For those early risers looking to start their day off right in Vang Vieng, this list of seven things worth getting up early will help you fill your day with fun and excitement! Whether you choose to explore the nightlife scene in town or hike through the countryside, there’s plenty to keep you busy all day long!
1) Morning markets
]One of the most charming experiences is the morning markets. Locals go there to sell their wares, eat breakfast and chat with their friends. If you get up early enough, you can see them selling food and fresh produce before it has had a chance to be shipped elsewhere. The bargaining process can be fun too; just don’t make any hasty decisions! You will often find some delicious street food as well. Morning markets are also where we got a lot of our souvenirs for friends back home- and we always felt better about not supporting large corporate chains.
2) Luang Prabang temple
Located in the village of Luang Prabang, Wat Xieng Thong temple was built by King Setthathirat who ruled from 1548 to 1572. The temple’s most prominent features are its paintings, architecture, and bronze bells which were added later. If you want to get an early start on your sightseeing for the day, Wat Xieng Thong is a must-see for any Buddhist or anyone interested in history. It has great views of the surrounding area as well, which is why it’s worth getting up early! In addition to this, there are traditional monks who have been practicing their skills since childhood, weaving and embroidering beautiful fabrics. These monks will be selling their work so if you’re looking for some souvenirs then this is definitely a place to visit. As well to these there are also other shops where the locals can buy all sorts of things like local produce, clothing, and household items.
3) Fisherman’s village
We set off early this morning to see the sunrise at the fisherman’s village. We got up just as it was getting light and headed out of town. After following a dirt road for 15 minutes, we found a solitary house by the water. They lived in a straw hut on stilts with no electricity or running water, but they were some of the happiest people I have ever met. The sun came up while they caught fish, gave us some freshly cooked fried rice, and chatted with us about life. It was my most memorable moment in Laos. When we left, he stopped me and said Look! I show you something you do not know before! He pointed at his watch – It had an American flag on it!
4) Hot Springs
Start your day with a relaxing dip in the hot springs. A hostel can provide towels and dressing gowns, while some tourist restaurants will have rented tubes and life jackets. The water is perfect for a refreshing early morning swim – it’s cool but not cold, while the pools are deep enough to dive down to find the spots of silky sand at the bottom. If you’re staying somewhere that doesn’t have access to natural hot springs or pools, try an outdoor public bath for a more authentic experience! These baths are mostly free (although donations are appreciated) and often consist of three sections: one cooler area where people wash before entering the warm pool, then another pool where they can relax as long as they like before plunging into the final cooler one. As well as being great for physical health, these baths are also therapeutic: many locals believe that by bathing in different temperatures repeatedly, their skin becomes softer and healthier.
5) Mekong boat trip
Mekong boat trips are one of the best things to do in Vang Vieng, especially if you’re looking for a relaxing activity that’s perfect for all ages. On top of a unique experience, there are plenty of health benefits from the lower air pollution and increased oxygen levels found in the water. As well as being able to see some incredible views, the trip includes an interesting stop at the fish farm where they’ll explain how fish is raised in Laos. The last stop is at this lookout point where you can take some stunning photos of Vang Vieng’s most famous waterfall (the main attraction).
6) Cycling tour
Cycling is an easy way to get around, great for meeting people and it’s by far the best way to see the mountains and river. Just be careful at dawn and dusk, when cars aren’t expected to be out on the roads, but cows are! Icy mornings can also be a hazard as they can be treacherous to walk on, so you’ll need to find ways of keeping your feet warm. Remember that mountain biking is a tricky activity and make sure you have the right gear before you start your ride (bike light, water bottle, etc.). Also, beware of pedestrians who may not look both ways before crossing the street (like in any city).
7) Phousi Hill
One of the most notable things to do in Vang Vieng is the trip up Phousi Hill to watch the sunrise. For those staying at one of the hostels around town, they’ll likely be woken up by someone banging on their door and offering a ticket to go. We recommend getting there early since as it gets later into the morning, more and more people will show up which will bring you to contend with a horde of fellow visitors! The best time to come here is before 7 am if you want the view all to yourself! And that leads us to our next thing worth doing:
Now that you know a little more about what it’s like to be here, I’m sure you’ll want to stay. The town offers the perfect getaway from your daily routine while at the same time maintaining the tranquillity of your home country.
The one thing I regret is not getting up early enough to visit one of these wonderful things firsthand, so don’t make my mistake! Remember to get up and make the most out of this breathtaking town.