Join us on an enchanting journey to Vang Vieng and unveil the secrets of this hidden gem. Our comprehensive guide highlights must-visit attractions imparts invaluable local insights, and offers practical travel tips, ensuring you can easily explore. Pack up for an unforgettable experience and uncover the hidden secrets of Vang Vieng, a destination that promises not just scenic marvels but an authentic and immersive experience.
I. Notices before visiting Vang Vieng
1. About Vang Vieng
Located approximately 150km from the capital city Vientiane, the small town of Vang Vieng nestles peacefully alongside the Nam Song River and lush green mountains. Renowned as a serene countryside with a pleasant and cool climate, Vang Vieng is also a popular tourist destination in the beautiful country of Laos. With its advantageous geographical setting – backed by mountains and facing the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng is recognized as a tranquil countryside alongside the Nam Song River. This small town encapsulates both simplicity and tranquility. Its raw beauty emanates from the greenery of trees and the perennially flowing river gently winding around the limestone formations.
2. When to visit Vang Vieng
The optimal time to explore Vang Vieng is during the winter months, spanning from October to February. During this season, you will be able to explore the famous points of Vang Vieng not having to bear the scorching heat and humid weather. Additionally, the Blue Lagoons showcase their true aquamarine-blue hue during these months, as opposed to the dull and muddy appearance they might have in the summer. While the summer may bring heavy rainfall, revealing the proverbial silver lining, as the clouds fade away, you will be treated to an enchanting panorama of endless rice fields.
3. How to get to Vang Vieng
To reach Vang Vieng, convenient road travel is available from both Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Before visiting Laos, ensure a seamless journey by submitting a Travel Visa application beforehand, which grants 30 days of availability.
In Laos, the official currency is the Lao Kip, with an exchange rate fluctuating between 8000-8600 LAK per 1 USD, and money exchange establishments and ATMs are easily accessible.
The minivan option to Vang Vieng offers a swift and convenient journey, standing out as the fastest transportation choice. Securing tickets is hassle-free, often with the added perk of inclusive hotel pick-ups. However, potential drawbacks include crowded conditions and limited space within the minivan, factors to consider for those prioritizing comfort during traveling.
2. Express Bus/Sleeping Bus
Opting for an express bus or sleeping bus to Vang Vieng comes with the advantage of more spacious accommodations. However, it's essential to note the additional costs involved, as a tuk-tuk ride to the bus station may be required.
III. Vang Viengs’ attractions
1. Kaeng Nyui Waterfall
Named one of the most captivating waterfalls in Laos, Kaeng Nyui is situated on the eastern outskirts of Vang Vieng town. Cascading from a height of 30 meters, Kaeng Nyui Waterfall is more powerful and intense during the wet season but turns to be very gentle and tranquil in the driest months of April and May.
To reach the waterfall, you will need to participate in a short walk past a number of cascades and the smaller Kenlon Waterfall. The Kenlon falls pour down into a 5-meter deep pool, inviting visitors to indulge in the refreshing and pristine waters.
Ban Naduang villagers, the traditional proprietors of the site, have developed pathways for easy walking along the stream leading to the waterfalls, constructed small bridges, and maintained facilities such as swimming holes and a picnic area. There is also a car park and food stalls operated by the villagers where visitors can purchase local delicacies for a streamside picnic. If you're interested in a village guide, inquiries can be made in Naduang Village. Village guides are knowledgeable about the forest's flora and fauna, and they provide insights into the traditional uses of forest products found along the trails. Additionally, a small entry fee is collected at the ticket booth to support the village in managing and preserving the site.
Kaeng Nyui Waterfall
2. Pha Ngern View Point
Seeking a breath of fresh air and scenic views? A journey to the Pha Ngern viewpoint is exactly what you need. Whether you opt for a speedy ride on a moped, dune buggy, or bicycle, or choose to enjoy a leisurely 40-minute walk through the endless rice field, you are ensured with the buoyant feeling of being indulged in nature. The hike to the View Point can be steeply at points, so it’s recommended that you come prepared with good walking shoes to prevent tripping hazards. There would be ladders, footholds, and railing to help your journey to the top easier.
It’s best to start the hike around 1-2 hours before the sun sets, so as you’re searching for breath from the hike to the top, you will be treated with a mesmerizing golden-hour moment. Enjoy the brief moment when the lush valleys transition into the sunset, casting Vang Vieng in a beautiful golden hue.
Pha Ngern View Point
3. Nam Xay View Point
Compared to Pha Ngern, Nam Xay is an easier destination to conquer since it only takes 20 to 25 minutes to reach the top. The fastest and easiest way to reach Nam Xay Viewpoint is by renting a motorbike, typically costing around $6-8 USD per day. It takes approximately 20 minutes to drive from Vang Vieng town to the parking lot at Nam Xay viewpoint. If you reside on the right side of the stream, which is the common location, a one-time bridge-crossing fee of $0.50 USD is required for both the crossing and return journey.
