Vang Vieng travel blog — Care-free like Tarzan in Vang Vieng, Laos

  • Laos

Vang Vieng is a lovely little town as well as an exciting stopover for many travelers in Laos. This is a place with a myriad of adventures which surely help you have a whale of time. Let’s explore top things to do and what to do in Vang Vieng through my Vang Vieng travel blog. If you only know Vang Vieng through the word of mouth from friends or reference discrete information, many visitors will be likely to skip this small town. Come here and see, Vang Vieng is a destination not to be missed when coming to this gentle country. Now, let’s discover best and top things to do in Vang Vieng with me.

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About 150 km from Vientiane, the small town of Vang Vieng is nestled along Highway 13 between Vientiane capital and Luang Prabang.
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Tubing in Vang Vieng follow Nam Song river

At Vientiane bus station

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An incredible place to visit. Image by: Vang Vieng travel blog.
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Vang Vien in … purple!

After traveling to Vientiane, I had to continue to buy tickets to Vang Vieng. Some minibus drivers offered me a ticket to Vang Vieng for 150 Kip (only half a US cent).

I was indifferent and went straight into the station looking for ticket offices to buy tickets. They told me “The ticket office in the bus station does not sell tickets to Vang Vieng. To approach Vang Vieng you can buy directly from an outside driver for 50 Kip. After having knowledge of the right price, I confidently went out to buy tickets to Vang Vieng. Drivers are still bidding 150 Kip. I said “50 Kip”, and they nodded without hesitation!

Tubing in Vang Vieng is an exciting thing to do you should try.
Tubing in Vang Vieng is an exciting thing to do you should try.
Tubing down the river
Tubing down the Nam Song river

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Tubing bar

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Tubing experience for cave exploration is one of the most famous “specialties” of Vang Vieng. With this game, you only need to lie back on a lifebuoy and follow the rope leading to the cave. Picture: Mai Huong
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Some parts of the cave, you will be able to go ashore and explore fresh and new stuff. Image by: Vang Vieng travel blog.

Peaceful beauty of Vang Vieng

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Nam Song River is a modest river in Laos trarvesing through Vang Vieng town. It is a popular tourist destination as many people enjoy seeing the Laotian countryside while going down the river in the tube or tyre or in a kayak.

We went to Vang Vieng at 2 pm. When I got off the main road, I was not impressed with Vang Vieng. At that time, what appeared before my eyes were messy houses, a dirt road, scorching heat from the sun and a sultry air of malaise.

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However, after check-in, I rented a bicycle to explore Vang Vieng, and I started to gradually realize the beauty and amazing things here. Vang Vieng has an ideal terrain that is it is located on a riverside mountain. White clouds scattered down the mountain ranges, fluttering down the Nam Song stream. The far side is the deep green fields. The river is surrounded by striking rock formations. Upstream from Vang Vieng, numerous bars and pubs have been built on the river’s banks to attract the tourists “drifting by”. Nam Song River connects with Nam Ngum Reservoir by Nam Song Dam. Picture: what to do in vang vieng blog.

Na duang village, Vang Vieng
Na duang village, Vang Vieng.
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Peaceful sunset in Vang Vien, Laos

Vang Vieng tourists especially backpackers are “packed like sardines” because it is cheaper than Luang Prabang and offers a world of many adventure games for thrill-lovers to explore.

There are no luxurious 5-star restaurants nor expensive resorts. Vang Vieng has many small eateries with Western style.

Cheap motels, budget hotels, or casual bars are ubiquitous. With only one river and mountains, Lao people have mastered the way to secure a reputably top-notch position on many tourism websites and travel magazines for Vang Vien, so that visitors from everywhere flood to Laos to visit. Among Vang Vien craziest lovers, there is a grand spot for me for sure.

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The guide gave instructions for a group of guests to prepare a 7km kayak cruise on Nam Song River. Picture: Mai Huong
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This small town has a hidden wilderness and peaceful beauty. Prepare to begin kayak cruise on Nam Song River. Picture: what to do in vang vieng blog.
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Around the first half of the flow, the two banks have bustling bars with guests swaying following melody regardless of time. If you want to join, you just need to raise hands, the owner will throw the big rope and draw you in. Play until bored and continue to tubing.
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At the second half of the flow, scenic shoreline completely is wild with large moors. Visitors simply lay down on the boat and float slowly along the stream of the lazy Nam Song. Then, in the moment, suddenly appeared the green trees and grass, the vast grasslands, visitors spread a blanket on the riverbank and happily throw the picnic. Image by: Vang Vieng travel blog.

