It is not a secret that Vang Vieng is no longer the party town it once was. Vang Vieng nowadays is a lot of calmer, yet just as beautiful and charming as it was. Surrounded by karts and limestone cliffs. I still see that there are several happening bars around the town, but most of them close before midnight. You can’t find the ‘happy’ pizza in the town anymore, the town has cleaned up its act. In exchange you’ll find plenty of tasty pancake sellers around the town.
So you’ll be asking what you can do in a town that was once famous and visited by a lot of people, because it was a great place to have a party and now it is not like that anymore? Well.. You still have a lot of options, which are just as fun as a party can be. Here are some ideas how to spend a few days in Vang Vieng.
Though the tubing adventure does not include lots of bars on the side of the river anymore, it still become one of the most popular tourist attractions. You can sit down and relax on the tube, flow slowly on down the river, enjoy the view and sip your cold drinks. Tubing costs around 55,000 kip per person including the tuk-tuk cost to bring you to the start point of your tubing adventure!
You can find a lot of tour operators offering a wonderful kayaking (together with tubing) day trip or half day trip. A full day kayaking trip, including lunch costs around 90,000 – 120,000 kip per person. Usually the tour leaves at 9 am and you’ll get a truck or sort of tuk-tuk to drive you up north for about 15km. You will get a chance to visit the water cave (ThamNam) and walk through beautiful rice paddy fields. Don’t worry if you can’t paddle because the guide usually will explain how to do this during the basic training. It is definitely a great choice to spend a day in Vang Vieng.
Blue lagoon is one of the famous things to visit in Vang Vieng, but to enjoy the Blue lagoon even more you should combine the trip to the lagoon with a trekking / hiking one of the peaks around Vang Vieng. Climbing one of the karst peaks in Vang Vieng can be considered as an easy to medium climb with a splendid view overlooking the green rice fields around the town. Do the climb in the morning and continue the journey with swimming and feel refreshed in the Blue Lagoon.
Rent a bike for 15,000 kip per day can be smart move to explore the town and its surrounding. It was rainy almost everyday during my visit in Vang Vieng so it was a bit challenging cycling as well. I saw a lot of cyclists end up with dirty t-shirts since their bicycles splashed mud on their back. It is definitely a cheapest option and you can explore far enough rather than walking by foot. Just prepare your dry bag to protect your valuables if you are visiting in the raining season.
I personally love how a restaurant or a cafe in Vang Vieng is designed differently with a relaxed ambiance. Grab breakfast (because most of hostels don’t provide breakfast) or lunch and continue by having lazy day by reading a book or just having a conversation with your travel partner. When you sit at a restaurant in Vang Vieng, it is almost like you have the same relaxed feeling as you chill at Utopia cafe in Luang Prabang. A lot of restaurants have a sitting on the floor setting with comfortable cushions. Almost all the restaurant owners play Friends back to back, which they think really interests their restaurant visitors and makes them even more relaxed. A lot of people seemed to enjoy watching old repeats of Friends, but I prefer a restaurant where you can watch something else.
If you don’t fancy sitting in a cafe and prefer a hammock then go to Smile restaurant (you need to cross a bridge to get there) and have a lazy day lay down in hammock overlooking river. You’ll sometimes get to see people finishing their tubing adventure.