Vang Vieng is a small town in northern Laos, situated on the banks of the Nam Song River and nestled amongst towering limestone mountains covered in dense jungle. The town caters primarily to the backpacker clientele: pizza and banana pancakes feature on most menus; restaurants advertise evening showings of cult classics or "Friends" reruns on DVD; book exchanges, Internet cafes and adventure companies line the streets; and bamboo bars with hammocks and floor cushions line the river.
The beautiful scenery and relaxing atmosphere aside, outdoor pursuits are the main draw for visitors. The nearby limestone mountains are a rock climbing and spelunking paradise, and secluded green-blue lagoons overhung with vines provide a refreshing break from exploring. Tubing or kayaking down the meandering Nam Song River is an experience not to be missed, and for those more comfortable on wheels, scooters and bicycles are a great way to see the stunning countryside and outlying villages. With individual bungalows offering pristine mountain and river views - plus a porch with a hammock - for only $5 a night, it's no wonder visitors kick off their sandals and stay a while longer in this little slice of paradise.