Vang Vieng, Laos is a nature-lover’s paradise. Outdoor activities range from water sports on the Nam Song to hiking, climbing, exploring caves and swimming. Don’t miss these 11 top sites on your trip to Vang Vieng.
Blue Lagoon 1
The Blue Lagoon swimming hole is one of the the most popular stops on Vang Vieng day tours, with life jacket rental, a water slide and rope swings. Visitors jump from low and high platforms on the tree that hangs over the lagoon. It gets crowded, so get there early. Zip lining and a Western-style Parisien Cafe round out this attraction.
Blue Lagoon 2
If you’re looking for equally stunning water with fewer tourists, opt for Blue Lagoon 2 (or 3 or 4, as Vang Vieng has no shortage of natural springs to swim in.) Lagoon 2 has several swimming areas, cabanas to eat or hang out in, platforms to jump from and a bridge suspended between two trees from which to take in the sights.
Tham Chan Cave (also spelled Tham Chang) is accessible via an orange suspension bridge at the back of Vang Vieng Resort’s property. Swim in the clear spring outside the cave, then climb the steep staircase to enter the well-lit cavern. Visitors can see a panoramic view of the city and mountains from the lookout point, and many stalactites and stalagmites inside.
Tham Lom Cave is not for the faint of heart. First climb 25 minutes up steep ladders and over boulders to reach the mouth of the cave. Then, use your flashlight (included in the admission charge) to light your path down a ladder into the mouth of the pitch-black cave. Beautiful crystal formations can be seen on the cave walls and ceiling.
Tube or Kayak the Nam Song
Vang Vieng is on the banks of the Nam Song, and no trip would be complete without experiencing the river first hand. Many tour companies around town offer kayaking, often as part of a day tour that includes lagoons and caves. Tubing can be arranged through a tour company or directly at several tube warehouses around town, and include a tuk tuk ride upstream.
Tham Nam Water Cave
To avoid the crowds at Tham Nam, one of the most popular locations in Vang Vieng, bring a lunch and head out early. Tham Nam is 11 km (7 miles) north of Vang Vieng and is accessible by motorbike, bicycle or tuk tuk. Visitors can rent a tube and headlamp and pull themselves through the dark cave on a rope.
Lusi Cave is across the bamboo bridge. Follow the signs near Otherside Restaurant and cross the rice paddies. After about 30 minutes of walking you’ll reach Pha Poak, and after another 20 minutes you’ll reach the entrance to Lusi Cave. Check out the rock formations and swim in the pitch black pool inside the cave before heading back to town.
Visit the temples
Vang Vieng has several temples to visit, including Wat Kang, Wat Simixay Yaram, Wat Si Sou Mang and Wat That. With all of the outdoor activities, partying and Western restaurants and shops, it can be easy to forget that Vang Vieng is in majority Buddhist Laos. Take a quiet moment between activities to enjoy the architecture and reflect.
Tham Phu Kham Cave
Tham Phu Kham is a sacred cave 10 km (6 miles) from the town of Vang Vieng. The cave contains a beautiful aquamarine lagoon inside that visitors can swim in after hiking to the cave. An altar with a bronze relining Buddha lies inside the main chamber of Tham Phu Kham.
Pha Poak is a limestone hill, distinguishable on the west bank of the Nam Song by the flag at the top. There is a small entrance fee payable to a man at the base who will lead you through a cave to the start of the trek. Steep ladders and ropes help hikers pull themselves up the rocks. The views at the top are absolutely worth the effort.
Kaeng Nyui Waterfall
Kaeng Nuyi Waterfall is on the east side of the Nam Song, located in a park maintained by the villagers of Ban Naduang. The park has food stalls, maintained paths, bridges and a look-out point. The size and flow of the waterfall, which is 30m (90 feet) tall, differs dramatically in the wet and dry seasons.