Vang Vieng is a tourism-oriented town in Laos, located in Vientiane Province about four hours bus ride north of the capital. The town lies on the Nam Song river. The most notable feature of the area is the karst hill landscape surrounding the town.
Today, Vang Vieng today is mainly a backpacker town. The main street is full of guest houses, bars, restaurants, internet cafes, tour agencies, and western tourists. Attractions of the town include inner tubing and kayaking on the Nam Song River, which is lined with bars selling Beer Lao and Lao-Lao, and equipped with rope swings, zip lines, and large decks for socializing. During the wet season, the river can be a series of rapids
Other activities include trekking and rock climbing in the limestone mountains.There are also numerous caves, such as Tham Phu Kham cave half an hour from Vang Vieng by tuk-tuk or the Tham Jang cave closer to Vang Vieng.A market located five kilometres north of the town sells Lao textiles, household items and foodstuffs. The town is situated on the main north-south highway, Route 13 from Luang Prabang to the capital, Vientiane. It is about eight hours by bus to Luang Prabang and four hours to Vientiane (152 km)
Just a short walk from town are many ethnic Lao, Kmou, and Hmong villages, while Vang Vieng Organic Farm is located around 4 km north of the town in the village of Phoudindaeng. There are also opportunities for community involvement such as teaching, while it's also possible to stay in a house made of mud bricks at the organic farm.
Tham Poukham - Blue Lagoon
(7 km west from town, maps provided where you can rent bicycles, accessible by bicycle or motorbike. Be careful along the way, in recent years a number of imposters have shown up, all claiming to be the 'blue lagoon'. Keep to the main road and you should be OK). 8AM-6PM. A spring fed lagoon at the bottom of "Golden Cave". Nice place to relax, swim and play on the rope swing. The waters are inhabitated with a few hundred carp fish that will eat locally sold fish food out of your hand. The cave above requires a modest 100 m hike up a makeshift bamboo ladder. Once inside, there is a short walk to the Sleeping Golden Buddha and glimmering stalactites about 300 m further inside. 10,000 kip entry and 10,000 kip to rent a head-torch, recommended if you go deeper into the cave than the Buddha (travellers warn to check the battery). Guides for the cave advertised at 50,000 kip but, like most things in SE Asia, this is probably negotiable.
Padeng cave and Ring cave
(Cross a footbridge over the river, follow the signs and white flags (garbage bags) on sticks through the field). Across the river a 1.5 km path marked by white flags cuts through the fields towards the limestone mountains. The smallest hill has very rickety ladders (read: dangerous) to aid in climbing to the top. Halfway up the mountain is a cave. Another 1 km along the path past the mountain goes through a small forest and arrives at a cave. A few sleepy Laotians guard the cave's entrance and a hand painted sign says that guides are mandatory. It costs extra to go to the lagoon in the cave, and the guides will let you know that "tipping extra is ok". 10,000 kip for the hill, 15,000 kip for the cave, 30,000 kip to go to the cave lagoon. e
(On the south end of the main road. Turn right at the sign to Jam Mee Guesthouse). Decent cave but not worth the 15,000 kip entrance fee plus 2,000 per person/3,000 per motorbike bridge crossing fee. The cave is well lit and has stairs running throughout that makes it an easy self-guided tour. One part has a really nice view of the farms surrounding the city. If you've been to other caves it's really not worth the money (similar but more expensive)