Introducing the city

£1.00 | 10,500₭


Gasoline £0.75 | 7,869₭

One-way ticket £0.29 | 3,008₭

Beer £0.79 | 8,246₭

Main Course £1.74 | 18,273₭

About Vang Vieng

Between Luang Prabang and Vientiane is Vang Vieng, enshrined in green mottled mountains and a long term must-do for party seeking backpackers.

But these days, Laos has its sights set on the more sustainable. Perched on the Song River it had its moment in the limelight from the early 00's as Laos' biggest party town thanks to the infamous tubing - a sort of bar crawl down the river on a float. But too much song and dance was made and the government eventually cracked down, closing bars and subduing the crazed party scene.

The population of around 50,000 has branched out. With its foot firmly in the tourism door, it is now home to a handful of boutique hotels, guesthouses and bars. Adventure in surrounding caves and mountains is being endorsed rather than drunken (and outright dangerous) river revelry. Overlooked by the dramatic karst landscapes, an array of natural wonders are a short motorcycle ride away like the mesmerising Blue Lagoon and deep, high ceilinged caves.

Whether you're here to explore the raw and intriguing land or relive the past by drifting down the river sipping lagers, you can guarantee fun in Vang Vieng.

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When Should You Visit?

The best time to visit is the beginning of the dry season from November to January when temperatures are cooler.

The average temperature in Vang Vieng is consistently high throughout the year. The warmest month of the year is April where the average high sits just below 34 degrees Celsius. The coolest months are December and January but even then temperatures can reach 30, although evenings may require a light jacket. There are two distinctive seasons here: the dry season from November to April and the rainy season from May to October. The wettest month of the year is August.

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Travioor top tips

Jungle Party

Insider Info

  • Go tubing with caution, many people have lost their lives in the river. You should enter the water carefully, drink responsibly and always be careful of sharp rocks below the surface. Dry bags can be bought in town but leave any valuables at home as many people see them float off.
  • There is a weekly jungle party just outside of town that the whole of Vang Vieng seems to attend. The club, decorated in jungle style, has some fire acrobats and is frequented by young, partying backpackers.
  • Don't get too caught up in the party scene. There are mountain views, rock climbing and cave exploration around Vang Vieng so get away from the river. If you take a bike, keep an eye on the roads as they are in poor condition and potholes can end a day trip.

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Food and drink

Main Course £1.74 | 18,273₭

3-Course Meal £18.20 | 191,154₭

Cappuccino £1.68 | 17,622₭

Beer £0.79 | 8,246₭

The Scene

Despite its pint size, there are some excellent restaurants in Vang Vieng. You'll find many cheap Lao favourites at eateries such as sai oua (a fatty pork sausage with chilli, garlic and herbs), khao soi noodle soup and orlam (a spicy meat curry). The French influence can also be tasted with the trusty baguette; you'll find half a dozen stalls clustered together offering a variety of tasty fillings which tend to get most busy when backpackers return from tubing or from a night out (we can't imagine why).

In town there is a great Irish bar where a traditional English breakfast is almost as popular as the cheap booze. Enjoy the local beer - Beerlao - by the riverside at sunset.

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Vang Vieng's Story

Settled in the late 14th century, Vang Vieng was a suitable trading post between the city of Vientiane and the town of Luang Prabang given its intermediate location. It was originally named Mouang Song, changed to Van Vieng in the late 19th century during French colonial rule. The 1900's saw some developments, most significantly an air base known as 'Lima Site 6' used to enforce American policies in the region during the Vietnam War.

After 1990 Laos reopened its doors to tourism and in the years to come Vang Vieng set about building itself as a party mecca after farm volunteers started the trend of floating down the river on floats. Following a series of publicised deaths in 2011, the government at last put a stop to proceedings in 2012 ordering the closure of many bars and removal of drug laden menus. Today backpackers still come to tube but the bars along the river are few and the route, shortened. As such, tourism has slightly declined although there is still a subdued nightlife scene. Vang Vieng's redemption lies in figuring how to harness its stash of scenery and natural beauty into a sustainable industry.


Sába̖ai-di̖i | Hello
Khàwp ja̖i | Thank you


The official language in Vang Vieng is Lao, although many in the tourist industry speak some English. Foreigners speaking Laotian in this tourist dominated town goes a long way.

  • Goodbye: Sôhk dii der
  • My name is: Kháwy seu
  • Excuse me: Khãw thôht

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Need to know

+856 Dialling Code
191 | 195 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Watch out for potholes in the roads.
  • Tubing can be dangerous if you don't drink responsibly or aren't a strong swimmer.
  • Watch out for sharp rocks in the river.
  • Carry small change for local shops.
  • If tubing, make sure you leave the water where you're supposed to. Carrying on down the river is dangerous.


Find out about the visa requirements for Laos here.

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Travioor Recommends


Go during the dry season when the river is at its calmest from November to March. Take sun cream and stick with a group.


A minor annoyance to Vang Vieng. Cross the river early morning to avoid the toll and agree fixed prices with guides, including equipment, to dodge hidden charges.


Many idle away days watching Friends in the bars. Don't waste time doing what you can do at home, the surrounding scenery is pristine and raw, unlike bygone Friend's jokes.


Swim in the dark at Lusi Cave or see stalactites and stalagmites at Tham Chang Cave. That's not all, take a look here to see more to do in Vang Vieng outdoors.


Scale Vang Vieng's dramatic limestone cliffs with Adam's rock Climbing School. Experienced climbers can rent and beginners can take classes. There is also canoeing.

See What's On In Vang Vieng  

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