Vang Vieng, the world’s most unlikely party town

When traveling in Laos, tourists should not miss to visit Vang Vieng, which is one of the most stunningly picturesque tourist spots of Laos.

Vang Vieng is a tourist-oriented town in Laos in Vientiane Province about four hours bus ride north of the capital. The town lies on the Nam Song River. Known as a party destination for years, the town is slowly transitioning to being an outdoor-oriented backpacker hub with mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, caving, swimming, rock climbing, and tubing. Surrounded by splendid karst scenery and overflowing with activities such as caving and tubing down the river, many weary travelers extend their stay here far longer than originally planned. Tours Indochina Laos

Vang Vieng is a riverside town in Central Laos
Vang Vieng is a riverside town in Central Laos

Like a rural scene from an Oriental silk painting, Vang Vieng crouches low over the Nam Song with a backdrop of serene cliffs and a tapestry of vivid green paddy fields. Thanks to the iron fist of the Lao government finally making its presence felt in 2012, the increasingly toxic party scene has been banished and the community is recalibrating itself as an outdoor paradise home with some achingly lovely boutique hotels and a raft of adrenalin-inducing and nature-based activities. Tours in Laos

Vang Vieng looks like a rural scene from an Oriental silk painting
Vang Vieng looks like a rural scene from an Oriental silk painting

Vang Vieng has become a backpacker-oriented town, with the main street featuring 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, until the third quarter of 2012, was lined with bars selling Beer Lao and Lao-Lao, and equipped with rope swings, zip lines, swimming and diving into blue lagoon, and large decks for socializing. Vang Vieng is riddled with such an array of guesthouses (some of which can be booked online), restaurants and shops that it is hard to know what to do on arrival. Just about every shopfront on the main streets of this small but rapidly developing town caters to the tourist dollar.

Tubing in Vang Vieng
Tubing in Vang Vieng

The reason this tourist mecca has sprung up is the gorgeous Nam Song River and the magnificent karst mountains lining it. The imposing limestone structures rise up out of the land and run for kilometers, framing the rice fields and lazy river. Though stunning at any hour, the mountains are particularly beautiful with the golden pink glow of sunset behind them, the perfect time to sit and have a drink at one of the plethora of riverside restaurants.

For action and adventure, there are caves to explore, trekking, kayaking and rafting trips and, for the ultra-adventurous, rock climbing. To chill out and enjoy Vang Vieng’s scenery, you have to rent an inner tube and float down the Nam Song basking in the beauty of the countryside – an activity for everyone these days.

Spending a few days here – renting a scooter, taking a motorcycle tour, going tubing, trekking – and preparing to manually close your jaw as you gape at one of Laos’ most stunningly picturesque spots, you will have many wonderful and memorable moments in your Laos trip.

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