Now that Vang Vieng is attracting a different sort of traveller (the kind that aren’t interested in tubing), kayaking has exploded in popularity and trips down the river, ranging from an hour to a full day, are offered by several tour companies in town. Whatever vessel you choose, a trip on the river is a must while in Vang Vieng.
A popular full day trip usually includes the Water Cave 14 kilometres north of town, lunch and a paddle down. It’s a great day out that combines a few of Vang Vieng’s highlights without having to charter a tuk tuk yourself, but know that it will be you and dozens of others bumping tubes in the Water Cave, with screams of delight bouncing off the walls. A cool off-the-beaten track experience this is not.
Long motorised boats can easily be hired by the hour for a scenic ride up the river. Most boats can be found at the take-out near Villa Nam Song. It’s a good, considerably safer alternative to tubing or kayaking.