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- 15 May 2021, 3 nights
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Vang Vieng is one of Laos’ most idyllic destinations. Like a tropical fairytale, the Nam Song river gently carves its way through the town, while towering craggy cliffs peek over low misty clouds. There’s so much natural beauty to uncover in this rural region, from sparkling blue lagoons to hidden caves. At its core, you'll find true Laotian culture with authentic dishes, local handicrafts and traditional Hmong villages.
Vang Vieng hostels are normally simple yet friendly with buzzing communal spaces where you can get to know other travellers. You'll find hostels with free vodka, a swimming pool and a movie room. If you’re after peace and quiet, check out hostels in Vang Vieng housed in garden bungalows with chilled hammock areas, as well as boutique pads with cable TV and air con. Most have a free breakfast and some have their own on-site restaurant or café.
Vang Vieng’s town is compact with most of its shops and restaurants within short walking distance. For the best bars in town head to The Island: it sits along the river and is reached by bamboo and wooden bridges. To the south, Tham Chang Cave is a 30-minute walk away through lush green fields. A 20-minute ride from town is Tham Poukham, the area’s beautiful blue lagoon.
One of Vang Vieng’s must-do activities is tubing. You can hire a rubber tube along the riverside and float downstream, stopping off at its riverside coffee shops and bars along the way. Venture a little further and hire a kayak to visit some of the many caves in this region, like Tham Nam and Tham Loup. Go above ground and climb some of the limestone outcrops that surround the town, or whizz through the landscape at Tham Nam Water Cave’s zip line. In town, you can try Laotian dishes like Mok Pa (steamed fish) and sticky rice.
If you’re coming from Vientiane, the capital of Laos, the bus journey is about 3-4 hours to Vang Vieng. From Luang Prabang, it’s about 6-8 hours. As the town is small, you can get around by foot. To get to some of the surrounding areas, you could hire a motorbike or bike (look out for hostels that offer bicycle hire). There are also a few tuk-tuks to help you navigate your way around town.