Laos in Brief – A Quick Guide to Vang Vieng
A Quick Guide to Vang Vieng
Forget what you heard about Vang Vieng. Nowadays this former backpackers’ party destination is all about eco tourism, nature and relaxation. Surrounded by lush tropical forests and rice fields, Vang Vieng offers endless opportunities to explore mountain caves, cycle, swim in crystal clear natural spring waters and to enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities during the day. And at night it’s a perfect place to enjoy a glass of local mulberry wine in one of the river bars.
What to do and see in Vang Vieng
Take a dip in the spring fed Blue Lagoon:
Famous Blue Lagoon lays at the bottom of the Golden Cave just 7 km from the centre of the town. You can reach it by bicycle, but we suggest hiring a tuk-tuk for a day. Then you won’t have to pedal all the way back to town after a relaxing swim in the cool waters. The lagoon is surrounded by small gazeboes where travellers can rest and enjoy refreshing fruit shakes. If you want a bit of exercise – climb 100 metres to the Golden Cave to admire the hidden Sleeping Buddha statue.
Explore Nam Song river
Wide and mighty waters of Nam Song River streaming past limestone mountains are perfect for kayaking and boat tours. The current is ideal for water activities: strong but not overwhelming. If you feel adventurous, you can choose kayaking trips that last any where between just a couple of hours to the full day. Those who are more interested in capturing the scenic views and relaxation can hire a long boat for a short trip down the river.
Cycle through the countryside
One of the best ways to explore Vang Vieng is to hire a bicycle. You will be able to travel at your own speed and stop for another photo at any time you want and to see remote villages surrounding the town
Visit an Organic Farm
There are several organic farms and volunteer centres around Vang Vieng that offer an opportunity to learn about local grown fruits and vegetables. Try your hand at helping the farmers, or visit their home cafes to try delicious salads and shakes.
Climb that mountain
Vang Vieng offers plenty of options for those who love outdoor activities. Whether you prefer to tone your muscles while rock climbing or would rather feel the adrenalin rush zip-lining through the forest – you will find an activity that suits you. If you want to explore the countryside driving something a bit faster than a bicycle, don’t worry – Vang Vieng also offers excellent ATV (quad bike) routes
How’s the food?
Do you like sticky rice? Because Laotians sure know how to make the best sticky rice in South East Asia. Try it with green papaya salad and spicy sauce in one of the many cafes located on the main street. If you are looking for something different check out Korean barbeque restaurants where you can create your own meal. For dinner choose a restaurant by the river, where you will be served fresh fish. Few things are better than to watch sunset over the limestone mountains with a glass of local wine in your hand and a spicy curry in front of you.
In the evening stop by one of the pancake (roti) stalls on the main street. Your only problem will be to decide what filling you want your roti with: just banana, peanut butter and chocolate, or a savoury boiled egg with cheese?
Is Vang Vieng for you?
Vang Vieng is ideal for nature lovers, honeymoon couples, families with kids and adventure junkies.
Where can I stay?
Vang Vieng offers a wide range of hotels from simple gueshouses to luxurious villas with private pools and spas. If you are looking for a combination of comfort and natural tranquillity – check out bungalows on the riverside. Built in the shape of the traditional houses on stilts, bungalow hotels offer rooms with private bathrooms and air-conditioning. Some of them even have swimming pools.
The best time to go to Vang Vieng
Best time to visit Vang Vieng is during the dry season from end of October until mid-April. Most of the days the temperature stays at a comfortable 20-27 degrees. It’s easier to find activities that suit you during the dry season too. Mid-April and May is the hottest time of the year when the temperature can go up to 35-40 degrees. So if you don’t like heat too much better to avoid this period. During the wet season (from end of May until mid-October) some long rains might force you to change your travel plans and rebook the activities for a bit later.
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