A Travel Guide to Vang Vieng ….Vang Vieng… oh what to say about you! In all honestly Vang Vieng is a great town. With increased development throughout the years through and a rise in tourism, Vang Vieng is definitely on the up. Located south of Luang Prabang, this quaint town is home to some incredible tubing and glorious mountain ranges. Coming here is definitely a treat and worth your time, a place that you will probably never forget.
HOW TO GET THERE
Getting to Vang Vieng is relativity simple and that is by bus or mini van. If you are coming from the North, Luang Prabang, or the South, Vientiane, you are looking at a 4-5 hour bus ride, depending on conditions. We say depending on conditions because if it is raining then the bus ride can take quite a bit longer.
Driving through the mountains on dirt roads and coming close to some very steep drops, this bus trip is pretty legendary. Generally speaking don’t let that scare you, accidents are few and far between and in our time of being in Laos we didn’t hear of any problems. That being said, Hanna was a bit hesitant prior to doing this drive as she had nearly scared herself silly from reading various posts. At the end of the day, each trip is different. Our experience thankfully was nowhere near as bad as some of the horror stories we had heard.
Travel Guide Vang Vieng
Things To Do
Tubing is one of the most popular activities to do in Vang Vieng. The legendary tubing loop is where you will definitely make friends and create epic great memories! Tubing generally requires the whole day and we suggest you bring as little with you as possible. Put your phones in waterproof cases and leave your backpacks, clothes, and shoes behind! We literally just walked up in our bathing suits with a waterproof bag with our phones and some cash.
You can book any tubing day trip through your guest house, hotel, or hostel. Pick up is generally around 11am, and you are joined with fellow tubers prior to being dropped off at the starting point. For our trip we started off at bar #1 on the Nam Song river. In total, we stopped at 3 bars along the river. Chances are you will be pretty tipsy by the end of your tubing experience.
Over the years there has been an extreme crack down regarding the safety of tubing and drinking. Now they have several boats that are constantly alongside you, to chaperone and make sure you are safe! Overall, our day of tubing down the river was super relaxing and fun. We met some pretty great people too!
Along with tubing on the Nam Song river, there are also kayaking trips. These are pretty self explanatory, however, these are the more traditional trips and don’t require you to head to 3 floating bars.
Buggying in Vang Vieng is a new phenomenon that has emerged over the last few years. If you are willing to rent a 4 wheel drive buggy for the day then you’re in luck, by far the easiest way to get around. As the roads in Vang Vieng are literal dirt roads… they have the capacity to ruin most bikes (if you’re not careful). However, for the both of us we felt that this wasn’t necessary since we already felt pretty comfortable on a bike. Although these 4 wheel rides looked fun, they were also expensive to rent.
There is quite a lot to do in Vang Vieng and one of the activities we would highly recommend is traveling to one of the 4 blue lagoons. These small oasis’s are a great escape from the heat, or to clear ones head after a day of tubing the night before. Located all over, with Lagoon 1 located closest to town and Lagoon 3 located near Nam Xay view point. These lagoons are filled with zip lines, jumps and much more water activities. We suggest you visit Blue Lagoon 3, or 4. They tend to be a bit less crowded than the others!
Nam Xay Viewpoint Hike
The Nam Xay view point hike is a total must if you’re in Vang Vieng. This short hike is not so bad if you know where to go. We say this, because we both ended up hiking the wrong path after being too excited and stopping to early! On the road to the hike, you will see a bamboo hut with people inside. They collect a small fee for the hike and this is your key to know you are in the right place!
Please don’t make the mistake we did! While the hike will only take you about 30-40 minutes it is pretty steep, making a bit more strenuous than expected. So while it is short, it is a bit tough… be prepared with water! That being said, the view from the top makes the hard hike totally worth it! You are treated to sweeping views of Vang Vieng. The top is a great place to cool down, with a hammock and shaded area. There is also an epic bike chained at the top that makes a great photo!
Travel Guide Vang Vieng
Where To Eat
Garys Irish Pub
If you’re missing home and fancy a home cooked meal then Garys Irish pub is the place to go. With meals ranging from chicken and mushroom pies, to beef stew (like mum used to make), you will be trying everything on the menu. We couldn’t recommend this place enough, either as a treat, or as a daily stop, Garys Irish pub is great place to be. They also have cold beers and a pool table to enjoy at night!
All throughout Vang Vieng, you’ll find there are an abundance of sandwich ladies. Chicken sandwiches, beef sandwiches, vegetable sandwiches, they have it all. Out favourite place to go was the restaurant near Vang Vieng Boutique hotel with any sandwich costing 9000kip (£0.80 or $1).
Travel Guide Vang Vieng
Where To Stay
We stayed at Vang Vieng Boutique Hotel. Located on the main road. this hotel is a great place to stay for any budget backpacking duo. The rooms were basic, but alright given the price and the staff was extremely friendly. Although breakfast was included, it was not very good, so we opted out and ate next door instead. Book Here.
Na Na’s party hostel is the popular party hostel in Vang Vieng. If you’re looking for little sleep, but endless fun then this is the place to stay. With cheap drinks all around and music booming every night, we highly recommend that you at least grab a drink here. However, staying here isn’t for the faint of heart, we met a few travellers that only stayed a night or two because of the consistent partying. Our recommendation would be to stay somewhere close and just drink there in the evening. Book Here.
As hostels go, we were given many good recommendations to go here, but the the over all consensus was this was chilled and easy going. Additionally this is where we booked our tubing which joined all the other party hostels. Book Here.
Overall we loved Vang Vieng! It’s a fantastic place to party and the tubing matches its legendary status. For those that do not want to party all the time, Vang Vieng has those incredible hikes and blue lagoons to explore. As we mentioned before this is definitely a place worth staying if you’re venturing through Laos.
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