Day 1 – Vang Vieng Outskirts
Spend your first day in enchanting Vang Vieng, exploring its beautiful outskirts. Start the morning by hiring a motorbike and driving through the countryside, over charming bridges, to stunning viewpoints, and roaring waterfalls.
1. Motorbiking around the area
Vang Vieng is home to some of the most scenic motorbike routes in Asia! The best way to see all the sights is by driving on one of the many motorbike loops. Pass through beautiful tropical forests, local villages, and dreamy blue lagoons. Keep your eyes peeled for some amazing wildlife; one of the most fun things to do in Vang Vieng.
Expect to pay around 10 USD per day for a motorbike, which is worth it as it is one of the top things to do in Vang Vieng. Rent a motorbike through your hotel, or research your rental company thoroughly in order to avoid scams.
2. Kaeng Nyui Waterfall
Enjoy the thrilling experience of the Kaeng Nyui Waterfall! Because it is located only 30-minute drive from town, it is the perfect place to cool off from the hot sun. Another reason to visit is the scenic journey to get to the falls. Drive through unspoiled nature, traditional Laotian houses, and cute farms; beautiful!
Once there, follow a magical jungle trail through small pools, waterfalls, and charming wooden bridges. It is a 30-minute drive + 30-minute hike and costs 1.5 USD at the car park. This is the location of the falls. (photo below is not at the waterfall)
3. Pha Tang Bridge & temple
A short journey from Vang Vieng is the picture-perfect village of Ban Pha Tang! Because of its postcard-worthy views, it’s becoming more popular as a thing to do in Vang Vieng. Find the bridge crossing the river, and admire the incredible view of the dense greenery and limestone karsts ahead.
Day 2 – Lagoons & Viewpoints
Day 2 is an action-packed day of lagoons and viewpoints. Make sure to bring a swimsuit and a towel with you so you can enjoy a swim and some relaxation time at the lagoons.
4. Blue lagoon 1 + Phu Kham Cave
Swim in the dreamlike, turquoise waters of the Vang Vieng lagoons! Follow the signs on the road towards Blue Lagoon 1. This lagoon is easily one of the most popular things to do in Vang Vieng because it is located only a short ride (20 minutes) from town.
Additionally, take the trail leading up towards the Phu Kham Cave. You will find the reclining Buddha, a shrine where locals bring incense and candles. Because it’s a religious site, make sure to be respectful of the area and stay on the path. It gets very dark in the cave, so wear good shoes and bring a flashlight if you can.
Tip: This is a great place to have a picnic lunch or enjoy a meal at the small restaurant on site. Using local businesses helps to sustain the future of travel. You can read more about sustainable travel here.
5. Blue Lagoon 3
Blue Lagoon 3 is about a half an hour drive from Blue Lagoon 1. It is much quieter because it is further away from town but much more scenic. Enjoy a relaxing dip in the water or relax on one of the bamboo rafts in the sun. The drive here is beautiful! However, be aware that the route is a dirt track, so take care when driving.
6. Nam Xay Viewpoint
On your way back to Vang Vieng, stop for sunset at Nam Xay Viewpoint. Hike to the top of the limestone karst, where you’ll find a motorbike placed at the summit (by locals) and the Laos flag blowing in the wind. This is easily one of the top things to do in Vang Vieng and a perfect way to end the day.
Getting there: The viewpoint is about 20 minutes driving from Vang Vieng and close to Blue Lagoon 1. Once you have parked the bike, it is roughly a 30-minute medium-difficult hike to the top. However, the hike is one hundred percent worth it for the incredible panoramic views! Make sure to leave shortly after sunset so you’re not walking down when it’s very dark.
7. Kayaking on the river
Head down to the Nam Song river for some kayaking! Vang Vieng used to be the home of tubing: an activity where tourists would sit in rubber rings and drift down the river being pulled into bars. However, after many accidents, this activity now has tight restrictions and has become less popular as a thing to do in Vang Vieng. For this reason, there are still bars lined along the river, but it is much quieter.
Instead of tubing, kayak along the river and enjoy the surrounding nature from the water. Enjoy the morning paddling along the river, admiring the peaceful nature, and looking out for some small rapids.
Ascend the steep steps to the cave, making your way up for the worthy views of the impressively large space. There are lights inside the cave to help you to see the beautiful interior. Note: Unfortunately, the iconic orange bridge across the river no longer exists.
9. Vieng Tara Villa Rice-fields
Vieng Tara is a hotel with beautiful lush rice fields at the back and a long boardwalk crossing the paddies. Walk through the serene paddy fields at dusk towards the many limestone karsts in the distance, a beautiful thing to do in Vang Vieng. Usually, it is only accessible for guests, but if you buy some food or drinks at the restaurant, it should be okay.
Restaurants in Vang Vieng
Because of the popularity of Vang Vieng with backpackers, there is a wide variety of different cuisines to choose from. Whether it’s traditional Laotian dishes, Thai, or even western favorites, there is something tasty for everyone. Some of our favorites were:
- The Corner Hanoi Cafe (Vietnamese)
- Oasis Restaurant (Delicious smoothies)
- Happy Mango (Thai food)
- Naked Espresso (Good Breakfast)
- Il Tavolo (Italian)
Where to stay in Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng is a small walkable town with two main areas to stay, either in town or just across the bridge. Consider staying in the town center for easy access to restaurants and bars. Or choose the riverside accommodations to enjoy scenic views and a tranquil atmosphere.
Getting There & Getting Around
Laos has two international airports. One in Luang Prabang and one in Vientiane. Vang Vieng lies somewhere in the middle of the two cities and can be reached by train, bus, or taxi. Most companies offer a minivan service which takes roughly around 5-6 hours from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng and 1-2 hours from Vientiane to Vang Vieng on the new highway.
Once in Vang Vieng, there are a few sights that are within walking distance. To reach the lagoons and waterfalls, it’s a good idea to hire a motorbike to give you more flexibility and to allow you to see the real beauty of the area.
Ride safely on the dirt road, and always remember to wear a helmet and take out insurance. If you don’t feel confident on a motorbike, then visit places by using Songthaews (Laos taxis).
Best Time to Visit Vang Vieng
The best month to visit Vang Vieng is October. From October to March the temperatures are cooler. However, at this time, it is likely the waterfalls may be dry, and rice won’t be growing.
March-October is the rainy season when rice paddies will be green and luscious, and it is the best time to see the waterfalls.