Follow Blog via Email

Receive notifications of new posts by email.

ATV Adventures in Vang Vieng, Laos

©The Traveluster

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! There are tons of things to do in Vang Vieng. You can cycle, explore caves, kayak, tube (sans booze), rock climb, hike to waterfalls, visit villages, and drive ATVs.  V.V. is quite literally an outdoor-adventure activity hub. Nestled along a bend in the Nam Xong (Song) River and set against the strikingly dramatic backdrop of limestone karst mountains, the town is very easy on the eyes.

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

I was extremely tempted to spend the majority of a day doing absolutely nothing, other than relaxing with a book or my computer, while soaking in the luscious scenery. Can you blame me? Look at the view from our hotel!

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

However, my friends talked me into renting an ATV buggy for the day (you can rent them from companies like TCK Adventures), which I was hesitant to do, because I was running low on cash. It turned out to be the best thing I could have done with my day, and here is why.

©The Traveluster

©The Traveluster

Vroom Vroom- The (Mostly) All-Inclusive (EXTREMELY FUN) Tour of Vang Vieng

We were only in Vang Vieng for one and a half days. There are about a million different activities you can partake in and abundant beautiful landscapes to explore. When you hire an ATV buggy (mini-car: visualize a go cart but bigger), you are assigned one or two local Laotian guides (in our case, two), who guide you on a whirl-wind tour down dusty dirt roads, through tiny villages, to waterfalls, caves, and blue lagoons. It is like ordering the sampler platter, in the form of an adrenaline-inducing ball of fun.

©The Traveluster

©The Traveluster

Since I was the latecomer and last minute add-on of the group, I was one of the *lucky* two people stuck with a guide in my passenger seat. This really annoyed me …. at first. Then I quickly realized that having the lead guide in my car meant that I would be the lead driver. I discovered how important this was after seeing my compadres in my rearview mirror, dressed like bank robbers, wearing handkerchiefs over their faces in an attempt to keep the dust and dirt out of their facial orifices. Occasionally, I would get stuck behind a truck and became immediately empathetic with those I left behind in my wake of particulate matter.

[wpvideo ynNoj79K]

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

Ha! Check out Marielle’s dust bikini!!

[wpvideo bti95yNb]

Wimpy Waterfalls (I say this in the most loving way)

Our first stop was the Kaeng Nyui waterfall, admittedly not a very impressive site. I quite liked the jungle walk to the cascade. In all fairness, the falls are apparently roaring in the rainy season. It just wasn’t quite the site to behold, as was Tat Kuang Si (or better yet, Victoria Falls).

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

Grain of salt

So, the Kaeng Nyui waterfalls weren’t that impressive. No skin off my back. As we moved to our next destination, we got to do more of this!!!

[wpvideo IoRnA5lV]

Of course, driving a compact, open-air vehicle at max speeds on bumpy dirt and gravel roads, weaving around bikes, babies and buffalo (I made that last one up, although we very well may have passed one on the road), was most of the fun.

©The Traveluster

©The Traveluster

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

And the SCENERY ooohhhhh!! The SCENERY!!!

Seriously. Stop. It was too freaking gorgeous. My backseat driver friendly Laotian guide kept giving me grief about taking photos while driving. He kept urging me to stop…but I was the leader! (I did feel a little pressure to floor the gas as Marielle kept creeping up beside me. Or maybe she was just trying to stay out of my dust cloud?) He didn’t understand why I would want to drive with one hand while snapping or filming with the other. It’s called documentation, my friend! On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were times when I attempted slow caution, and he let me know how he felt by pressing his foot down on mine, flooring the accelerator. I guess he just wanted me to go fast but stop whenever I wanted to take photos (which was pretty much the entire day! So that wouldn’t really work for me….)

