On my second visit to Laos last year, I have decided to drop by to Vang Vieng to check it out. I traveled to Vang Vieng via a direct bus from Udon Thani which cost me 320 Baht (bus station near Central Plaza). You can read more about my travel in Laos on other pages. www.travelrows.com
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It was raining when we arrived in Vang Vieng and we immediately ask the local guy at the tourism office regarding the whereabouts of the hostel were we booked our first night. After settling down in our hostel (and after the rain stopped), we have decided to walk around the town to look for another accommodation near the river.
The best thing about the low season is that there are so many available cheap rooms and the guesthouse owners are not hesitant to lower the price especially if you tell them that you’re going to stay for more than a week. After searching for less than an hour, we found a hostel (Backpacker Riverside Hostel) at the riverside which only cost 50,000 Kip/night (approx $6.25) for a double fan room with en suite bathroom, cable tv, free wifi, free tea and filtered drinking water. Not bad for the price huh!
My first impression of Vang Vieng
The hostel is in between two rivers (Nam Song on it’s right and a smaller river on it’s left). There’s also a small wooden hut with some hammocks in front.
If you’re budget is even lower than 50,000 Kip, there are lots more available options but with lesser amenities. There are also a few hostels offering dorm beds in Vang Vieng.
There are quite a handful of money exchange shops in the town and some ATMs that accept international cards. When we were there we exchanged USD at BCEL bank since they seemed to give a better rate compare to the other shops that we saw.
Kip is the local currency in Laos but some shops also accept Baht and USD. I do recommend though that you use Kip since you’d be able to get a better exchange rate when you exchange your money in Kip than when you purchase using USD or Baht.
Food is not that expensive in Vang Vieng but at the same time not as cheap and not so many options in comparison to Thailand. Most fried rice and noodles in small restaurants cost 15,000 Kip (almost $2). Baguette sandwiches starts at 10,000 Kip ($1.25) with a variety of fillings to choose from. Fruit shakes starts at 5,000 Kip. For those who have no budget limits, there are also a few restaurants that serve Lao and Western dishes.
There are tons of things to do in Vang Vieng. You can hire a kayak, go tubing, explore the various caves around town, go to the Blue Lagoon, visit some waterfalls, cycle around the town, go on a boat tour, ride the motorbike and go to nearby towns etc.
Tubing rental as of the time of writing cost 55,000 Kip, Bicycle rental starts at 10,000 Kip, Motorbike rental starts at 30,000 Kip and Boat Tour starts at 80,000 Kip (for 2 pax).
Vang Vieng seems to be a safe town although in the past, death seems to be common in this small tourist town due to tubing and some other accident related causes.
Tubing is still ongoing in Vang Vieng but seems to be tamer compare to the previous years. I do suggest that you wear a lifevest if you’re not a good swimmer and minimize or avoid drinking alcohol prior to riding the tube.
Vang Vieng is a very picturesque town and if you have enough time, I highly encourage you to explore the town by bike. It’s like one of those places where you don’t notice the time slowly slipping away.
The Author: of this story and Vang Vieng travel experience is Jacob White. If you want to share your story – send us an e-mail or share your experience in comments.
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