|One of the older|
visitors to the town.
|One of the guest houses in town.|
|Your bus from Vientiane to|
|Map of the town.|
The second reason the town is popular is the River, and first and foremost is "tubing". Tubing involves travelling north from the town 4 kilometres or so, jumping into a large tyre inner tube, and then floating down the River back to the town. This was once an informal activity, but is now big business, or at least as big as Vang gets. This is how it works. You sign up with a tubing agent, this can be anyone in town, at your guest house or an agency you see on the street. Then, a truck picks you up or you can rv at the agency. Next you are conveyed to the tubing point. The tricky part is steering to the left to reach the shore as you cruise past the town. To keep you dry every store in town sells water proof containers. Cost $10.
When you grow tired of tubing there is kayaking. Rent a kayak and you can slowly paddle up and down the River or head off to one of many cave sties near the shore. The water is smooth, but there are stretches of rougher water. Cost for half a day is ~$10.
|View of the hills surrounding the town|
When you are tired of the water there are caves to visit, native villages, hills to climb. You can do this by yourself, but it is better to sign up for a tour. There are about four main tours, which cover all of these activities. An all day tour on a bike is maybe $40.
Another popular activity is to drink, sometimes too much. The small bars here come with music (recorded), and provide a pleasant way to pass a few hours. Sit with a few friends, sit alone and read a book, eat a tasty meal, enjoy a drink, and the evening will pass quickly and very happily. Most of these bars are in the town, but also along the River a few kilometres north. These can be reached from the town, or as you tube down the River.
For those of an historical interest. I was told that in 1998 there were only five guest houses in Vang, and that it was only in 2005 that tourism took off in a big way here.
There is something of a stigma attached to Vang. There have been deaths from tubing, largely due to the presence of drugs, largely alcohol, and as usual, stupidity. I understand that there are a few tv documentaries highlighting the dangers. As usual, these dangers are exaggerated and embellished for the sake of "journalism". Vang is no more dangerous or less, than any other spot on the Earth. It is how you make it. As always, the greatest safety tip is to use your brain.
Getting there is easy. There are regular flights and buses from Vientiane. From Vien there is the official northern bus station on the western side of the town. Also, as I did, you can take the "informal" bus station next to the national museum. This has regular bus trips north to Vang. Expect to pay $5-$10, depending. If you are coming from the north there are buses from the Chinese border and from Luang Prabang, the next major town north from Vang. Easy peasy.
Vang Vieng is recommended. It is a great place, whether you want adventure, whether you want company, or whether you want to relax alone, it can all be done.
|Cat and Buddha.|
|A street in Vang.|
|Crossing the River.|
|Things to do around town.|
|One of the many caves.|
|Entry to the cave.|