Vang Vieng: From hedonistic party capital to Laos eco-paradise

Vang Vieng nature and life

Located in central Laos, between 2 well-known cities Vientiane and Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng seems more serene. But its stunning beauty lies in dramatic mountains rising above luscious paddy fields, lagoon, caves, and the river. 

This pristine rural town is now the country hub of eco-travel. However, looking back to its 15-year turbulent past, the story was totally different.

Since the late 1990s, Western shoestrings discovered the town, it evolved quickly from the agricultural community to a hedonistic party capital with the excess of drinking, drugs, trash, and fatal accidents... That might be considered as the darkest part in its history when an increasing number of deaths were found in a month. Fortunately, in 2012, the authorities decided to close many bars and clubs near the riverbank, prohibited the consumption of alcohol and tubing madness, and repositioned the town as an eco-paradise. Vang Vieng then rose from ashes to be great again.

Having many ups and downs, Vang Vieng's attraction, however, remains undeniable. Today, thanks to the reposition, there are much more wholesome activities for tourist to enjoy the place.  Among them, here are some most notable:

1. Rolling down the river

Vang Vieng is based on the riverbank of Song river, where a relaxing tubing ride remains the outdoors experience of choice. During past years, tubing turned into a drunken drift with backpackers consuming buckets of cheap alcohol, messing about on bamboo swings, and sliding down slides into the river.

Now it is differently enjoyable. Most adventurers love sitting in an inner tube, beers in hand and drifting down into the town, watching the enchanted lanscape. Some more proactive can also raft kayak in the afternoon, through spectacular sunset amidst hidden hills.

Kayaking-Song-RiverKayaking in Song river

Song riverbank

Song River

2. Rewarding climbs in Tha Hon Kham

In the dry season, from November to March, Vang Vieng offers some of the most challenging rock climbing and hiking opportunities in Southeast Asia. Many tour operators make them safe and more interesting.

Pha Hon Kham, the highest peak offers a 360-degree viewing platform to access the rural scene as in an old Asian silk painting after the sweat-soaked ascent through dense forest across wooden steps and giant boulders. 



Rewarding view

3. Dip & zipline in Blue Lagoon

If there is an ideal place to escape from stress and worries, that must be Blue Lagoon. The blue-green water among tropical forest trees makes it perfect for a dip after the stiff climb.

The lagoon is deep enough to halt your jump from the 7 meter high trampoline on a great tree or from ropes that leave you almost on top of the water. If you do not prefer that kind, hanging chairs from the trees offer majestic views and relaxation.  

Activities in blue lagoon

Author: Footprint Team

Always full of travel spirit and laughter. Our expertises are shown not only through knowledge of the destination but also experience working in the tourism industry for over 15 years.

Footprint Team