It is easy to run out of superlatives when describing the beauty of Vang Vieng. Soaring limestone mountains tower above the winding emerald Nam Song River, framed by picturesque Laos countryside peppered with farms, green fields and trees. A serene atmosphere belies the adrenaline-filled activities that are available here, including trekking, rock-climbing, kayaking and cave exploring.
Vang Vieng is almost equidistant between the capital of Vientiane and Luang Prabang, making it a good stop-off for a few days en-route. However there is much more to Vang Vieng than just a convenient location.
Until fairly recently, Vang Vieng had a rather notorious reputation as a magnet for backpackers seeking booze-buckets and tube rides on the river. However in 2012, the Laos government sought to put a firm stop to this, closing many of the bars and ceasing the operations of the dubious tube-ride companies. Now Vang Vieng is a destination for those seeking to enjoy the great outdoors, with plenty of adventurous activities on offer.
The mountains surrounding Vang Vieng have a number of caves which can be explored. Trekking ranges from the easy to the arduous, and there are also a number of cycling paths around the lush green rice paddies. It is also possible to take to the water for a spot of kayaking or rafting.