Vang Vieng: Attractions
Just being there is an attraction in itself - the scenery, karst formations changing in the light conditions; and the Nam Song with its riverside walking. But, in addition ...
Tham Phu Kham (aka Pukham cave; pictured right) is the star, if you don't mind climbing 600ft up boulders and the rockface, to get to the entrance, then climb down into the cavern and, if you have a guide, go on through the tunnels. Just seeing the cavern, with its Reclining Buddha, is incredible. Ask around for the best time: you want the light shining into the cavern in a beautiful shaft that touches the Buddha and that happens only for a couple of hours a day. You need to get a doc-doc from the main bridge over the Nam Song ... it is about six kilometers and the price is negotiable.
Tham Jang, the most visited cave, is in the Vang Vieng Resort complex. The great cavern was used by local people 200 years ago as a refuge from Chinese invaders. Now it is an attraction for anyone passing through but far, far tamer than the Phu Kham experience.
Nam Song boat ride – very peaceful, just you and the boatman in a small, quietly-engined boat. Beautiful scenery, socially interesting as you pass activities on the riverbanks and, especially, the women and men collecting moss from the river for selling to restaurants.
Caves and sights further out ... find out about them when you get there. There are more being offered every year. Sometimes, it is the ride to them that is more interesting than the caves themselves.
Tubing down the Nam Song – a very agreeable way to spend a day, picking up snacks and Beerlao on the way
Kayaking for those with a yen for action ... I think I'd rather have a kip.
It is hard to put a value on the pleasure in just being in Vang Vieng. It just grows on you, with easy living, great views, helpful people. We went for two days to update the website