Experience “specialty” of Vang Vieng

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As the name implies, Blue Lagoon has a blue turquoise, so clear water that you can see fish swimming down the bottom. The fish here must have been accustomed to the noise so even though some people fall down the river making the lake stir, they are still very calm.
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Behind the lake is a cave, which also causes curiosity for visitors. The boy at the door advised visitors to rent a flashlight for 5,000 kip for easier viewing of stalactites. Photo by: Vang Vieng review blog.

Vang Vieng attracts tourists with games on the river seemingly normal but they are very famous “specialties” full of fun.

There are many tours a day to experience the exciting game in Vang Vieng for your choice as flying with balloons, kayak, zipline, tubing, blue lagoon swimming …

You can go around the Western Quarter to see the overwhelming offices selling day tours and tickets. I personally choose a “full day” tour with 220,000 kips (about US$28, bargain price) to experience activities such as zipline, kayak, lunch, tubing, cave exploration, blue lagoon – a famous green lake in Vang Vieng.

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The Blue Lagoon not only attracts tourists with the beautiful jade blue, this lake also do that by trilling games. Image: Vang Vieng 2017 blog.
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Blue Lagoon lake is very deep, if you cannot swim, you should bring a life jacket while playing on the lake. Image: Vang Vieng 2018 blog.

However, there have been so many visitors made this spot their choice, the blue lagoon is now mentioned with a dear epithet “brown lagoon”. Everyone says that in the future, this beautiful blue lake can become a beautiful and loving brown lake.

The next morning, the tuk-tuk pick us up to the gathering point to begin our kayak trip on Nam Song River. Kayaking is really fun, but it causes hand pain also.

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Tuk tuk

Those tall folks with strong and long hands will sit behind to mainly push the vehicle forward; pigmy people sit in the front row and take the responsibility of navigating the kayak.

Vang Vieng people know how to earn off a nice living due to tourism. Only with the fields, rivers and caves that they make Vang Vieng a place to attract visitors from all places, and appear in many travel magazines.

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Only with the gentle river Nam Song, they can create many entertainments here. From the tubing game, kayaking and adventure to this incredible Zipline (sliding wire from the cliffs through the treetops in the forest). Photo by: Vang Vieng review blog.
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Some guidelines before the gorgeous activity. Photo by: Vang Vieng review blog.
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What a thrilling experience I lust for the next time
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Visitors are fully equipped with protective equipment to begin the zipline slide trips. Image by: Vang Vieng travel blog.

The scenery on the river changes on zones. There is an area with the mountain towering and hiding the sky and the other ones with the reclining bamboos like what’s in famous film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’s settings.

This region is also special with brown water, sometimes it’s violently flowing, it’s oddly quiet at times and suddenly whirling fiercely without any notices beforehand. Weird as it may sound, if you are “lucky” enough to fall off the zipline, you will know that the water depth is just equivalent to our knees. So, it’s not perilous at all, enjoy it!
Zipline game in Vang Vieng will give you the feeling of flying in the air.

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Cycling in Vang Vien, Laos
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Gentle and tranquil place

After 7km of kayak exhausted paddling, we arrived at a tiny zipline station at the forest edge. Here we are wearing full equipment with a fascinated secure belt to ensure safety.

Playing this game, you will not land within an hour because you will fly from tree to tree feeling very much like Tarzan.

Slide to the seventh or eighth line, you will be flying at the same speed as the heroes in Chinese’s acclaimed sci-fi ancient action movies. The feeling of rushing through the air across the forest with no obstacle is really interesting.

When the sun buries itself down the horizon, the small tranquil Vang Vieng becomes hustle and bustle with Western Quarter.

Guests can find all kinds of goods from soup to nuts ranging from souvenirs, foods or whatever here at reasonable prices and explore the culture of indigenous people through their eats.

There are countless visitors come and go on a daily basis, but Vang Vieng is not messy but still quiet, peaceful as the everyday life in the mountainous countryside.

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Several cat’s ear-shaped rock mountains on both sides of the river reminded me of Ha Giang (Vietnam)’s beauty. Image by: Vang Vieng travel blog.