For years Vang Vieng was a crazy party city. It was filled with tourist who would come to experience the wildest tubing party in the world – read about it here and why it is now shut down. When traveling Laos, I made it a mission to be in Vang Vieng for my birthday to experience this once in a lifetime party – and it didn’t disappoint. However, unlike most people who go to Vang Vieng, I wanted to do more than just party.
During my time there I found some hidden gems that were absolutely jaw dropping. The following are the best spots in Vang Vieng.
Tham Chang Cave
I went to this cave the morning of my birthday. I was hesitant to leave our hostel (Jammee Guesthouse- see #5) that morning since it was raining. But it was my birthday and I was in Laos! So I got my lazy butt up and went with my friend and some other people that we met at our hostel. the lagoon was an easy to walk from our hostel.
As we walked the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day. We arrived at the lagoon and I was absolutely blown away. The water was such an intense blue that I couldn’t even fathom how something so beautiful could exist yet be so untouched. The water is so blue because is is fed off of the limestone caves surrounding it.
There is a cave there that you can swim into. You have to be confident in your swimming abilities though since you have to swim against the current to get in. Once you’re in it’s a super neat cave with ledges that you can climb up on to sit on. There were no other tourists at this site- only a few locals.
The Blue Lagoon
This lagoon isn’t exactly a hidden gem- it’s actually one of the most popular attractions. I didn’t find this to be anywhere near as impressive (or as blue) as Tham Chang Cave. You also have to pay to see this lagoon. However, I thought that I would mention it considering that the following 2 tips on this list have to do with it.
There is a nice area here to have a picnic. Also, it does have a rope swing, and who doesn’t love a good rope swing?
Scenic Bike Ride
Biking around Vang Vieng is amazing! Just rent a bike, buy a delicious baguette from a street vendor to pack in your bag with a bottle of water and you’re good to go!
I biked to the Blue Lagoon (about 7 km one way) and it was like biking through the pages of National Geographic. There were green rolling mountains on either side with cattle grazing and little naked children running around. It’s a bumpy ride on dirt trails, but that’s part of the fun.
Tham Phu Kham Cave
To get to this cave you follow the steep path behind the blue lagoon. There are locals who sell headlamps and offer guides. We wanted to venture on our own so didn’t get a guide and we thought that the headlamps were just a scheme to get more money from tourists.
The first chamber in the cave is quite light since there is a hole in the ceiling to let the sun shine through. The neat thing about this chamber is that there is a beautiful bronze reclining Buddha statue in it. My friends all stopped here with their cave exploring, but Cam and I continued deeper.
If you plan on exploring this cave I would advise to bring running shoes since it is very wet, and uneven inside. I did it in flip-flops- but I’m a crazy girl from the rocky mountains. A guy from the group behind us ended up breaking his wrist from falling.
As we got deeper in the cave there were some super neat things to see. However, it started getting darker and darker and Cam and I were really regretting not renting a headlamp. Eventually it gets pitch black. Luckily, I turned on the night setting on my camera and it shone a bright light just like a flashlight- phew!
The cave was massive and had so much to explore. It was a bit dodgy though. I have a terrible sense of direction and so I was terrified that we wouldn’t be able to find out way back out. Cam just kept venturing forward, however, and so I followed him as we crawled through crevices and jumped over rocks. We spent over an hour exploring inside the cave.
After the climbing through the cave it was refreshing to take a dip in the blue lagoon!
Okay so don’t come to Vang Vieng just to see this guesthouse. But if you are here, I would recommend staying at Jamee Gueshouse!
Jammee is very friendly and even would drive us to town if he had time
Jammee offerers you lots of good advice
Amazing breakfast included (depending on who is cooking)
There is a communal area for people to hang out and eat so it makes it super easy to meet new people
No strict rules, very easy-going
Tham Chang Cave is right behind it
it is a bit farther from the main strip (can be seen as a pro or con)
Chances are that you don’t need to book ahead you can just walk right up