Adventures In Vang Vieng For Less Than $25 A Day

A Wonderful day in Vang Vieng for under $25


Vang Vieng countryside


 Vang Vieng is a little backpacker paradise in central Laos. There is so much more to Vang Vieng than just the infamous tubing experience, and although this experience is definitely once in a lifetime, it falls out of the $25 range for the day. This little backpacker haven is nestled between these gorgeous karsts, unexplored greenery, and an abundance of rice paddies, caves, lagoons and the Nam Song River. So why not explore more of its natural beauty?! You can easily have the perfect day in Vang Vieng for less than $25 and have the most fun! This was definitely a top experience for us in South East Asia.


Hmong village and local people in Vang Vieng



When you walk around Vang Vieng, there are way more choices for accommodation than Hostelbookers provides. There are super cheap hostels and hotels all around the same area. Easy Go is a popular hostel amongst backpackers. With only having to pay $3 for a bed per night, this seems like the most fun and cheapest option. If you are looking for a private room, we were able to bargain for a private fan room at Johnny’s Guesthouse for $5 a night or you can try your luck at Nana’s Guesthouse, which is $6 a night. Also, please be aware that prices change from high season to low season (making low season the cheapest). It is also really easy to bargain for a lower price for a room!


Hmong homes in Vang Vieng


Things to do for an epic day

We normally do not do tours while traveling in fear of being scammed or for it to not live up to the expectation. However, we found this tour company right next to the Tubing distribution stall that offered an unbelievable tour for its price. It was a full day kayaking and cave tubing tour. Awesome, right? We paid 85,000 Kip, or $10.50 USD for a tour that included transportation there and back, all rentals and equipment, lunch, and the chance to get to meet super cool people and have an amazing experience.


Lazy kayaking in Vang Vieng


 We started our day at 9 am by heading out to visit the rice paddies in the Hmong Village, one of Laos local villages. We gained wonderful insight on the Laos locals as our guide taught us about the culture, daily rituals and traditions. We also got to see the Tham Xang, The Elephant Cave, which contained a Buddha and Buddhist relics. The reason it is called the Elephant Cave is because some of the rock formations looked like an elephant!


Elephant Cave in Vang Vieng


 We were then brought to the Tham Nam water cave, where we hopped into our tubes and pulled ourselves by rope along the cave wall (only with a dim torch on our heads!). We followed the faint voice of our tour guide into the abyss of darkness, following small dots of light, the rope along the wall, and the laughter and screams of the group. It was really good fun, and probably one of the more impressive caving experiences we had in Southeast Asia!


Jack cave tubing in Vang Vieng


 After an excellent hour of caving, we ate a delicious Laos lunch of fired rice, chicken skewers, pineapple and bananas! Mmm…  And the kayaking adventure began. We kayaked for 3 hours down the Nam Song River, which had a few tiny rapids. However, the scenery is gorgeous. Seriously, unreal. You see all these mountains, and lush greens, and the beautiful river-it was seriously the best part of the tour! You are in Laos, in this unexplored wilderness, kayaking (more like calmly drifting) down the river—it is amazing! We kayaked to one of the bars where the Tubers go, but didn’t buy any drinks. It was still nice to see the environment where the tubers go though!


Kayak with Vang Vieng view


 We returned at 4 pm so it was pretty much a whole days worth of activities for only $10. Definitely worth it!



Lunch on Vang Vieng tour


For dinner, we are a big fan of eating local street food from street vendors. Why? Because it is the cheapest and surprisingly the tastiest! You are better off going with local food than western food because you at least know that they can prepare Asian food correctly (with hopefully no chances of getting sick!). In Vang Vieng there are tons of little street carts with food like baguette sandwiches, fried pancakes with nutella, pad thai noodles, and even burgers all ranging from $1.25 (for the pancake) up to $2.50 (for a burger).


Laotian pancakes




Beer Lao next to River


In Vang Vieng, there are heaps of bars that offer drink specials. Most large beerlao cost 8,000 to 10,000 Kip (around $1.20), but our favorites were free drink specials! Sakura bar has free drink specials from 9-10pm and Kangaroo Sunset Bar has free drinks (and free games of pool) from 10-11pm!


Beer with friends


So enjoy the free drinks before having to pay for any. Everyone usually hangs out at Gary’s Irish Bar, which is where we went to watch one of the world cup games! People are playing darts, pool, there is live music, everyone is chatting, and drinking some cheap drinks, so it is definitely some good fun. For a quite night, you can head to any bar or restaurant and watch Friends with a couple beers. It is always nice to grab a beer with some friends while watching Friends.


Walking through Rice Paddies in Vang Vieng



Accommodation -$5

Tour- $10.50

Dinner- $3.00

Dessert- $1.25

Free Drinks -$0

Total= $19.25

 Left over money (for beers maybe?)- $5.25


Street cart banana pancakes


We had the best time on this excursion and would eagerly recommend it to anyone else traveling to Vang Vieng. We met some great people, admired the fantastic scenery, adventured in caves, got our workout when kayaking, and had an unbelievable experience—all under $25!

Who Needs Maps Bio

Jack-and-Jenn-Bio-PicWe are Jack and Jenn from Who Needs Maps. We are a long distance couple, from America and Australia, so why not meet in the middle and use travel as an excuse! We are thrill seekers, food lovers, world travelers, adventure finders, and a fun loving couple who just wants to explore the world. We hope to inspire, inform and entertain people through our experiences and stories! Embrace the fun, enjoy the crazy, and take on the world.

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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Charlie November 7, 2014, 11:19 pm

    Wow, that scenery looks incredible! And a great way to meet people too. It’s crazy that you can have a day like that for so little. Can’t wait to get to Asia!

    • Agness Walewinder November 9, 2014, 6:33 pm

      Yes, it’s so beautiful!!