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

IMG_8758

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

Captivating Caves

There are quite a few caves in the area worth exploring, including the most famous Tham Chiang (Tham Jang), Tham Pha Puak, and Tham Phu Kham. We drove to Tham Phu Kham (also spelled Tham Poukham. I notice that most things have multiple spellings in Southeast Asia). The cave was pretty massive, continuously opening up into larger and darker caverns. There really isn’t much infrastructure, so it seems almost untouched. If we hadn’t been on a tight schedule, we could have easily spent hours walking deeper and deeper into the dark abyss. Don’t forget your flashlight (torch, for my European friends), or you can rent one for a few bucks at the entrance. (I just borrowed mine and returned it. What? The attendant stepped away!)

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

IMG_8780

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

IMG_8776

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

IMG_8800

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

What goes up, must come down. The climb was incredibly steep and fairly difficult. That said, we saw the very young and very old alike managing the trek.

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

Blue Lagoon

Another bonus when you choose to explore Tham Phu Kham, you get to relax in the amazingly refreshing blue lagoon afterwards. You work up quite a sweat climbing up to the cave and rooting around in the dark, so it’s very nice to take a dip in the icy water. It’s quite chilly, but in the good way that tingles all over and makes your skin feel alive. And of course there’s a rope swing. Isn’t there always a rope swing at these crystalline swimming holes?

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

Back to our hotel

After a day (really a half day) of cruising all around Vang Vieng, we came back to our hotel to take quick showers and move on to our last stop of the two-week G Adventures tour, Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

©The Traveluster www.thetraveluster.com

Thanks for stopping by!
♥ Lindsay

, , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Responses to ATV Adventures in Vang Vieng, Laos

  1. Sara Catella February 10, 2013 at 1:58 PM #

    Wow Lindsay! What an amazing place! I think you now have enough material to start your book 🙂

  2. l-jeezy February 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM #

    ummm… first off, LOVE the new cover pic! then, there’s ATVs, waterfalls, spelunking, and rope swings?! yes. please.

  3. Jenn Martin February 12, 2013 at 2:38 PM #

    I enjoyed reading your blog! Could you recommend somewhere to stay in VV?

    • The Traveluster February 13, 2013 at 4:22 PM #

      Hi Jenn! Thanks so much for the comment, and I am so glad that you enjoy my blog! I enjoy writing it! In Vang Vieng, we stayed at the Thavensouk Guesthouse. I would definitely recommend it, as it is right on the water with stunning views at the restaurant. The staff are friendly, and the restaurant serves great food (excellent curry!!) Some other ones I’ve seen recommended include: Ban Sabai Riverside, Inthira Vang Vieng, The Elephant Crossing, and Villa Vang Vieng Riverside. I can’t personally vouch for these, though. If I were you, I would try to stay along the river. When are you going? How long are you staying?

  4. AhA April 9, 2013 at 2:51 AM #

    Hey Lindsay

    How much u paid for the ATV?

    Cheers

    • The Traveluster April 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM #

      Hey there! The ATV rental cost about 350000 kip or around $45 USD for a half day. At the time, that seemed pricey to me (everything’s pretty cheap in Laos)! Now that I am in the U.S., I feel like it’s a steal!! It’s worth it, whichever way you look at it. It’s a great way to see a lot of Vang Vieng in a small amount of time. Enjoy!!

  5. Audrey November 18, 2013 at 3:59 AM #

    Hi. Do you remember the name of the company that organised this tour for you ? Any email contact maybe ? Thanks for your help and congrats for your blog, nice to read !

  6. Sean June 7, 2015 at 2:03 PM #

    Hi Lindsay,

    Do you by any chance have the phone/email of TCK Adventures. I want to talk to them before I go.

    Thanks,
    Sean

    • Lindsay February 5, 2016 at 11:20 PM #

      Hey Sean! I am SO sorry I am just now responding to your comment. I took some time away from my blog and am catching up with comments. I assume that you’ve already gone on your trip by now? Were you able to contact TCK Adventures? We made our arrangements locally, by physically going to the office, the day before. Please let me know how your experience was!

Leave a Reply

Follow Blog via Email

Receive notifications of new posts by email.