While Vang Vieng was once the party hub of Southeast Asia for backpackers seeking the famous tubing adventures down the river, the Lao government carried out a crackdown in 2012 to re-create this gorgeous area of the country resulting in a removal of the river bars and update on safety regulations. Today, Vang Vieng is a hub of adventure tourism with activities ranging including climbing, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and so much more! While this gorgeous town tends to focus on families with active kids and teens, it is possible to bring along the whole gang. Little Steps recently visited Vang Vieng and has put together a handy guide to get you started on your planning. Prepare for beauty, nature, and plenty of family fun!
Getting to Vang Vieng can be done via bus, self-drive, or car hire. You can get the minibus in both Luang Prabang (7-hour journey) or Vientiane (4-5 hour journey). If you want to hire a driver, it will be expensive but comfortable. Another option is to self-drive via a rental car from Vientiane and Luang Prabang. While the roads are not perfect, they are not congested making it the most comfortable option for going with young kids. Many of the car rental companies also provide car seats - just ask! Once you are in Vang Vieng, everywhere is walkable, or you can bike around too.
How to book minibus options?
You can book these on arrival by visiting any of the many small travel agencies selling tickets around the city. If you prefer to book in advance, you can via the website.
How to rent a driver?
My Lao Driver, www.mylaodriver.com
How to rent a car in Laos?
The quality of hotels in Laos and Vang Vieng is certainly getting better and better! However, you will find the quality not very clear on the individual websites with the regulation of "stars" all over the map. We have even seen some accommodation post fake photos of their properties. Luckily, we have been to Vang Vieng and have put our top picks here for families looking for quality accommodation in the area. The Riverside Boutique Resort is a gorgeous boutique property with a lovely swimming pool overlooking the river. It is a 10-minute walk from town and a favorite for families with kids of all ages. Book early as they are limited on rooms. Amari Vang Vieng is another favorite international brand that offers a swimming pool, Kids Club, fitness center, and spa. Mid-range Inthira Vang Vieng is another good option with nice rooms, a swimming pool, and easy access to town. For more budget options, the Vieng Tara Villa across the river is a 3-star property in the beautiful rice fields. In town, Elephant Crossing Hotel is very affordable and offers a perfect place to have a morning coffee alongside the river. Their partner hotel, Silver Naga, next door is also an excellent option and includes a pool too. If your crew is ok to stay out of town, Green View is a great option for bungalow stays along the water and kayaks on your doorstep.
Riverside Boutique Resort, www.riversidevangvieng.com
Amari Vang Vieng, www.amari.com/vang-vieng
Vieng Tara Villa, www.viengtara.com
Inthira Vang Vieng, www.inthirahotels.com/vangvieng
The Elephant Crossing Hotel, secure.theelephantcrossinghotel.com
Silver Naga, www.silvernaga.com
So much to do, so little time! Vang Vieng is an adventure hub for families with kids of all ages. Hot air balloon trips are very popular, and you will see these wonders floating across the karst mountains in the early morning. For older kids, rock climbing is a favorite activity, and Adam's Climbing caters to everyone from beginners on up. Hiking is another popular activity for families with kids 5 and up! Try hiking Phangern Mountain which is a 45-minute scramble with ropes and ladders to the top where you can sample yummy green papaya salad at the top (most days!). There are four major caves around Vang Vieng which are interesting to check out, and you can get to them via bike or tuk-tuk. Taking a boat at sunrise or sunset is a must and kids love it! There are life jackets available and the ride is very relaxing. Boats can be booked by the riverside directly. Kayaking is also a fun option and you can arrange a kayak trip with any of the tour operators from your hotel. There are 3 blue lagoons which can also be visited via bike or tuk-tuk. Across the river, little ones can take a pony ride across the rice paddy landscape. Renting bikes is a wonderful way to cruise around the town and visit the various caves and blue holes with kids - rentals are available from your hotels. For a fun breakfast outing (or if you are driving in route back to Luang Prabang) head to the Organic Farm where you can sample the organic farm's famous Mulberry Pancakes by the riverside. Kids love this farm as there is plenty to see and you can walk around and check out the various animal's post breakfast. Of course, sitting by the river and sipping a cocktail while the kids play is also a must-do (every evening!). Tubing is still possible but with smaller kids not recommended.
Rock Climbing In Vang Vieng
Adam's Climbing School, www.vangviengclimbing.com
Organic Farm In Vang Vieng
Organic Farm, www.laofarm.org
Hot Air Balloon Trips In Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng Tour, www.vangviengtour.com/balloon-over-vangvieng
Pony Rides For Kids In Vang Vieng
Ponies Of Vang Vieng, www.poniesofvangvieng.com/horses-of-vang-vieng
Luang Prabang With Kids
Top Hotels For Families, www.littlestepsasia.com/all-cities/articles/travel/family-friendly-hotels-luang-prabang
Top 10 Things To Do In Luang Prabang, www.littlestepsasia.com/all-cities/articles/travel/top-10-things-do-luang-prabang
Top Hotels In Vientiane, www.littlestepsasia.com/all-cities/articles/travel/best-hotels-vientianne-laos