Vang Vieng is small town of Vientiane, about 200km downward from Luang Prabang and 160 km from Vientiane. It is well known as a piece of heaven on earth with scenic landscape ranging from mountains to rivers and limestone cliffs to rice fields.
Tourists are impressed by its simple and natural landscape like a rural scene from an old Asian silk painting. The locals are friendly and willing tourists coming to this province, embarking themselves in nature with a backdrop of serene cliffs and a tapestry of vivid green paddy fields. There are also many activities on the Nam Song, where you will witness the famous tubing.
To discover the scenery here may take a few days. Visitors are highly recommended to rent a scooter, take a motorcycle tour, go tubing or trekking – and soak up one of Laos’ most stunningly picturesque spots. It is a better way to have memorable experience in this area rather than travelling with care and enjoy it sober, which is familiar with many tourists.
Vang Vieng Atractions
About 7km to the west of the town is the stunning landscape created by the sacred Tham Phu Kham Cave and the blue lagoon. The lagoon itself is small but absolutely captivating because of its beautiful turquoise water which are perfect for a refreshing dip after a stiff climb and some exciting activities with the rope swing next to the pool.
Blue Lagoon is a great spot to relax and cool off. It’s about 7km to the west of the town. Although the lagoon itself is small but captivating with the stunning landscape and its beautiful turquoise water which are perfect for a refreshing dip after a stiff climb and some exciting activities with the rope swing next to the pool.
It costs you about 4,000 kip per person or 6,000 kip for bicycle and 10,000 kip for motorbike to cross the toll bridge. At the Blue Lagoon, you can also visit Tham Poukham or “Cave of the Golden Crab”. Going through a narrow entrance and opening into the first chamber, you will see a bronze reclining Buddha illuminated by a ray of sunlight.
A torch is highly recommended (bring your own or rent for 10,000 kip) if you want to explore further and it’s also advisable to hire a guide to prevent you from going to a fake Blue Lagoon.
Tham Nam (or Water Cave ) located on the opposite banks of Nam Song River is simply a network of rivers running through the mountainside. It is home to an important Buddha temple in the area. The cave is about 500m long and a tributary of the Nam Song flows out of its low entrance. It’s about 400m south of Tham Hoi, along a well-used path. It’s a beautiful underwater cave that need a big rope to get inside.
Exploring the cave is interesting and challenging spot. You will need to do some tubing with lifeguard ropes to get inside. Depending on the water level, you’ll be able to explore the Water Cave or not. In rainy season, it is a challenge since the water level is high with strong flow. But once you got inside, it’s really rewarding. However, in the dry season, you can wade into the cave easily.
This journey costs you around 1 hour with the guide explaining to you how it is like and how they made the rope in here and stuff like this. The price for hiring a tube and torch is about 10,000 kip. Dry bags are also offered to guests so you don’t have to leave your valuables behind.
Tham Phu Kham
The vast Tham Phu Kham is considered sacred by Lao and is popular largely due to the lagoon in the cave. The beautiful green-blue waters are perfect for a dip after the stiff climb. The main cave chamber contains a Thai bronze reclining Buddha, and from here deeper galleries branch off into the mountain.
Get here via a scenic but unpaved road to the village of Ban Na Thong. From there follow the signs towards the cliff and climb 200m through scrub forest.
Vang Vieng activities
Kayaking and boat tours
Now, kayaking in Vang Vieng has become an attractive activity amongst tourists. Many trips down the river, ranging from an hour to a full day, are offered by several tour companies in town. A popular full day trip usually includes the Water Cave 14 kilometres north of town, lunch and a paddle down. It’s a great trip because you can also explore a few of Vang Vieng’s highlights without renting a tuk tuk.
You will have chance to participate in bumping tubes in the Water Cave, with screams of delight bouncing off the walls. Another considerably safer alternative to tubing or kayaking is hiring a long motorised boats for a scenic ride up the river. Most boats can be found at the take-out near Villa Nam Song.
Cycling and motorbiking
Vang Vieng only takes 10 minutes on a bicycle to get out and find yourself surrounded by rice paddies, karsts and people planting rice by hand. It costs you about 10,000 kip for street bikes or from 20,000 kip for mountain bikes. In rain season, the roads are very bumpy, or muddy, a decent mountain bike with gears is advised.
In terms of motorbike, renting for a full day costs from 50,000 kip to 70,000 kip with automatic. There is gas station which is close to town where everyone fills up are ripping tourists off. A basic motorbike should cost no more than 25,000 kip to fill. You also need a Hobo Map, which presents the entire area in detail including the scenic byways west and east of town. They are sold in many shops for about 25,000 kip.
Another option for visitors who enjoy challenge yourself with a hilly six-kilometre (one-way) ride to Kaeng Nyui waterfall, northeast of town.
Finally, the journey 14 kilometres north along Route 13 to the Water Cave is a beautiful motorbike ride on good road that will have you stopping incessantly to take photos.
You also have chance to see Ban Phatang, a small village on the Nam Song including iconic Phatang cliff, which sticks straight up from the rice fields like a jagged upside down fang.
Visitors who are looking for more adventure and thrills will feel happy to know that Vang Vieng and its surroundings are famous for having the best rock climbing in the region. Its dramatic limestone karst is an exciting place to learn outdoor rock climbing.
Adam’s Climbing School is advised for tourists who are fond of this sport. Adam’s specialises in climbing and has international climbing experience, the level of service is excellent. It provides suitable training courses for both beginners or people who have prior experience. A half-day course costs 180,000 kip while a full day price is 260,000 kip).
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