Things to Do in Vang Vieng Without Tubes or BucketsMonday, June 13, 2011
Laos, particularly Vang Vieng, is the tubing capital of the world.
You only need to see the In the Tubing shirts that every other backpacker on the banana pancake trail is wearing to know that. I wasn't keen on staying in Vang Vieng for more than 3 days just to party and go tubing. But we ended up getting stuck for an entire week and even stayed there for the Pi Mai water festival! I have to warn you, Laos has a tendency to suck you in. It's happened to us before.
If you're not too much into the party scene yourself and are planning to visit Vang Vieng, here are some other exciting activities you can do without having to drink yourself silly while sitting in a tube.
Swim in the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is only 7 km west from the town proper. This is a quick ride on a bike and even quicker on a scooter. For a small fee, you can dip into a pool of freezing water and even jump from the tree branches if you're feeling brave. There are ropes and swings so you can have fun while cooling yourself at the same time.
|Photo Credit: Jerald-Dean Escobar|
We've met a group of travelers who went rock climbing in Vang Vieng and loved it. There are rental places everywhere so you can get ropes, shoes and all the climbing gear you need. The rugged scenery of the limestone karst peaks and cliff faces makes a rock climbing trip worthwhile.
Vang Vieng boasts of many caves where you can pay a small fee, grab a headlamp and go on your own. Of course it helps to get a guide as most of these caves have drops and can be quite dangerous.
We did a do-it-yourself at Tham Phu Kham cave, right next to the Blue Lagoon and there are a lot of signs to warn you. The way can be very slippery though so you might want to wear boots or just go barefoot like we did.
Go up in a Hot Air Balloon
Hot Air Ballooning over the Karst Limestone Peaks of Vang Vieng.. it doesn't get any better than that. Every morning and late in the afternoon, I would see these huge balloons go up in the air. I wondered how it would feel to experience that great view. But as we were on a tight backpacker's budget, I was content to sit at our balcony every afternoon and take photos. They got so close that I can often wave to the passengers.
Biking around the loop
We rented bikes at 10,000 LAK (2.5 USD) per day so we can explore Vang Vieng's breathtaking landscape. With dozens of caves, lagoons and fish ponds, there's a lot to see and do on this decent dirt loop road. If you're feeling adventurous, you can rent a motorcycle for a full day for around 70,000 LAK (17.5USD). Don't forget to borrow or buy a Hobo Map as it shows all roads plus attractions, shops and bridges.
So there you have it. There's much more to Vang Vieng than just tubing, partying and jumping off a flying fox! The next time you see someone wearing an In The Tubing t shirt, ask them if they really went tubing.
Are you more of a party traveler or a laid back backpacker? What activities do you most enjoy?
Top photo credit: JonasPhoto
Still a 'tubing virgin',
Sole Sister Lois
If you found this post helpful, you might want to Support the Sole Sisters While We're on the Road. If you have any questions about the Sole Sisters and our adventures, post on our Facebook Page and we will compile a massive Q&A post every end of the month.