (3 USD) per person. It is a fantastic way to enjoy the sunset or sunrise views from the river. The river is known for hard rocks and cliffs, so you should be cautious while tubing. You can rent them in shops close to the river.
Kayaking & Swimming - Kayaks are available for rent on an hourly basis at guesthouses, hotels and in small shops. The currents of the Nam Song are excellent for some kayaking and swimming. But avoid jumping off the cliffs while swimming.
Hiking - The limestone Karst mountains offer many viewpoints and hiking to these is one of the most popular activities for tourists. You can book these trails with your hotels for guided tours, which cost around 2,76,444 LAK to 4,60,741 LAK (30 to 50 USD) per person.
Rock climbing - Green Discovery and Adam's climbing school are two centres in Vang Vieng, where you can enjoy rock climbing costing around 1,84,296 LAK to 2,76,444 LAK (20 to 30 USD) per person.
Hot Air Balloon Rides - Witnessing the sunrise and sunset over the mountains by hot air balloons has become one of the popular activities in the city. You can book these tours directly with the companies or through your hotels and guesthouses. It costs between 18,42,964 LAK to 23,03,705 (200 to 250 USD) per person.
Nang Oua Kham Cave - It is one of the most famous caves in Vang Vieng frequented by tourists. Located next to Phone Ngeun village, the best way to reach is by hiring a motorbike which costs about 10 USD per day. There is an entry fee of 10,000 LAK per person. Headlamps cost extra. There are water and mud outside the cave, and the path is also slippery in between. So be cautious of your steps.
Xang Cave - One of the caves in Vang Vieng, which offers excellent views of the nearby villages. Unlike the other caves, Xang is well lit and easy to navigate. The best way to reach is by renting a motorbike. The entry fees are 15,000 LAK along with 2000 LAK per person if crossing the entry by bike.
Tham Loub and Tham Ho - Twin caves located a little further away from the city of Vang Vieng, which are great places for hiking and exploring amidst mountains. The entry fee is 20,000 LAK, but guide charges are extra. The path to these caves start flat and requires navigating in water after a while to reach the entrance.
Tham Poukham - popular among the tourists as the Blue Lagoon, it is one of the most visited attractions. It is a small pond, which also consists of a cave. It is a popular place to picnic to swim and relax, enjoying some fantastic views of the mountains. The cave requires some climbing up, where you can find a reclining Buddha along with many other Buddha images. The Blue Lagoon is open between 8 AM to 6 PM. It is located 7km from the city centre, and best reached by renting a motorbike or a mountain bike. The entry fee is 20,000 LAK per person. Hiring a guide and a headlamp cost extra.
The nights often get cold being a mountain region, especially during the winter in late November and December. It is recommended to carry some warm clothes.
ATMs are very few, and you might have to travel far to look out for them. So carry enough money before planning a trip.
Beware of party and tubing scams. Drink Responsibly and don't go Kayaking or tubing while drunk.
Exploring caves need good waterproof shoes that are not slippery. Also, carry a headlamp for the same.
In places where there are signs not to jump off the cliffs along the Nam Song, follow those rules as there are deadly rocks in those places which have caused many deaths of tourists. Carry mosquito repellants, essential medicines, raincoats, a good pair of shoes for hiking and exploring caves, umbrellas and other things you may need. There are limited shops and the prices are relatively expensive.