  • Franca November 8, 2014, 12:17 pm

    We didn’t stop in Vang Vieng on our way to Luang Prabang because we were not interested in tubing, clearly we didn’t know enough about this city and the area, there is so much more we could have enjoyed it. Next time I guess :)

    • Agness Walewinder November 9, 2014, 6:32 pm

      We did and it was so awesome!!

  • Tim | UrbanDuniya November 9, 2014, 2:52 am

    You know, I knew almost nothing about Vang Vieng a couple of years ago, and my friend went there and said he had an amazing time. I’ve heard it’s quite touristy, but I’m sure it’s still worth seeing, or maybe a great place to start other excursions from.

    • Agness Walewinder November 9, 2014, 6:40 pm

      Back in 2011 I didn’t even know that Vang Vieng even existed! :)

  • Agness Walewinder November 9, 2014, 6:33 pm

    Agree :)!!

  • Kathryn Burrington November 9, 2014, 7:57 pm

    That tour really does look like great fun and superb value. Would love to do it myself one day.

    • Jennifer Malka November 10, 2014, 1:19 am

      It was great fun! I think the tubing in the cave was a totally different experience than the typical tubing in Vang Vieng!

    • Jenn November 10, 2014, 1:21 am

      It was one of the best value tours we had in all of Asia! It was really something special!

  • Miriam of Adventurous Miriam November 9, 2014, 8:59 pm

    Oh, Vang Vieng is such a lovely town. We didn’t get to try tubing, but I loved the vibe there!

  • Catherine November 9, 2014, 9:36 pm

    I can’t believe they offer completely free beers! What’s the catch? Do you have to pay for anything else to enjoy the free drinks, or is it simply to get you in their bar while it’s free in the hope you’ll stay when the prices go up?

    • Jenn November 10, 2014, 1:20 am

      They would have free bars for an hour or so, so once a lot of people were in the bar it was hard for them to leave so people kept drinking at the bars! I suppose its good marketing for them showing how they are a super social and fun bar!

  • Jennifer Malka November 10, 2014, 1:18 am

    The best way to see a place is to adventure around the city! Laos has the most amazing views :)

  • Mike November 10, 2014, 11:05 am

    Excellent post. I’ve heard amazing things about Vang Vieng. Floating down a river through largely untouched scenery…and free beers afterward. Where do I sign up!? I’m off to Angkor Wat again this X-mas, but this post has made me write-in Laos as a side trip from BKK over the spring. Thanks for the great intel. Happy trails!

    • Jenn of Who Needs Maps November 10, 2014, 9:10 pm

      Laos was one of my favorite places! There was so much untouched nature that needs to be explored! Using a tube in the cave was definitely an incredible experience and it was so much fun!

  • Emily November 10, 2014, 1:39 pm

    I can’t get over the fact that they still constantly play Friends – we were there in 2006 and thought it was odd – imagine 8 years later – haha!

    • Jenn of Who Needs Maps November 10, 2014, 9:10 pm

      I know! They STILL play friends! But it made for good fun and a chilled out day :)

      • Agness Walewinder November 12, 2014, 8:20 pm


  • Rebekah November 11, 2014, 12:37 am

    This sounds like such a fun town, I’ll def have to check it out at some point. I love quirky places

    • Jenn from Who Needs Maps November 12, 2014, 8:16 pm

      It was seriously so cute! Also, Luang Prabang was a great place if you like quirky little towns. You have to check out Laos :)

    • Agness Walewinder November 12, 2014, 8:19 pm

      It truly is!

  • Anna @ shenANNAgans November 11, 2014, 1:42 am

    Tube caving sounds amazing and heck yes to free beer. :) Sounds like an awesome place to visit, so much to see and do and so crazy cheap too.

    • Jenn from Who Needs Maps November 12, 2014, 8:17 pm

      It was so unexpectedly cheap for that tour! We couldn’t believe but it was definitely worth adventuring to!

    • Agness Walewinder November 12, 2014, 8:18 pm


  • Marcia @ CuracaoVacationAccomodation November 17, 2014, 3:14 pm

    Vang Vieng is indeed beautiful. I like their houses. They look so…tropical.

    • Agness Walewinder November 19, 2014, 9:48 pm

      I loved them too!

  • itsgoa November 19, 2014, 7:13 am

    Scenery look very beaqutifullll

  • Ryan Milne March 24, 2015, 4:22 pm

    Great review of what I think is one of the best places in the world – that’s why I live here!

    I love that you mention things other than tubing – we are the best in the world for tubing and that’s what puts Vang-V on the map but VV is whatever you want it to be – cultural experiences, beautiful scenery, rock climbing, caving, the beautiful blue lagoon, kayaking and the backpacker party scene. I first came here as a backpacker, fell in love with the place, came again the 2nd,3rd,4th time to volunteer at an organic, sustainable farm called SAELAO ( and ended up becoming involved in a bar in town.

    The drink specials you mentioned were awesome whilst they lasted but as an update for everyone NO BARS in Vang Vieng sell free drinks after 9pm anymore, so all the bars have the same times for happy hour and you can choose whether you want to party at one of the many bars you mentioned – for instance if you love to watch sports like football/soccer I’d recommend Gary’s Irish Bar… If you love a party atmosphere with friendly staff, laughing gas balloons and drinking games I’d recommend Kangaroo Sunset.

    Hope to see you again and all other travelers soon :)
    Rhino – Kangaroo Sunset, Vang Vieng.

  • Alicia September 7, 2016, 11:19 pm

    Hey! loved your article, but couldnt find anywhere where it said the name of the tour or tour company or random place to find it for the all day kayak and tubing. My husband and I are in the works of planning a south east Asia tour and would love any input. We are looking to be there late Jan to maybe early March.


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