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Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng (Lao: ວັງວຽງ) is a tourist-oriented town in Laos in Vientiane Province about four hours bus ride north of the capital. The town lies on the Nam Song River. The most notable feature of the area is the karst hill landscape surrounding the town.
Vang Vieng Overview

Vang Vieng is a tourism-oriented town in Laos, located in Vientiane Province about four hours bus ride north of the capital. The town lies on the Nam Song River. The most notable feature of the area is the karst hill landscape surrounding the town.


Vang Vieng was first settled around 1353 as a staging post between Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Originally named Mouang Song after the body of the deceased King Phra Nha Phao of Phai Naam was seen floating down the river, the town was renamed Vang Vieng during French colonial rule in the 1890s. Significant expansion of the town and its infrastructure occurred during the Vietnam War when the US developed an Air Force base and runway that was used by Air America. In more recent times, the town has grown substantially due to the influx of backpackers attracted by the opportunities for adventure tourism in a limestone karst landscape.
 

Located: about 70 kilometers, north of the Vientiane capital. (Divided from the Vientiane capital in 1983).

Total area: 15,927 square kilometers.

Population: 350,000.

10 Districts: Phonehong, Thoulakhom, Keo-Oudom, Kasy, Vangvieng, Feuang, Xanakharm, Mad, Hinhurp and. Viengkham.

 

Capital: Phonehong.


Vang Vieng History

Vang Vieng was first settled around 1353 as a staging post between Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Originally named Mouang Song after the body of the deceased King Phra Nha Phao of Phai Naam was seen floating down the river, the town was renamed Vang Vieng during French colonial rule in the 1890s.


Significant expansion of the town and its infrastructure occurred during the 1964-73 Vietnam War when the US constructed an air force base and runway that was used by Air America. The airstrip was then called "Lima site 6". In more recent times, the town has grown substantially due to the influx of backpackers attracted by the opportunities for adventure tourism in a limestone karst landscape.

 
Vang Vieng climate and best time to visit
Located halfway between Luang Prabang and Vientiane in central Laos, Vang Vieng lies somewhere among the tropic and sub-tropic, under the dominance of monsoon climate. 
 
Quite similar to other parts of Laos, May to October is the rain season in Vang Vieng, featuring the majority part of the annual rainfall, which can be measured up to 3,000mm. The rest, November to April, the number of rainy days dramatically drops while the average temperature is relatively lower as well.
 
The best time to travel to Vang Vieng in Laos. On average, the temperatures are always high.
 
A lot of rain (rainy season) falls in the months: May, June, July, August and September.
Vang Vieng has dry periods in January, February, November and December.
On average, the warmest month is April.
On average, the coolest month is January.
August is the wettest month. This month should be avoided if you don't like too much rain.
December is the driest month.
 
The best time to visit Vang Vieng is during the dry season from November to March, when temperatures are somewhat cooler. March to May is the hot season and the temperatures can reach 40ºC or higher. The wet season runs from May to October and the rains can make traveling around the surrounding area difficult.
 
 

Vang Vieng Transportation

Bus is the only way to travel overland in Laos. Tickets are cheap but often tourists are crammed together in uncomfortable seats. I spent the three hours in a tiny space meant for baggage but with 6 seats fitted.


If you book a minibus to Vientiane in your hotel (most likely 50000 Kip, 4 to 5 hours on a bad road) you get picked up there, last stop will be at the National Museum in walking distance to many cheaper accommodations, it stops also near the Airport, about 500 m walking.

 
Things to do and see in Vang Vieng

Thoulakhom Zoo


Located at Ban Kheun Village in Thoulakhom District, the zoo is about 60 kilometers from the capital Vientiane . Exotic and rare animals from the jungles of Laos are featured in a surprising example of excellent animal management in Southeast Asia

Tourist attractions in Vientiane province


Nam Ngum Reservoir


Opportunities exist for boating and picnics on the islands scattered in the Nam Ngum Reserve. Visitors can make their way to Ban Thalad village, Keo-Oudom District which is situated about 80 kilometers from Vientiane. Fine fish dishes can be tasted at the well-known floating restaurants while sporting activities can be enjoyed at the facilities found at the resort at Thalad Village.

Tourist attractions in Vientiane province


Nong Nok or Bird Lake


Located at Ban Sivilay Village, a community-managed birds sanctuary a few kilometers to the west of the park with hundreds of whistling ducks and egrets roosting here.
 

Tourist attractions in Vientiane province
 

Vangxang Cave

 

Vangxang Cave or Elephant Court is home to the remains of an ancient sanctuary dated over 300 years before the foundation of the Lane Xang Kingdom. Located at km. 48 on Route 13 (north) Vangxang consists of 5 large pink sandstone sculptures and 2 huge Buddha images. This place has now becomes a tourist center and a weekend picnic area for Vientiane residents.

 
 
Vang Vieng Travel Tips

Vang Vieng is one of the cheaper places in Laos and you will be hard pressed to spend a lot of money here, even if you go out drinking every night.


Walk to your accommodation from where the bus drops you off (it usually won’t take longer than 5 or 10 minutes) avoid tuk tuks and walk or rent a bicycle instead. Eat local food at street stalls or small restaurants; avoid the generic restaurants (although they’re generally not all that expensive either)never accept the first price on anything—bargaining is expected

to get a haircut at this place; don’t forget to bargain.
 

You can go drinking without tubing; just walk from bar to bar—not only do you save 50,000 Kip on the tube, there’s a good chance you save the deposit too, as many tubes ‘disappear’ and even if you do hold on to it all day, the return times are pretty early and easy to miss

 
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