Laos Trip / Day 3 : Vang Vieng Serenity

Today was our second day in Vang Vieng, and we had planned to explore the area around the town. We had booked a day trip tour yesterday, and the tour company arranged to pick us up at our hotel at 8AM. We woke up at seven, took a refreshing shower, got dressed, and had breakfast (we didn’t need to dress up much because today was all about adventure and getting wet, but we made sure to bring sunscreen because we would be out in the sun all day). The tour arrived at our hotel on time. It was a double-decker van with a roof on top and about 6-7 kayaks strapped to it. Along the way, the van made a few stops to pick up a couple more customers, totaling 11 people in our group, including both Thai and foreign visitors. Our first destination was the “Water Cave” or “Tham Nam,” located about 14 kilometers north of the town. It took us around 20 minutes to reach there on the van, driving along the main road before turning into a small lane that led to a final stop by the Song River. From there, we had to walk approximately 500 meters to reach the water cave because the van couldn’t go any further due to the lack of a road. We crossed a bridge, passed through rice fields and local villages to reach the cave, which took us about 15 minutes on foot.








The water cave was one of the amazing highlights of Vang Vieng, where travelers could experience the thrill of tubing with headlamps attached, embarking on an adventurous journey as they floated through the dark and mesmerizing cave for approximately 500 meters. Tubing was only possible during the wet season when there was enough water flow. In the dry season, we had to walk into the cave instead. Safety was not a concern as there were ropes along the way, guiding us, and the water level was not too deep to stand in (although it was quite chilly). We reached the entrance of the cave around 9AM. Our guide briefed us and provided each of us with headlamps and tubes, preparing us for the cave exploration. For those who had valuable belongings or mobile phone that couldn’t get wet, the guide offered storage facilities. He had waterproof bags, or we could bring our own to ensure convenience. Once we were all set, the guide led the way, and we eagerly hopped onto our tubes, ready to float into the cave. As it was still early in the day, there weren’t many people around, making it relatively easy to navigate through. We used the technique of gripping the ropes and gradually pulling ourselves deeper into the cave. Inside, it was refreshingly cool and pitch black, with visibility relying solely on the light from our headlamps. We had to be cautious of stalactites and stalagmites as we floated along, adding an extra thrill to the adventure. When we reached the end of the cave, we turned back and retraced our route, spending around an hour and a half tubing and marveling at the cave’s breathtaking views. After emerging from the cave’s entrance, it was around 11.30AM. The guide suggested we have our lunch at the small shops located in front of the cave. We enjoyed a delicious meal of fried rice and grilled chicken barbecue, accompanied by French baguettes—a perfect fusion of flavors to satisfy our hunger.







After having lunch, we took some time to relax and explore the area, capturing memorable photos. Around noon, we walked back along the same path we had come from the parking area. On our way, we made a quick stop at the Elephant Cave (Tham Xang), located between the parking spot and the water cave. The name “Elephant Cave” was derived from the stalactite and stalagmite formations inside the cave, resembling the shape of an elephant (you had to see it for yourself). The cave served as a sacred place with various Buddha statues and religious artifacts. We didn’t spend much time inside the Elephant Cave as it wasn’t particularly large. It took us about 10 minutes to walk through and take some photos, which was sufficient to appreciate its beauty.











After finishing our visit to the Elephant Cave, we headed back to the car and set our sights on the next destination: Kayaking along Nam Song River. The starting point for kayaking, located about 10 kilometers away from Water Cave or 4-5 kilometers from the Vang Vieng town. Our guide informed us that we would kayak continuously from this point along the Nam Song River for approximately 5 kilometers until we reached the town. The kayak could accommodate 2-3 people, but it might be a bit tiring for two individuals. Once we had reserved our kayak and listened to the guide’s instructions, we immediately embarked on our kayaking adventure. For those concerned about safety, there was no need to worry, as the guide accompanied us throughout the journey. Additionally, the water was not too deep, only reaching knee height at certain points. Along the way (at the halfway point), we made a brief stop at a riverside bar to rest and quench our thirst for about 30 minutes (food and drinks at the bar were not included in the day trip package). Afterward, we continued paddling our way into town. It took us approximately two hours of kayaking to reach the town by around 3.30PM, and our arms were definitely feeling the strain (just a side note, the person sitting at the back gets more tired than the one in the front, as they have to exert more effort and steer the kayak).






