Vang Vieng, Laos has become famous in recent years as one of the best tourist destinations in the Southeast Asia region. With its rich culture and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, it’s no wonder why many travelers want to visit this amazing place. If you’re thinking about traveling to Vang Vieng, here are seven places you should visit while you’re there.
1) The Cave
The Cave is an impressive example of erosion and hydrological processes and one of the most popular destinations in Vang Vieng. The limestone cliff runs along the Nam Khan River, with a network of caves, or karsts, created by flowing water over time. A staircase carved into the rock face provides access to a platform from which you can look down at the river below. The views are breathtaking. There are various trails that allow visitors to climb the cliffs and explore different parts of the cave system, though they may be difficult for some people because they involve steep climbing steps up a sheer rock wall. For those who want to take it easy, there are also more gradual paths that provide beautiful views across rice fields towards neighboring villages and mountain ranges beyond them.
2) The Waterfall
This three-tiered waterfall sits on the outskirts of the village and is best seen from a viewpoint overlooking the valley, where you can see all three tiers cascading over each other down to the river below. It’s worth trekking up to the falls early in the morning so that when you come back down at midday, you’ll be able to stop for a refreshing dip in Tuy Xeo Lake which is situated right by the falls. Keep an eye out for sloth bears (not the lazy ones) who are known to roam around this area.
3) The Swing Bridge
The Swing Bridge is the crossing point for many hiking trails in the area, so you will see plenty of locals and tourists on foot and by bicycle. The entrance fee is 10,000 Kip per person (about $1) which goes to help maintain the bridge. But it’s totally worth it because you can walk across one of Asia’s longest swinging bridges without feeling like you are going to fall off into space. On a clear day, the view from this vantage point is unbeatable.
4) Nam Ou River
Most people come to Vang Vieng to hit the world-famous tubing runs. The Nam Ou river, also known as the ‘river of no return is one of the most popular and offers a variety of water sports like tubing and kayaking. If you’re feeling more adventurous then I would recommend swimming in the lower end of the river. After all, that’s where we scored some unusual river fish by spearfishing! The Temple of Buddha’s Head: Explore the mountains surrounding Vang Vieng with this exhilarating hike up to a local temple. Located on top of Pha Na Mountain, it takes about 3 hours round trip but is worth every minute for the view from up there! Rock Climbing: Aspiring climbers can scale their way up towering limestone cliffs and explore secret caves hidden deep within rock formations.
5) Ban Xyoo Market
Ban Xyoo Market is one of the biggest markets in town and is a great place to buy cheap fruits, vegetables, clothes, shoes, and other foodstuffs. Located by the Ping River, it’s also a nice place to relax and have a beer or two at one of the many outdoor bars. Don’t forget to try some of the local papaya salad with sticky rice. It’s scrumptious! The market doesn’t open until 5:00 pm but it closes around 8:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 pm on weekends. If you want to eat something before going to the market, there are a lot of food stalls around in that area that serves tasty Vietnamese dishes like Pho Bo (rice noodles with beef), Bun Cha (grilled pork), Nem Lui (pork patties) for just 20,000 Kip each.
6) Playground & Bridge
The playground is in the shape of a huge flower and is equipped with swings, slides, and monkey bars. Next to the playground, there is also a bridge where visitors can buy Khao Niew (sticky rice) or snacks. The bridge overlooks both the playground as well as the Mekong River. If you decide to purchase some food at the bridge, you can sit on one of the many benches near the shore. As you eat your sticky rice or another snack, watch people pass by and enjoy the view of all the passing boats on the Mekong River.
Vang Vieng is home to one of the largest freshwater aquariums in Southeast Asia. Though originally built to serve as a tourist attraction, the Aquarium has become one of the busiest places in town for its many cool features. Inside, there’s an underwater tunnel that will take you deep into a fantastical world where sea life swims all around you, and beautiful murals line the walls. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, peacocks, sharks, and even dinosaurs! The Aquarium is open from 8 am-4 pm every day.
All in all, Vang Vieng is a great place to go. With stunning scenery and fun activities that locals enjoy, it is sure to leave you feeling invigorated and refreshed. But be careful not to stray from the beaten path or get too involved with drugs; it’s not worth the consequences that could arise. I hope you enjoyed this blog post on 7 places to visit while in Vang Vieng!
Laotians are always friendly and accommodating. The food is delicious and the hotels are affordable! Make sure to explore this amazing country when visiting! It will be hard to resist all the amazing things that have to offer. And if you need any help getting around or finding out what activities are offered, just ask one of the many helpful residents and they will surely point you in the right direction. So what are you waiting for? Go now!