Budget traveler mecca, party destination, and natural adventure center are the appropriate labels given to Vang Vieng, a small piece of heaven in the middle of Laos. There is no reason not to visit the picturesque landscape, loaded with towering limestone cliffs, the turquoise river, and the soothing paddy fields. Don’t limit yourself to one activity, take advantage of the endless fun in Vang Vieng!
Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
Waking up before dawn is worth the spectacular views of the mist over the mountains and river from the basket of a hot air balloon. This silent and majestic form of transportation offers breathtaking views. Vang Vieng Tours offers several flights per day, but the tours fill up quickly so booking in advance is recommended.
Rent a bicycle and head up Route 13 to take in the beautiful farms, bamboo houses and jungle mountains from the paved road. If you’re experienced and looking for more adventure, opt for mountain biking and take to the trails on the west side of the Nam Song. Looking for something slower paced? Opt for a guided tour on the packed dirt roads.
Hire a guide and rent equipment from one of several rock-climbing schools such as Adam’s Climbing School and drive the short distance to one of two locations where routes from novice to expert have been anchored to the limestone karst by European and Lao climbers. Half-day, full-day and multi-day options are available. Some routes are open all year, others close in the rainy season.
Tham Sang Triangle – four caves in walking distance of one another 8 miles (13 kilometres) north of Vang Vieng — is easily accessible by bicycle or tuk tuk and can be part of a half- or full-day tourist package. Tham Sang (Elephant Cave) has an elephant-shaped stalactite inside. Tham Hoi has a Buddha at the entrance, and Tham Loup has stunning stalactites. In the rainy season, visitors can rent a tube and float inside Tham Nam.
Swim in the Blue Lagoon
Vang Vieng has three blue lagoons that are accessible as part of a packaged tour, including visiting caves, swimming in the lagoons, hiking and tubing. The swimming holes are also easily accessibly via tuk tuk or bicycle. Take a dip in the azure water during the dry season when they are their prettiest color.
See the reclining Buddha at Phu Kham Cave
Just a few minute walk from the Blue Lagoon, a reclining Buddha sits in a beautiful cave inside the cliff called Phu Kham. You need to climb up the steep, 200 meter (656 ft) trail, follow the unclear path, then pass some chambers to see the large reclining Buddha, which is made of bronze. Don’t forget to bring your torch as the first chamber is totally in darkness. Also, be cautious of the slippery rocks.
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