Vangvieng: a riverside paradise

The karst landscape provides a stunning backdrop to laid back Vangvieng.

A small country town surrounded by beautiful mountains and rivers, 150 km north of Vientiane on the road to Luang Prabang, Vangvieng is a place to relax, have fun and enjoy the natural splendors of Laos. The main attractions here are the cool, clear waters of the Nam Xongriver and spectacular karst scenery. The town is surrounded by more than 30 caves, and most places of interest are accessible to visitors all year round. There are mysterious caves to explore, lagoons of turquoise water to dive into and sheer cliffs to climb.The people of Vangvieng maintain local lifestyles, customs and traditions, while ever growing numbers of tourists from around the world visit the area on their journey between Vientiane and the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, to enjoy river and adventure activities. To cater to the rising visitor numbers, tourism operators have built fun facilities like zip-lines, rope swings, slides, and games of rattan ball and volleyball along the river for those who take part in one of the most popular activities on offer at the town, 'tubing'. Other river activities aside from tubing include kayaking and rafting, and another popular pastime is to hire bicycles or motorbikes to visit nearby villages and explore the stunning countryside with its caves, rice fi elds, mountains and an organic farm. Others simply take pleasure from the beauty of their surroundings and use their time to completely relax, refraining from anything more energetic than taking a few photographs, and eating and drinking in the numerous restaurants. Over 100 guesthouses, hotels, resorts and bungalows are now available to accommodate tourists. Facilities such as ATMs, currency exchange units and internet cafes can be found, while many travel agencies offer everything from trekking, tubing and kayaking to arranging visa applications and travel to neighbouring countries.