Van Vieng has gone from a tour spot to an eco-adventure area. This party capital turned fantastic eco-adventure paradise is Van Vieng, a small town in the middle of nowhere in Laos.
A history of change
Van Vieng is located halfway between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Van Vieng used to be a "forsaken" town until Westerners discovered it in the late 1990s. From being a quiet agricultural community, it turned into a party capital. Drugs, alcohol, trash, and concrete constructions proved to be devastating to the community.
In 2012, the government shuttered all problematic bars and activities to reposition the place as an eco-adventure area. With this new narrative, Van Vieng has awakened fresh from all the excesses of the past.
The town is now a place that offers tourists a wide array of options for adventure. It has positioned itself as the hub of adventure travel.
The Offer for adventure
Inthy Deuansavan, president of Vientiane-based travel agency Green Discovery, told CNN Travel, "If the authorities manage the activities, keep the river clean and limit the noise, the destination will have a bright future and enjoy the benefits of tourism for a long time to come."
Stefan Scheerer, Khiri Travel's GM for Laos, believes that the area around the town has a great potential. "The scenery is amazing, with hundreds of caves, small villages and blue lagoons, many still to be discovered," he says.
The adventure in Van Vieng includes tubing or calmly drifting on the Song river, kayaking, and paddling amidst mist-shrouded hills. Many companies offer mountain adventures that include hiking, climbing, and zip-lining. Those looking for more mesmerizing and untethered views can climb into a hot air balloon and enjoy the views of the beautiful countryside.