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Vang Vieng is a tiny riverside town in Laos. Once no more than a bus changing station on the long haul between Vientiane at the Thai border and the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, it has managed to become a destination in its own right. Still not much more than three streets and a bus station, the main attractions are the river, laid back countryside and cave-filled rock formations. Originally opened up by hedonistic backpackers, it is now host to numerous internal tourists and more sedate foreign sightseers. Vang Vieng today is mainly a backpacker town. The main street is littered with guest houses, bars, restaurants, internet cafes and tour agencies.

Vang Vieng is between Vientiane and Luang Prabang - by bus if the road and bus conditions permit. It is about 6-8 hours from Luang Prabang and around 3-4 hours from Vientiane. Buses to Vientiane leave bright and early between 05:00 and 07:00. Less crowded and more humanely timed tourist buses leave at 10:00 and 13:30 A minibus leaves at 09:00 and tickets can be bought in almost every guesthouse.

Touts offer cyclo or taxi rides from the bus station into town, but it's only a 5 minutes walk to the center, and about a 2 minute walk out the other side.

Your only other transportation option is on one of the day or overnight trips down the river by inner tube or kayak. Packages from one of the tourist shops include a van ride back to town. On the smaller scale, locals will rent you an inner tube and pick you up on their motorbike.

Blue Lagoon is an 8km trip away from town which brings you to a spring fed lagoon at the bottom of "Golden Cave". A great place to relax, swim and play on the rope swing. The waters are inhabitated with a few hundred carp fish that will eat locally sold fish food right out of your hand. The cave above requires a modest hike up a make-shift bamboo ladder. Once inside, there is a short walk to the Sleeping Golden Buhdda.

You can also tube down the river. For very little cost you get a ride to starting point and a for a little extra a dry bag can be provided. Some dry bags may not be of the best quality and often digital cameras get ruined by these faulty dry bags rented to tourists, so beware and if in doubt, don't bring your camera. There are many beer and other pitstops along the way.

More at: Wikipedia



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