Despite the easier roads, Nam Xay Viewpoint always impresses tourists with its 360-degree panoramic view of jagged limestone cliffs, the untouched lush forests and endless rice fields. Standing at the top, you can easily find peace and tranquility as you breathe in the fresh, pristine air and watch as the sun goes down.
Nam Xay View Point from @Rider Chris
4. The 3 famous Blue Lagoons
It's hard to miss out on the chance to visit the idyllic aquamarine-colored blue lagoons when visiting the town of Vang Vieng. All three Blue Lagoons possess a “soul-healing” color with the emerald, turquoise-colored water during the winter months.
The closest one to Vang Vieng town is Blue Lagoon 1, also the most visited in all three, where you can get to by a tuk-tuk or rent a scooter. The second one is located 7 kilometers southwest of the Blue Lagoon 1. Without the large mountains blocking the sun, this lagoon receives the most warmth and sunlight and it’s best for those looking for relaxation and tranquility. The third one is the furthest from Vang Vieng town and requires a bumpy travel experience on broken roads to get there. However, what’s waiting for visitors at the Blue Lagoon 3 is the numerous leisure activities with swings, zip lines, balancing beams, and a bamboo raft.
Vang Viengs’ Blue Lagoons don’t stop at the number 3, but there is also a no-name, secreet lagoon at the base of Tham Jang/Chang Cave. Ascend the steps leading to Tham Jang Cave, and on the left, you'll come across the natural blue pools. This lagoon is open to the public and is occasionally frequented by apprentice monks seeking respite during the summer. Unlike other lagoons, this one maintains its blue color even throughout the rainy season from July to September.
A Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng
IV. Vang Vieng cuisines
Despite its small size, Vang Vieng offers a diverse range of restaurants. The culinary scene spans from Western to Eastern, ensuring you can sample the best dishes from various cuisines throughout your stay.
1. Viman Vang Vieng
Whether you’re craving for a Western bite or Asian delicacies, Viman Vang Vieng has got it all. Offer a menu with variable items from meat, to vegetarian, diners can enjoy their feast overlooking stunning views towards the karst mountains.
• Opening Hours: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
• Address: Wat Kang Street next to Camilia Hotel, Vang Vieng, Laos
2. Sae Lao Restaurant - Sae Lao Project
Don’t miss out on an authentic Laotian and Asian cuisine combination at Sae Lao Project. Aside from their delectable menu items, the volunteers of this woman-owned business provide free English lessons to children in the area. By choosing to dine here, you are directly contributing to a noble cause of creating equality of opportunity and a brighter future for the local children.
• Opening Hours: 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
• Address: Nathong Village, Vang Vieng, Laos
3. Luang Prabang Bakery
Don’t be confused by the name, Luang Prabang Bakery is located in the town of Vang Vieng full of goodies. The bakery offers a wide range of cakes and sweet treats, but if you’re not a sweet tooth, you can also try their Western and Asian dishes.
• Opening Hours: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM
• Address: Kangmuong Street, Vang Vieng, Laos
V. Where to stay in Vang Vieng
For accommodation, VietnamStay offers 3 suggestions ensuring the quality, comfort and convenience factors.
1. Sansan Resort
Just a short walk away from the lively town of Vang Vieng, the Sansan Resort lies gracefully amidst nature. Guest rooms are equipped with wooden fixtures, hand-woven silks, and local artifacts furniture, with a balcony overlooking the majestic mountain, Nam Song River, verdant rice fields, bustling local markets and enchanting temples.
Address: 13 North Rd Phonepheng Village, Vang Vieng, Laos
Sansan Resort Vang Vieng
2. Riverside Boutique Resort
Situated on the serene Nam Song River bank, the Riverside Boutique Resort is the perfect place for enjoying the untamed beauty of Laos’ countryside. The resort ideally lies midway between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, 90 minutes away from Vientiane airport, making it a perfect getaway to tranquility.
Address: Ban Viengkeo, PO 360, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Laos
Riverside Boutique Resort Vang Vieng
3. Amari Vang Vieng
Amari Hotel is an ideal choice for those seeking an immersive experience in the vibrant town of Vang Vieng. Centrally located, it provides easy access to shopping and entertainment. The guest rooms, adorned with traditional Laotian-inspired touches, offer a welcoming and cozy ambiance.
Address: Song River Road, Sawang Village, Vang Vieng, Laos
Amari Hotel Vang Vieng
VI. Final word
Vang Vieng is the perfect destination for travelers who seek a one-of-a-kind experience in parts of the world that embark on rusticity and tranquility. Whether you are an adventure enthusiast, in search of a peaceful getaway from the fast-paced daily grind, or yearning for the perfect blend of both, this Laotian gem has something for everyone. Plan your trip with us today and allow our expertise to guide you on the bumpy roads to explore the enchanting landscapes, indulge in local delicacies, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
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. Safe travels!