Head to the lagoons to stay cool when in Vangvieng
I recently made an enjoyable trip to scenic Vangvieng district in Vientiane province, one of Laos' most popular tourist destinations.
The area has plenty to offer visitors, but in this article I want to focus on two places in particular, both featuring enticing swimming spots where people can cool off in the heat of the day.
Tourists enjoy jumping into the water at the Blue Lagoon. --Photos Visith
They are very attractive locations and among the best of all the natural attractions to be found in this beautiful part of the country. They are also very relaxing and great fun.
There are several sections of the river that offer swimming opportunities a short way outside the town of Vangvieng, but the Blue Lagoon and Blue Lagoon 3 are the most popular. So let's explore them.
The Blue Lagoon is located about 30 minutes from the town and is a small deep pool. The water is turquoise blue, clean, refreshingly cold and home to a schools of fish that won't bother you but will disappear after greeting you.
The lagoon can get very deep at certain points and there are several places where you can climb a tree and jump into the water. A stout rope is tied to a tree branch from which you can swing over the water and then jump in.
This area offers adventure for those who want to do some water jumps, rope swings and zip-lining cheaply and safely.
The Blue Lagoon is also a great spot to chill in large inner tubes. There are ladders at the big tree and people like to gather to watch as friends goad each other into jumping into the water from the branches.
Vendors there rent out life jackets and inner tubes and there are also some wooden huts with tin roofs by the water where you can enjoy some food and drink.
The Blue Lagoon is usually full of action as there is also a large cave nearby as well as a series of zip-lines.
The cave is named Tham Poukham , which means cave of the golden crab.
It is at the top of a rock face right above the lagoon and it takes about 10-15 minutes to climb the steep path to the cave. At the bottom of the steps you can rent a head flashlight if you plan on going deep into the cave.
The Blue Lagoon and Poukham Cave are popular with foreign visitors and locals alike, so don't expect to be there on your own.
Various small restaurants in the area serve food and drinks and after you've had your fill you can move on to Blue Lagoon 3, about another 30 minutes away.
To get there, retrace your steps a little before taking a slightly different turn and making a journey on a bumpy dirt road, which is also lined with caves. The lagoon is also known as the Nature Park Patong Cave & Bubbling Springs.
The bucolic ride there takes you through the Vangvieng countryside, filled with small villages and rice paddies.
Once you arrive, you can again jump into the refreshingly cold water, take a trip on a bamboo raft, rush along on a zip-line, visit Phaboun Cave, and of course refuel with some more food and drink.
The stunning landscape is dominated by karst rock formations and rice fields, which make riding around this area the perfect day out.
Both pools can get pretty crowded, especially in the hot season, because they provide a cooling off point which is especially welcome after a hot sweaty bike ride on bone jarring dirt road or after a climb up to the caves.
A trip to both lagoons can be done in a half day trip from the town, and is indeed a memorable outing. Make sure you have it near the top of your itinerary!
It is easy to access them but first you need to cross the Xong River by hiring a boat or getting across the bridge, for which there will be a small charge.
It's possible to get there by renting a bicycle or a motorbike for the day. If you are in group it makes sense to hire a tuk-tuk.
It is possible to walk to the Blue Lagoon but I wouldn't advise it unless you fancy a two hour hike. Cycling is a good alternative but you can also hire buggies which are great fun to ride and will get you there a bit sooner. But however you get there, you won't be disappointed.
By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update Febuary 17, 2017)