Vang Vieng is a little town in the middle of nowhere in Laos that was notorious for its travelers treating it like a playground, flouting local customs, walking around topless and getting high on all kinds of illegal drugs. Vang Vieng was the sum of what is wrong with the backpacker's culture and it did not take long for someone to hurt themselves and got the attention of the government. Fast forward to today, Vang Vieng has turned itself into an eco-adventure destination, attracting not just the usual backpackers but the adventurers and thrill seekers alike. Despite the crackdown and the slowed down of tourism in Vang Vieng, this place has never been more attractive than now.
Where to Stay in Vang Vieng
Silver Naga hotel was where I based myself in when I was in Vang Vieng. The hotel is located right by the side of the Nam Song river and has one of the best view in the area. The breakfast was an asian and western style buffet and it was amazing! The room was clean and all the other facilities like its outdoor swimming pool were top notch. You can also book activities or book a bus right at the reception and they will organize everything for you. If you want a quiet time in Vang Vieng, the Silver Naga is a good option for you.
How to Get to Vang Vieng
The best way to get here is to fly into Vientiane. I would recommend you browse through Skyscanner or Momondo to find all the cheap flights from where you live to Laos and compare them so that you can find the one best fit for your itinerary.
From Vientiane, you can buy a bus ticket at any travel agencies or guest houses you find in the city center and they will pick you up at the place you are staying at a specified time. The bus and minivan runs all day and it will take you around 4 - 6 hrs to get to Vang Vieng depending on the road condition.
How to Get Around Vang Vieng
You can basically walk anywhere in Vang Vieng town since it is not a big place. When it comes to getting to the attraction such as the Blue Lagoon, renting a mountain bike or a motorbike is recommended since it can be quite far and the road condition is not the greatest. Beware on rainy days, you will likely be riding your bike on muddy roads so make sure your bike can handle it. For a more comfortable option, you can rent a tuk-tuk for a day and they will drive you around where ever you want to go.
If you want to go kayaking somewhere, going through a travel agency will rid you of the responsibility of carrying the kayak gears and transporting them where you want to go by yourself. Usually, they will provide you with a pickup truck for the whole trip.
This place is quite cheap compare to all the other countries in the world. If you are planning a trip here, you can expect to pay around 25 - 45 USD per day per person and that should include accommodation and 3 meals.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
If you are looking for a travel insurance to go along with your trip to Laos, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure. They have a simple and flexible search system that allowed me to find the right insurance for the right amount of time at an affordable price in seconds. If you need a travel insurance, give WorldNomads.com a try.
5 Adventurous Things to Do in Vang Vieng
Kayak the River
Kayaking the Nam Song river is the best way for you to see the untouched nature around Vang Vieng. On both sides of the river, you will be able to see the stunning limestone mountains and observe the lives of the locals throughout the trip. It was one of the most photogenic kayak route you can experience in Laos.
Tube the Water Cave
No trip to Vang Vieng is complete without going tubing and what can be better than to go tubing inside a cave. The water cave is.. you guessed it, submerged under water leaving a very low entrance for you to float in with your inner tube. The cave itself was meh but floating inside a dark cave, pulling your way around with a rope was an interesting experience.
There are many certified ziplining operators in Vang Vieng nowadays and the definition of ziplining in Vang Vieng has turned from dangerously jumping into a shallow water drunk to ziplining in a forest from trees to trees fully equipped with safety gears. At the Blue Lagoon, there is a nice ziplining operator where you can get away from the tourists and explore Vang Vieng from above.
Early morning at the Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is very beautiful but because of that, it attracted way too many tourists during the day, so much so that it can totally ruin your time there. The best way to visit Blue Lagoon is to go there in the morning before everyone else and have the place to yourself. There are also caves for you to explore if you want to get away from the crowd but you will need a headlamp to go inside.
Walk around the Ban Tham Xang village
On your way to the water cave, you will go through Ban Tham Xang village. Spend a few minutes walking around the village and enjoy the view of the rice fields on both sides. You will also be able to observe the lives of the locals living in that village. It's quite a sight to behold and it will no longer make you take everything in your life for granted.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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