Vang Vieng Kayaking

Every time I go to a new city, I try to take in at least one new activity (or revisit an old favorite) that I normally wouldn’t do in my day to day Bangkok city life.

In Vang Vieng, Laos the answer would normally be obvious: TUBING!

But due to the miniscule number of tourists during low season, the tubing scene was almost entirely absent.

(and let’s be serious, I wouldn’t want to participate even if it was rocking… insane how lame an office job can make you!)

Vang Vieng was practically be deserted.

To be honest, I really wanted to relax and take in some of the magnificent scenery I had glimpsed without a haze of beery intoxication clouding my vision.

I decided to kayak in Vang Vieng.

If I can get cheesy for a minute – I love being on a river when I feel disconnected and out of sorts. Rivers make me feel more connected to the world, and time, and humanity. Maybe because they are the oldest roadways connecting cities and countries themselves, especially in Laos.

I booked a VangVieng Kayaking tour with the little agency in Vientiane for about $5, to leave at 8am the next morning.

Vang Vieng Laos June 2014 Kayaking

When I got to the agency the next morning, it turns out I was the only one – I had a private guided tour for the super low price of a normal Vang Vieng kayaking group tour!

One of the many upsides of low season, especially in Vang Vieng, is that fewer people go on the tours… but the price stays the same.

From the beginning of the day, the dark gloomy morning and the mist rising through the hills was almost otherworldy.

The river was completely silent, aside from the tiny raindrops that started a pitter patter when we were about halfway through the journey.

Laos in the Low Season - no one around!

Vang Vieng kayaking down the river

I saw buffalo, little boys playing in the river, and men fishing together. I had so much time for quiet reflection, and could truly appreciate the beauty around me, in a way that I would not, had there been a bunch of other kayakers (or for gods sake, TUBERS!)

Vang Vieng Kayaking Laos June 2014

Nearing the end, we stopped the kayak and got out for a tour of some caves.There was a beautiful blue pool, where the clean water flowed out from under the caves.

Vang Vieng Laos River

You can see where the clean water from the cave mixes with the muddy water of the river

Inside the caves, it was completely dark, and completely silent aside from the drip drop of water condensing and falling onto the floor, and a lone Japanese tourist who had forgotten a flashlight joined us.

The Vang Vieng Kayaking guide explained that the cave was going to be turned into a luxury hotel, but the plan was later abandoned. The light was too poor for a photo, but you could see the beginning of a grand staircase carved out of the rock, and pillars here and there.

After the cave, we made our way out and back onto the river. The raindrops stopped and the day cleared up.

The trip ended with a pickup from the VangVieng kayak agency, and they dropped me back off at my hotel. I would totally recommend the trip, and it can be organized through almost any hotel in Vang Vieng. It was simple, easy, cheap, and I learned so much more than if I’d just rented a kayak and gone down the river by myself. Not to mention – much safer with a guide as well.

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Kayaking Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng Kayaking

Have you ever gone on a Vang Vieng kayak trip? Or a kayaking trip anywhere else?

Want to read more on Vang Vieng? Check out these articles here 


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

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