Exploring the stunning beauty of Vang Vieng. Riverside Boutique Resort recommendations for taking a tour up to Vang Vieng.
Vang Vieng in central Laos, 3 hours north of Vientiane capital, has plenty to offer and truly unique scenery that could out of the dream of most photographers. Yet, it is astounding that so many travelers end up visiting the dusty town center and the crowded Blue Lagoon only, missing out on what makes Vang Vieng so special and spectacular here in Laos. For those who want to be witness to the stunning beauty of Vang Vieng, and to bring home both lasting memories and gorgeous pictures, Riverside Boutique Resort has selected three activities.
1- Exploring the wild West of Vang Vieng, Laos
How: by car (4WD recommended) or good bicycle.
How long: This 33-kilometer tour can be done in half a day with a few photography stops; however, it is best combined with a picnic to become a full-day activity.
For whom: by car this activity is perfect for all travellers and offers plenty of great photo opportunities.
Exploring the wild West of Vang Vieng
Starting from Riverside Boutique Resort, cross the 2 small bridges and drive west on the new paved road
After 4 kilometers, at the first junction, turn left onto the dust road, direction Phokham and Patong Caves. The road goes through a series of small villages: Phathong (Lao), Namuang (Lao), Phonkham (Lao and Khmu), and Nalongkuang (Lao). Then, after about 14 kilometers, just before Ban Phonxay (Lao and Khmu), stop at the so-called “Blue Lagoon 3 – Pha Boun Cave” for a drink or a picnic.
At the level of Ban Phonxay, take a right to go back to Vang Vieng. The road will go through a nice Hmong village called Ban Naxom. Three kilometers after Ban Naxom you will get onto a paved road again. You can then either go left for a visit to Blue Lagoon 1 (where many young tourists are) and Phou Kham cave, or continue straight through Ban Nathong (Lao) to return to Vang Vieng.
This loop offers plenty of caving, photo and picnic opportunities. It passes over a couple of wooden bridges in bad condition but the river can then easily be crossed by any 4WD vehicle.
2 – Laos, Vang Vieng from above – Pha Hon Kham cliff
How: by car or bicycle to reach the climbing starting point.
How long: half a day – 15/20 minutes by car or bike + 20/30 minutes climbing + photography stop at the top of the mountain + return time.
For whom: while not technically difficult, this activity is only for physically-fit travellers. The climb is tiring but the view at the top is definitely worth the effort!
Explore Vang Vieng from above – Pha Hon Kham cliff
Starting from Riverside Boutique Resort, cross the two small bridges and head west on the new paved road towards Blue lagoon and Phou Kham cave.
After about 6 kilometers, there is a junction. Do not take the paved road to go to Blue Lagoon and Phou Kham cave. Instead, continue on the dust road for about 2 kilometers until you see a sign that reads “Pha Hon Kham cliff – The viewpoint and cave”.
If you go by car, leave your car there and walk for the remaining 150 meters to the starting point of the climb – this section can be very muddy during the rainy season.
The climb will take 20 to 40 minutes depending on your physical condition. It is tiring and impressive at times but not technically difficult. Stunning pictures can be taken at the top from a wooden platform. As always, the best pictures will be taken at sunrise and sunset. However, be sure not to go up or down when it is too dark.
3 – Trekking in Laos – Hiking in the North of Vang Vieng
How: by car (or bicycle) to reach the trekking starting point.
How long: This 2.5-kilometer tour can be done in half a day with a few really good photography stops; however, it is best combined with a picnic to become a full-day activity with swimming and caving opportunities.
For whom: this activity is perfect for all travellers and offers plenty of great photo opportunities.
Trekking in Laos – Hiking in the North of Vang Vieng
Starting from Riverside Boutique Resort, take Route 13 North for about 11 kilometers. Shortly after a small bridge, at Vat Ban Sok Sai, you’ll find a trail veering to the left through rice fields. Follow the trail to a small walking bridge. This is where the trek starts – if you came by bike, you can continue on your bike.
Ban Phan Thao is an interesting Hmong village where many traditional activities can be observed throughout the year, including cock fighting. This is also an important center for the Hmong New Year celebrations.
After visiting Ban Phan Thao, continue North along the small water channel. Pha Thao cave can be visited on the way. The trail will take you to Tham Nam where many other caves can be explored, including Tham Loup and Tham Hoi.
Ban Nadoa is the starting point for kayaking trips downriver. It also marks the end of this trek. Picnics and lunches can be organized there or near the river. If you came by car, ask the driver to pick you up there, on the other side of the river.