Things to Do in Vang Vieng Without Tubes or Buckets

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tube vendor

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.

Vang Vieng

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. 

Vang Vieng
Photo Credit: Jerald-Dean Escobar
Go Rock Climbing 

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

Vang Vieng

Explore Caves

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.

Vang Vieng

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.

Vang Vieng

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.

Vang Vieng

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
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  1. We just came from Vang Vieng and I must agree, Laos really tends to suck you in. A right vibe for everyone.

  2. I'd love to get on that hot air balloon!

  3. amazing. havent seen someone featured vang vien this beautiful.

  4. wow, nice place, daming activities ;D

  5. Laos is one on our travel list. Will you be able to share your itinerary, tips, and whatnots of your travel to this lovely place?

    Btw, visit us in Singapore too :)

  6. Some people avoid Vang Vieng if they're not into partying. But we came and we really liked it. It has a party vibe but it can also be a haven for some peace and quiet.

  7. Oh yes, we wanted to do that as well Gaye. But it was about $200. It seemed so romantic!

  8. Thanks Dong Ho. It's very pretty if you know where to look.

  9. Hope you find time to visit it soon Tina.

  10. Hi Yvonne, we'll do a wrap up post soon for Laos. But in the meantime, please check out 4 other posts from there:

    Off the Beaten Path in Laos:
    Partying in Vang Vieng :
    NOT Partying in Vang Vieng:
    Trekking in Laos:

    Enjoy Laos, you will love the place! And don't forget to tell us about your experience.

  11. Time flew in Vang Vieng. 7 days could have been easily 3 weeks. So many things to do and when you're tired just lay in the hammock and watch life pass by or maybe hot air balloon's ;-)

  12. we went to vangvieng last week. The party was epic!! at first, medyo op pa feeling kse kmi lng pinays..anyway, basta ang saya nmin..hehe


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