Vang Vieng - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng

The small, laid back town of Vang Vieng is spectacularly situated on a bend of the Nam Song River, surrounded by green agricultural fields, friendly Hmong and Yao villages, and mountains that hold fascinating limestone caves. Once no more than a bus change on the long journey between the capital Vientiane in the south to the world heritage city of Luang Prabang in the north, Vang Vieng has become a destination in its own right, especially appealing to backpackers and younger travellers.

Magnificent scenery, the mighty river and numerous caverns and caves in the surrounding limestone mountains are the main tourist attractions, and several guesthouses organise guides to explore them (or else visitors can hire bicycles and motorbikes and go adventuring on their own). The cave of Tham Phou Kham, set in a limestone cliff, contains a bronze Buddha inside the main cavern, and is one of the more interesting caves to visit. To get there is part of the enjoyment, with river crossings on precarious bamboo footbridges, past rural villages and between shimmering rice fields, surrounded by exquisite scenery of fresh and vivid colours. The cave of Tham Pha Thao is for the more adventurous, and involves wading through a deep subterranean stream past enormous stalactites and stalagmites. Another great attraction in Vang Vieng is floating down the river on inner tubes and enjoying the laid back pace of life.

Vang Vieng is an ideal stop-off point on the Vientiane to Luang Prabang route, combining shy but friendly people, a beautiful rural setting, and enjoyable activities.

Information & Facts


Vang Vieng experiences two main seasons due to the annual monsoon cycle. May to October is wet while November to April is dry. Average temperatures drop to 59F (15C) in the dry season which is the best time for tourists to travel to Vang Vieng. During the wet season average daytime high hovers round 86F (30C) and tropical downpours are frequent, especially during the months of July and August.

Lao is the official language, but some English and French are spoken.

The Lao Kip (LAK) is the legal currency unit, currently available in denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 kip. US Dollars, Euros and Thai Baht are also accepted in many places and are more convenient to carry than large stacks of the local currency. Banks, hotels, and jewellery shops all offer currency exchange services. For everyday expenses, carry a mix of US dollars and kip. For larger items, or when the exchange rate works in your favour, use US dollars. For local transport, street food stalls and minor purchases, it is best to use kip. When in rural areas, ensure you carry a supply of small notes as change can be hard to come by. Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most international hotels, many shops and restaurants, and a few tourist-orientated establishments in Luang Prabang and Vientiane - but in other parts of the country assume that only cash is accepted. Travellers cheques can be cashed at most banks in Vientiane and other major towns. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 12pm, and then again from 2pm to 3pm. In Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse and other major towns, ATMs are available from which money can be withdrawn. Note that ATMs distribute only Lao kip, with a maximum of around 1,000,000 kip per transaction.

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