Vang Vieng

From party capital to eco-adventure paradise



Vang Vieng lies in a perfect location, halfway between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. The rural town may appear tranquil now, sitting on the banks of the Song River. Vang Vieng, on the other hand, has had a turbulent 15 years, evolving from an agricultural community to a hedonistic party capital after being "discovered" by Western shoestring travelers in the late 1990s. The local community suffered as a result of excessive drinking, drugs, trash, concrete construction, and fatal accidents. However, Vang Vieng's narrative shifted dramatically in 2012, when the government closed most of the problematic bars and activities and repositioned the town as an eco-paradise. Since then, a revitalized Vang Vieng has emerged from the ashes of its former excesses. The town has reinvented itself as the country's adventure travel hub, offering a diverse range of adrenaline-pumping experiences.

Best time to visit

From October to March is the best time to visit Vang Vieng (you can even go hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng during this season). The rice paddies are lush and attractive to photograph throughout the summer months, even if the weather can be terrible with torrential downpours. If you wish to try tubing or kayaking, avoid going during the rainy season because the Nam Song River becomes extremely harsh.

How to get there

Vang Vieng is located on Highway #13 between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and takes around 6-8 hours by bus (road and bus conditions allowing) from Luang Prabang and 3-4 hours from Vientiane.

Except for a few bumps closer to the cities, Highway #13 is a two-lane road in bad condition, with little to worry about. The road connecting Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang is rugged and offers breathtaking views as well as fascinating peeks into Lao country life. The road between Vang Vieng and Vientiane is less fascinating and flatter.

Top places to visit in Vang Vieng:

The crystal clear water that collects at the base of Kaeng Nyui Waterfall will keep you frolicking for a few hours. Hiking to the summit of Phangern Mountain is one of the best things to do in Vang Vieng, and Nam Xay View Point is another beautiful spot for a bird's eye view of the town.

If you just visit one cave at Vang Vieng, make it Thang Chang Cave, which can be reached by an orange suspension bridge at the back of the Vang Vieng Resort grounds. Swim in the cave's clean spring before climbing the steep stairs into the well-lit chamber. From the vantage point, visitors may enjoy a panoramic view of the city and mountains, as well as numerous stalactites and stalagmites inside.

Blue Lagoon 3 (not 1) is a popular swimming location with crystal clear water. This "hidden gem" is far less well-known than Blue Lagoon 1.

Depending on your physical condition, the hike to Pha Hon Kham Cliff will take 20 to 40 minutes. It's exhausting and impressive at times, but it's not technically challenging. From a wooden platform near the summit, stunning photographs may be obtained. The greatest photos will be taken at sunrise and sunset, as usual. However, avoid going up or down if it is too dark.

Top things to do in Vang Vieng:

While the deadly water slides on the riverbanks in Vang Vieng have been closed, one thing hasn't changed: a soothing river tubing ride remains the preferred outdoor activity. A classic outdoor adventure on any Vang Vieng itinerary is sitting in an old inner tube and drifting down the Song River into town with a beer in hand. In the afternoons, those who prefer to take a more active approach to enjoying the river can rent one of the numerous available kayaks or rafts and paddle into stunning sunsets amidst mist-shrouded hills.

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Explore in Vang Vieng

The scenery in Vang Vieng is amazing, with hundreds of caves, small villages and blue lagoons, many still to be discovered.

Tours from Vang Vieng