Vang Vieng was a place that really surprised me. I had never heard about this place until a Russian guy told me about it in Vientiane at my hostel on my VISA run from Thailand.
He told me that there was a small town 150 km north of here where everything was tolerated.
A free town. Wild parties, amazing nature, drugs, rivers and people from all over the world.
OF COURSE I had to check out such a town. The next day I was in the mini van together with my new Russian friend heading towards Vang Vieng. 😀
Here are some of the most fun things I did during the sunny hours of the day. Vang Vieng offers a ton of activities. I’ll definitely go back to this little town the next time I do a VISA run in Vientiane.
So here we go. 🙂
Explore the outskirts
To do this you have to rent a motorbike. Renting a motorbike in Vang Vieng is very cheap and will set you back 80.000 kip per day. The traffic here is calm compared to Thailand so no worry. Outside the city limits of Vang Vieng there are almost no traffic.
There are a ton of things to explore around Vang Vieng.
When you get 4 to 5 kilometer outside Vang Vieng you will really understand how rural this place is. The people are living in small communities while they live of the land around them. There is no supermarket here where you can buy frozen chicken. Here they slaughter it themselves.
I talked with some American guys who had run through Laos from Vietnam with bikes. They told me about visiting villages who had never seen white people. Crazy.
I really enjoyed visiting the small rural towns around Vang Vieng. It’s interesting to see how people live their life very different than from us in the Western world – or even 150 km south in Thailand.
If you go far enough out from Vang Vieng you will eventually get to villages where tourists are not commonplace, and you will start to get big stares. I even got invited to eat dinner at some house. I had to politely say no, but I did try some of their tea.
Around Vang Vieng there are several caves – some of them really massive too. I visited several of them and they were quite interesting.
The biggest one – and coolest – is found 100m up a slope from the Blue Lagoon and is called ‘Tham Poukham Cave’.
It’s a really massive cave with a small temple inside.
Another cave that is closer to Vang Vieng is called ‘Tham Chang’. It goes several hundred meters into the mountain. There is also a temple inside the cave.
All caves do cost money to go inside. I don’t remember how much but the amount was insignificant.
Around Vang Vieng there are several lagoons. The biggest one are found 4 km West of Vang Vieng. See the picture above.
The first one (on the picture above) had several trees around where you could climb up to jump in the water. The water was very fresh and cool. Really nice to swim here to freshen up a little after a long day of driving.
The second lagoon I visited was also at ‘Tham Chang’. It was smaller, and actually more like a river. The water here was very cold because of the stream.
All lagoons are on closed of areas and you have to pay money to get inside.
The locals here know how to make money of the tourists who come here. Everywhere you go there is some kind of toll or ticket booth.
The tickets and fees are very small, but still kind of annoying having to stop more or less al the time somewhere to give away 0.2$ or something like that.
All over Vang Vieng there are small mountains you can walk up to get an amazing view. Most tops are maybe around 300 – 400 m tall and take around 30 minutes to walk up.
All of them cost money, but I think that is justified as the locals have cut down the forest to make a path.
The view points are everywhere, and there are signs everywhere too, so you will have no trouble finding them.
If you really want to see how beautiful the landscape around Vang Vieng is, you have to go paragliding. I did this while I was here. Really fun!
There are shops all over town that offer rides. You can get both local pilots and foreigners. I took a foreigner even tho it was a little bit more expensive.
Unfortunately I’ve lost the pictures I took while I was inside the paraglider.
So there you have it. Some of my favorites activities while I was in Vang Vieng in Laos. There are much more stuff to in this little town. I haven’t even touched on the amazing mountain climbing you can do here or all the amazing local food you can get.