Vang Vieng Attractions

We were in Vang Vieng during March, the start of the hot season. We found it best to go places early in the day before it gets too hot and again in the late afternoon to avoid the heat.
Blue Lagoon & Phu Kham Cave is about a 30-minute cycle from the west side of the paid bridge. The admission of 10,000 kip includes both places. With cool turquoise water, the Blue Lagoon is a popular place to swim. Phu Kham Cave is naturally lit for the first bit then dark if you want to go in further.
Lusi Cave is less than an hour to walk to from town. It's a beautiful walk there through rice paddies and forests with limestone cliffs in the background. Pha Poak Mountain is on the way where you can climb up and get an incredible view of surrounding rice paddies and karsts. The cave is very large and completely dark, in its original condition- it takes about an hour to explore. The 10,000 kip admission includes your own flashlight and a guide. You need an additional 30-minute and 20,000 kip if you want to swim in the knee-deep lagoon inside.
Jang Cave (Chang Cave) is less than a 30-minute walk from town. The admission is 15,000 kip, plus 2000 if you arrive by passing through Vang vieng Resort. The whole cave is lit with paved walkways and some handrails - it takes less than 30 minutes to walk through. There's a clear pool of water outside with fish that you can swim in.
Tubing, what Vang Vieng seems to be famous for, takes 3 hours in the dry/hot season and 1 hour during the rainy season. It costs 55,000 kip plus a 60,000 deposit. Only 4 bars are left, all quite near the tubing drop off point. Partying starts after noon so if you want some peace and quiet, go before noon. The river was shallow and very slow in March.
Cycle the 30+ km Vang Vieng West Loop through local villages and rice paddies with dramatic limestone karsts in the background. It's mostly flat but the unpaved road is very bumpy and dusty when vehicles drive by. Great way to see how some locals live without disturbing them, although many friendly kids might say hello! It took us less than 3 hours (closer to 2 hours without breaks), but there are many caves along the way if you feel like checking them out - it's pretty straight forward but Hobo Map is good to have.

There are lots of activities in Vang Vieng, mostly involving tubing, kayaking, cycling, or cave exploration. Tours start at less than $10 to $50+ USD. Most caving + tubing tours are around $20 USD. Full day or half day climbing courses are available as well.

Get a map with caves and trails in the surrounding area if you plan on exploring on your own, which can be done fairly easily - Hobo Map is pretty good.

A boat ride along the river is 80,000 kip. It costs $80 USD to for an hour up in a hot air balloon at 6:00/7:40/16:10. Note that it costs 4000 kip to cross the big wooden bridge that shakes when a car goes past - all other wooden bridges are free to cross. Of course it's also free to take a dip in the mostly pretty shallow river, but keep in mind that some locals wash vegetables and shampoo their hair in the river.

The temples here look quite different than in Luang Prabang - you might even see trucks with Buddha statues in the back!