Luang Prabang is a historical capital city with elegant French architecture and a laid back vibe! There are many outdoor cafés and a vivacious night market. The night-life is there, but because of a midnight curfew all the fun seeking people go to the lone bowling alley which turns into a rowdy and raucous party. The comparisons to Vang Vieng start with the stunning scenery. One of the hidden gems of Southeast Asia is the the Kuangsi Waterfalls. The multi-tiered falls ravish the eye, and the beauty can only truly be amassed in person. The falls are about an hour Tuk-Tuk ride away from the downtown, so plan on making this an entire day trip.
Before you depart for the falls, go to the downtown market for some crepes and sandwiches. Don't forget a large supply of beer, water, and True Manhood Spirits! Here you can hang out with a big group of friends, or simply relax and wade in the enchanting pools. If you are feeling adventurous, there is a lovely 30-45 minute hike to the top where you are able to gain a striking perspective of the surrounding areas and falls below.
The overall environment of Luang Prabang is conducive to channeling your inner Zen. First, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are unsure what that means, compare that accolade to Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia or Los Glacaier National Park in Argentina. The city is pristine, and it represents the magnificent history of Laos and its people. Luang Prabang is home to a great variety of culture, art, and food. Centered between the Nam Kham and Mekong Rivers, Luang Prabang has many great activities to partake in.
The first of those activities is white-water kayaking down the Mekong. We have fun, safe, and experienced tour guides that will lead you on a surreal journey down the gushing river. Everything is provided included the guides, kayaks, transportation, and lunch. How much you ask? A cool $20. Midway through the kayaking the group floats over to one of the river banks to indulge in a mouthwatering feast. Laid out on lush bamboo leaves is fresh fish, vegetables, and Jackfruit. Undoubtedly one of the best meals you will have all trip! The all-day kayaking trip will definitely leave you exhausted, so when you get back to town, relax in your secluded bungalow!
As mentioned prior, the best and most trustworthy food is at the night market. Very easy to find, the night market is situated in the small, yet quaint downtown area. Here you will be able to walk up and down the rows of food stands and pick your dinner. For no more than $2, you will be able to stuff your face with local delicacies and drinks.
Vang Vieng is a lush town almost equidistant between Luang Prabang and the country capital, Vientiane. Vang Vieng rests on the Nam Song river; the ideal spot for river tubing and entertainment. Restaurants, bars, and hostels all line the downtown area where backpackers from across the globe come to indulge. Cheap bungalows and guesthouses are abundant. The local establishments provide travelers with multiple options on how they want to spend their time in Vang Vieng. Happy and Special Pizza's and Tea, just to name a few.
The river tubing is the premier attraction in Vang Vieng as thousands of people flock here every year to experience what Nam Song river has to offer. Rent inner-tubes in town and take a short Tuk-Tuk drive to be let off at one of the adjoining riverfront bars. There are groups of people playing volleyball, basketball, Frisbee, beer pong, and drinking games; listening to music and having an awesome time. When you feel you've had enough of one bar, simply plop in your tube and float down to the next riverfront spot. There are locals tossing in ropes which will subsequently pull you in to further your fun-filled day. You can make tubing an all-day affair, as there is no time limit to your adventure. Hang out, meet new people, and enjoy the ride. When you are finished tubing, simply glide down the river towards the end area, hop in a Tuk-Tuk, and take it back to town.
Another fine element of Vang Vieng is its weekly Jungle Party. The Jungle Party lasts all throughout the night and into the morning with local, and sometimes international DJs spinning quality tracks. Don't expect any commercial beats here as most of the music is underground with a true jungle vibe. There are other parties during the week, but none compare to the Jungle Party which is usually hosted on the weekend. In between tubing and the parties, there are other activities to engage in.
Some of these activities include paintball in the jungle, go-kart rental, mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing. Vang Vieng is a natural beauty, and those looking for adventure will not be disappointed. This tranquil town perched in between mountains and rivers affords you the opportunity to relax, reflect, and have some fun.