Vang Vieng is a small idyllic riverside town en route from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, situated in an area of beautiful karst formations, the classic South-East Asian views that dip into lovely greys and mauves as the sun sets behind them and, in front, the Nam Song River turns to black with colours rippling in its reflections.
What to do?
Highlights of Vang Vieng are cave-filled rock formations around including seven major ones, from 2 to 16km away. Most interesting sites are Tham Phu Kham cave, half an hour’s spine-compacting ride away from Vang Vieng and Tham Jang in the Vang Vieng Resort complex. Beside visiting caves, inner tubing the river or kayaking is a very agreeable way to spend a day, picking up snacks and Beer Lao on the way. Just being there is an attraction in itself – the scenery, laid back countryside, karst formations changing in the light conditions and the Nam Song with its riverside walking at the right time of the year.
Vang Vieng is between Vientiane and Luang Prabang – by bus (road and bus conditions permitting) about 6-8 hours from Luang Prabang, around 3-4 hours from Vientiane.
You will need some light clothing in the warm months though wearing long sleeves and pants is advisable due to malarial concerns. Get a good pair of walking shoes that cover your feet well. Many Laotian roads have stones, rocks and planks by the side. Also, some areas are muddy and some swampy areas have leeches. So be prepared with leech socks as well.
Carry a disinfectant with you. These things are not easily available in village areas.
A good camera goes a long way! And lots of film. Slide film also recommended.
Digital Camera and Memory Cards Analog Camera and films / slides