The hiking in Vang Vieng ranges from rather flat treks around the river to challenging uphill treks involving scrambling up rocks or wading across streams. Some hikes lead to caves, others to the tops of hills looking out over the town. Try hiking to the top of Phangern Mountain, you will see the white flag flying at the top. From the base of the mountain it is a solid 30-minute hike up wooden ladders and boulders, but the view is well worth it.
Rent a single or double kayak and choose your pace. Paddling is hardly necessary as you float with the current down the Nam Song. You can also pick up the pace on the rapids of the nearby Nam Ngum, and take in the rice paddies and mountains on the west bank, and wave at the tourists in town on the east bank. Kayak rentals are available through any of the dozens of tour operators around town or can be booked through your guest house.
Lunch at the organic farm then tubing
If you take a morning minivan from Vientiane, the three-hour journey will put you in Vang Vieng around lunch time. One of the top activities in Vang Vieng is river tubing and it is good to start in the early afternoon. Rent your tubes early but delay getting into the water until you’ve eaten at the Organic Farm, which is conveniently located at the beginning of the tubing route.
Swim in the Blue Lagoon
Vang Vieng has three blue lagoons that are accessible as part of a packaged tour, including visiting caves, swimming in the lagoons, hiking and tubing. The swimming holes are also easy via tuk tuk or bicycle. Take a dip in the azure water during the dry season when they are their prettiest color.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
There is nothing more magical than floating in a hot air balloon basket high above the earth. In Vang Vieng, the company Balloons Over Vang Vieng (BOVV) has been taking visitors on these aerial flights for many years. These affordable hot air balloon rides are something that should not be missed on your visit to the riverside town. It is not everyday that you can sail away like Dorothy home to Kansas.
Dinner on the street
Depending on how many riverside bars you hit up and how much dancing you did and volleyball and drinking games you played, it will be close to dinner time when you carry your tube through town to return it. Take in some delicious greasy local street food. Try a fried egg or meat sandwich, a fruit shake, and a sweet pancake for dessert.
Drinks and music at Gary’s
When you get your second wind, make your way to Gary’s Irish Bar for a low-key evening listening to live music and hanging out. Try your hand at pool, watch whatever soccer match is on the TV, and sip a pint or order some bar food.