Pay it Forward Vang Vieng, Laos
Hot air balloons, dune buggies, tubing, lazy rivers, and some of the best street vendor sandwiches on the face of the planet. If I had to break down and list top highlights of Vang Vieng, Laos, I'd most likely start with these things. While these aren't the only things that make this destination special, it certainly gets the travel juices flowing when considering where to go for an amazing spring break, or a relaxing vacation mixed with a little adventure on the side.
Laos gives you the opportunity to do both in the same location. Having visited there twice, once on our own accord as CP Travels, and this time with another fellow CP Traveler, I've had the chance to experience Laos from a living and adventure perspective, in different ways. If you're looking for a mid to high level affordable resort style living, Laos has that for you. You can stay alongside a river with a view of the mountains and on occasion catch hot air balloons floating around and between them at times throughout the day. All inclusive resorts with great food, exclusivity, the works is all available for a very good price.
If you're looking for something on the opposite end of that spectrum, meaning you need a place to shower, a bed to lay your head, and a door, that's available to you as well. The surrounding area in Vang Vieng has everything you need to have the time of your life no matter what your style. With the ample activities, astonishing views, and cultural exploration available, you won't want to be spending too much time in your room any how.
Cave exploring, blue lagoons, zip lining, go karts, are a few more activities you can dive into and fill a day with during your time there. And if that doesn't get you out of your room, the food certainly will. Fresh fruit drinks on every corner, some of the most delicious sandwiches I've ever had readily available, and a good mix of foreign and local restaurants to choose from just walking distance away from all accommodations available in the area. While the food is tasty, what makes Vang Vieng an even more attractive destination to get your grub on is the cost of the meals. Fruit drinks are less than a dollar. A full meal costs between $2-3. If you want to get fancy you can spend $10 for a four course meal. It's an ultimate vacation destination that certainly won't disappoint any persons appetite.
Although at times, Vang Vieng can be a it touristy, the people that you encounter during cultural explorations are kind, welcoming, and quick to let you know of cultural dos and don'ts and unknown facts about Vang Vieng in general and Laos as a whole. There's a lot of value in understanding what makes a location special other than what it offers in terms of rest, relaxation, action, and adventure. Vang Vieng provides opportunities for interaction with the community. We played soccer in the park with the students after school. We listened to stories of the old days while in a barbershop waiting for hair cuts. We played cards without saying any words on the sidewalk with local residents while waiting for our food to finish. Simple interactions that certainly strengthened my appreciation for Laos, the place, the people, and the culture.
Vang Vieng, Laos is an undiscovered gem of a vacation destination in South East Asia. As I mentioned in my article on trust fund choices, Laos is a must see destination for novice and expert travelers.