The infamous city of Vang Vieng in Laos has a very well-deserved reputation for being a party city. I haven’t been to a city that parties as much as this one. Literally, there is a party every night! When you visit come to party hard.
The City of Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng is a very small town or at least the main strip where most tourists visit is basically about one street maybe two miles long. This makes it great fun for nightlife because all of the main clubs (there are only three by my count.) If you like to club hop this is the town for you can start at one club on the corner of the Real Vang Vieng Hostel and then mosey on down the street until you get to pulse. The most happening nightclub of the three. Outside of this club, there is beer pong. They have drink specials like buy two drinks and get a shirt. (It’s a pretty good deal.)
Hostels in Vang Vieng are a bit confusing because they all have the same name Real Backpackers Hostel 1,2, or 3. As you get a ride into town with other backpackers from the bus station, don’t worry about which hostel they are going to because they are all really close together and are walkable. This also means that at least in low season you don’t need to prebook a room at all.
If you only go to Vang Vieng for a day or even 6 hours do the inner tubing!!! It is so much fun it’s one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life mostly because it felt like I was in a music video the whole time. There is a lot of drinking so make sure to be smart about how much you drink. Drowning is a real scenario and no one is going to cut you off but yourself so think before you drink. Another way to be more conscious of what you drink is to bring limited funds so that you can’t overindulge. It’s also a good idea to only bring photo devices that are securely fashioned to your body. Many an iPhone, Samsung, and Go Pro have been lost in the murky depths of this river.
The Three Bars on your Tubing Trip
The tubing route consists of three bars the first one is literally right across from the starting point and is a struggle to get to. At this first bar, people play pong, massive games of flip cup, and other games that people create. It was my favorite bar. The second bar was the dancing and basketball bar. Prepare to get wet as you dance on top of tables and shoot hoops.
Generally, by the second bar everyone is wasted and tired, after all, partying is tiring. The last part of the tubing journey to the last bar is 45 minutes away. This bar is called Happy Bar and because everyone is quite drunk, tired, and wet everyone heads home. This bar is always dead. Make sure to get your tube back on time even though you start tubing at 11 you’ll finish about 6 or 7. Time will fly by! Enjoy your time at one of the best parties in the world.
Pro tips for tubing:
- Stay to the left of the river!!!!! This is key because there aren’t any signs telling you it’s the end of the tubing experience and you don’t want to miss your exit.
- Bringing waterproof strappy sandals is a great idea to protect your feet. Anything else like flip-flops will be lost in the river.
This bar is right next to the club the Pulse and can be easy to miss because it’s quite quiet compared to its noisy neighbor. Hence the name Space Bar will put your head in the clouds. This bar provides a variety of food and drink concoctions that will make many travelers very, very, happy.
A big word of warning if you decide to partake. There is a system where the bar will sell weed to customers, the customers will smoke the weed on the premise of the bar and The neighbors of the bar then call the cops who come and arrest the bar patrons who then have to pay a fee of upwards of 700 USD to get out of jail. Then the bar, cops, and neighbors all take a cut of the money. So, if you decide to visit don’t smoke your weed on the premises and leave as quickly as possible.
Apart from being a party town Vang Vieng is known for some of its outdoorsy activities. We didn’t have very much time in Vang Vieng so we chose to check out the waterfalls. There are three lagoons in Vang Vieng. Lagoon Number One is the closest and most popular. It’s the easiest one to visit. We were hoping to avoid lots of tourists so we decided to see the last two lagoons number two and three. Our host at the hostel said that these two were the bluest and the best to see. We took a songtow to visit these lagoons. Even though renting a bike would have been cheaper, I really recommend taking a car to these lagoons during the rainy season or after a big rain because we drove through some rough muddy/ partially flooded roads. I’m not sure they would be passable on a bike.
Lagoons two and three- I’m sure at one point in history these places were actual blue lagoons but over the years more and more development has occurred which has turned these sites into excellent all-day picnic and relaxing spots. If you are looking for a hike this spot definitely isn’t for you. Also, the cave at the third waterfall is a death trap. It shouldn’t be advertised as a caving adventure. To enter the cave, you have to climb down an ancient bamboo ladder into a deep dark hole. In my opinion, only professional cavers with proper equipment should enter the cave. Remember it’s SE Asia we’re talking about I’m sure this cave hasn’t been tested for safety in years or decades. If you got lost down there none would know.
Back to the lagoons
Lagoon number two has a diving board and a zip line for the adventurous swimmer. It also has some picnic benches and places to lie out for a tan. Lagoon number three was more or less the same but with free floaties for floating in the lake and a really interesting series of ropes and lines to allow swimmers to jump into the water. If you have a choice, choose lagoon number three and hang out here for a few hours. Lagoon three also has a small store where you can buy food if you need a lunch.
The Jungle party happens every Friday night in Vang Vieng. Tickets aren’t that expensive but are on the pricier side of most costs here. The ticket price includes enterance to the Jungle Party and a rickshaw ride to the party and back. The party isn’t like what they advertise in fact I feel like it’s one of the more mellow parties in the city. It’s not actually in a jungle either it’s across the street from a large very nice building.The jungle party does include a nice garden layout. There is a large dance floor and bar. The music in our opinion isn’t very good it’s just trance or house music. Overall I wouldn’t probably go back to this party especially if it was between this event and tubing or seeing a new place in Laos.
Vang Vieng is a great place to visit for a week or few days full of some of the best partying of your life. Even though it has been cleaned up and slowed down a bit it’s still a great city to visit and get your groove on. If you only do one thing here go river tubing! It was so much fun and amazing. Don’t worry about the brown water it’s scary at first but you learn to not let it bother you. I think it’s pretty clean overall.
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