|GPS:||18.949, 102.448 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||Ryan Kelly on Jan 13, 2010 with 5 Suggestions|
Four hours mini bus trip, north of the border capital Vientiane. Vang Vieng has a huge tourist population but the local activity doesnt so much involve negotiating rapids as it does in getting drunk. The antics are drawing backpackers from all over Asia and it has done wonders for the economy of the small town. With that comes an abundance of cheap guesthouses, eats, bars, and tuk-tuks.
There are three main climbing areas in Vang Vieng, the closest being a quick hike to the mountains on the other side of the river, and the farthest a (worthwhile) 20 minute moto-ride a few towns down. The potential for new development is limitless.
Adams Climbing School offers good climbing courses and also rents equipment. The shop also sells chalk, climbing shoes, ropes and quick draws.
There are a ton of low budget options in town, but some over-priced ones too. Youll probably be harassed by touts on motos as soon as you hit the streets with a backpack. As a rule of thumb I always check out three (3) places before committing. Best travel tip I can offer. I was there in the wet season and could find plenty of places for 50,000 kip ($6) without AC (which I recommend if there to climb), this will probably go up in peak season. I was also able to score a brand new bungalow right on the river for 70,000; worth every kip.
Dangers and Annoyances
Drugs are easy to come by in VV, but dont mistake that for tolerance. I dont believe its in the scope of this website to discuss such issues, however the police help maintain this scam so I feel its worth pointing out. Not that climbers ever use illicit substances. The law in Laos has a habit of looking the other way to illegal activities that earn income for locals, and that includes trafficking. However, they seem to materialize out of the smoke when a group of westerners light up a joint. Its a $700 on the spot fine, or go to jail for 3 months. So if you happen to find yourself in this situation demand to see a badge and insist on going to the station to pay your fine. And that goes for the Happy Shakes and Happy Pizzas, those arent the same mushrooms that you get at Pizza Hut.
There are many ATM sites in town.
The government clamped down on the drugs and partying in 2013. However, beer and other hard alcohol is still readily available. It is still a beautiful place with great climbing, but it is no longer party central.
Classic Climbing Routes at Vang Vieng
Days w Precip