After reaching the disembarkation point in town, our guide efficiently organized the transportation of both us and the kayak onto a vehicle, as we continued our journey towards the next destination. This next stop held great significance, as it was the main highlight of our visit to this mountainous city and a renowned landmark of Wangwiang known worldwide—the “Blue Lagoon” or “Tham Phu Kham Cave.”

The Blue Lagoon is located in the northwestern direction of Vang Vieng, approximately 5 kilometers away from the town. The area in front of the cave serves as a serene riverside spot where tourists can relax, swim, and find shelter under the shade. There’s also a spacious lawn for international visitors to sunbathe, along with wooden benches by the riverside where you can sit and enjoy a meal. You can even order food such as the staple favorites found in our local tourist destinations, like som tam (papaya salad) and grilled chicken. For those seeking excitement and an adrenaline rush, the recommended activity here is “jumping into the Blue Lagoon.” The basic style involves a graceful dive or jump into the middle of the pool (with a height of no more than 0.5 meters), while the more daring option is to leap from a tree (about 3 meters high). The water in the lagoon is deep enough for jumping, but safety should always be taken into account for those who are considering trying it. I would suggest being a competent swimmer and having a good level of proficiency. If in doubt, it’s advisable to wear a life jacket. I don’t recommend jumping for individuals under the influence of alcohol. Apart from the diving activities, there is another area where you can swim, but the water is reasonably deep (above the head). For those who decide to swim, it’s important to be able to swim and, if uncertain, wearing a life jacket for safety is highly recommended. I must mention that the water here is clear and refreshingly cool as it flows from within the cave. If you choose to engage in water activities, I suggest doing so continuously rather than intermittently to avoid getting cold immediately. 😀

The guide led us to the Blue Lagoon at around 4PM and gave us an hour and a half of free time to enjoy the water, jump in, order food and drinks, and chill by the poolside (food expenses not included in the package). We arranged to meet again at the car at 5.30PM, which was just the right time as the Blue Lagoon was about to close. We spent all our time playing in the water and challenging ourselves with jumps, which was so much fun. It was truly enjoyable to swim in the clear and refreshing water, surrounded by a beautiful atmosphere and pristine air. That half-hour felt like it went by way too quickly, honestly. 🙂







Jumping to the Blue Lagoon at Level – 1


Jumping to the Blue Lagoon at Level – 99 🙂


Once it was half past five, the Blue Lagoon closed, and tourists began to leave the pool area. We gathered together at the designated spot near the car, as guided. Afterwards, the guide took all the tour participants and dropped them off one by one at the lined-up hotels. We arrived back at our hotel around 6PM. Immediately, I took a shower because I had been wet all day (and also starting to feel hungry). Then, we spent about an hour and a half strolling around the town near the hotel in search of something to satisfy our dinner cravings. We stumbled upon a street food stall called “Khao Piak,” which means “Rice noodle with pork soup” in Lao. However, the taste was outstanding – it was incredibly delicious (or maybe it was because I was hungry and tired from playing in the water). It cost 10,000 kip per bowl (approximately 1.30 USD). Once we finished our main course, we didn’t forget about the lingering thing since yesterday evening—dessert. 😛 We noticed numerous roti stalls in Vang Vieng, but we hadn’t had a chance to try them yesterday, so we had to find one today. We came across a stall called “Bun Yang,” owned by an uncle, who proudly claimed to be the “first roti stall in Vang Viang since 1990.” I decided to give it a try. I told the uncle that I wanted a sugar and sweetened milk one and one with bananas, nutella and powdered coconut milk, and two pieces of roti. It cost 25,000 kip (approximately 3.25 USD). I have to admit that the taste was really good, but it wasn’t much different from the roti we have in our hometown. However, seeing many reviews recommending roti in Vang Vieng, I felt intrigued to try it with them. Let’s just say that having roti in a different country provided a change of atmosphere.


Khao Piak – Rice noodle with pork soup




After indulging in a delightful dinner and Vang Viaeg-style dessert, it was around 9PM, and we were all feeling drowsy. So we walked back to the hotel to take care of packing our belongings neatly because we had a scheduled meeting at 8.30AM to catch the bus back to Udon Thani – Thailand. And now, it had been exactly three days since we arrived in Laos. These three days could be described as a truly rejuvenating vacation because we had witnessed a tranquil hometown accompanied by pristine nature. It felt as if our batteries were fully charged, and our minds were clear. I must say that this country is a place that should not be missed in any way. It should especially not be overlooked by adventurous travelers who are eager to explore Laos.





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