If you’re looking for an absolutely stunning view point in Vang Vieng, get hiking up to the Pha Ngern mountain (also sometimes known as Silver Cliff). The views are simply out of this world!
The charming riverside town of Vang Vieng – a must-stop on any Laos itinerary, is not just known for the famous Blue Lagoons and caves and its once notorious river tubing, but it’s also home to some incredible limestone cliffs that make for some great hikes!
The Pha Ngern viewpoint is a simply breathtaking vantage point with panoramic views of the surrounding karst mountains and lush greenery, and hiking up here is a must-do when in Vang Vieng!
Here we will take you through everything you need to know about Pha Ngern Viewpoint, as well as some other hikes in Vang Vieng that you can’t miss!
Where Is The Pha Ngern View Point?
The Pha Ngern Viewpoint is located roughly 4 kilometers north of Vang Vieng town center. It’s a super easy and convenient trip to do when in Vang Vieng. Here is the Google maps location.
How to Get To The Pha Ngern Viewpoint
The Pha Ngern viewpoint is located on the other side of the river from Vang Vieng Town.
You can drive across the Nam Song Bridge, but it is a toll bridge so you have to pay to go across. Instead, drive on the narrow wooden bridge (that looks like it’s just for pedestrians) that is nearer to town.
The local people and the people at the scooter hire told us it is ok to drive across here on the motorbike and they do it all the time.
Renting a scooter or motorbike is a popular option for reaching Pha Ngern Viewpoint. There are plenty of scooter rentals in Vang Vieng, it’s cheap and convenient, just a little bumpy and dusty!
I have included some important information below about scooter rental in Vang Vieng that I recommend you to read beforehand so you know what to expect!
Tuk-Tuk or Songthaew
If you’d prefer not to ride a scooter, negotiate a fare with a tuk-tuk or songthaew (shared minivan) for a round-trip journey to Pha Ngern.
What Is The Entrance Fee To The Pha Ngern View Point?
The entrance fee to Pha Ngern Viewpoint is 10,000 Lao Kip (approximately $1 USD). You’ll pay for your ticket at the small hut at the start of the trail.
How Long Is The Hike To The Pha Ngern Viewpoint?
The hike to Pha Ngern Viewpoint takes around 30-45 minutes each way.
What to Expect on the Hike to Pha Ngern Viewpoint
The hike is fairly challenging, with some steep uphill sections – I’m not going to lie – but it’s quite a short hike and the views are incredible! Definitely make sure to wear comfortable shoes for the hike and bring some water though, as you will get out of breath.
There are a few spots along the way where you can rest and take some shade, but be sure to apply sunscreen beforehand, and consider wearing sunglasses and a hat to shield yourself from the sun during the trek.
There are also some railings and ladders that will guide you to the summit.
When you reach the summit, you’ll find designated platforms that offer uninterrupted views of the Nam Song River, as well as expansive rice paddies, and the iconic karst mountains that define Vang Vieng’s skyline. Laos’ natural beauty is just incredible.
Sometimes there’s a person at the top of the viewpoint selling snacks as well!
When To Hike To Pha Ngern Viewpoint
As the Pha Ngern view point is one of the most well-known and most beautiful viewpoints in Vang Vieng, it is a popular spot for sunset. It’s also a popular place in Vang Vieng to go hiking in the early morning, when the sun isn’t too hot.
It’s perfect to visit at any time of the day though – and it’s usually a lot quieter during the day. I visited in the afternoon and there were only a couple of other people at the viewpoint which was great.
Another Great Hike in Vang Vieng
Along with Pha Ngern viewpoint, Nam Xay is a really popular viewpoint in Vang Vieng with such Instagrammable views.
In my opinion, the views from here are even more stunning than the ones from Pha Ngern – plus the hike is easier, so if you have to choose between the two, I would pick Nam Xay!
Also, there’s a motorbike at the top which makes for some epic photos!
The trailhead is accessible by a short boat ride from Vang Vieng, and the views of the Nam Song River and surrounding valleys is just incredible.
Getting around Vang Vieng On A Motorbike/Scooter
The cheapest and easiest way to get around Vang Vieng is by hiring a scooter as many of the sights are a few kilometres apart.
Here are some important things to bear in mind when hiring a scooter in Vang Vieng:
1. There are plenty scooter hire places in town all offering similar prices. You can either rent the scooter from your guest house or from one of the scooter rental places in town.
2. When you hire a scooter you will need to leave your passport with the scooter rental people.
3. It usually costs around 80.000 LAK to rent a scooter for the day (£7) – bargain! Check what time you need to return it by (and don’t forget to collect your passport before you leave)!
4. Ask them for a map of the local area if they have one so you can easily plan out your route!
5. Make sure you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the dust. Honestly this is essential when you are here – there is so much dust on the roads. Even wearing them, my eyes were so red by the end and my hair felt gross and really dry from all the sand in it.
6. The roads around Vang Vieng are VERY uneven. They are actually the worst I have ever experienced. I even briefly hurt my back a couple of times on the back of my friend’s motorbike because the roads were so bumpy and rocky.
7. As with most places in Asia they will often give you the scooter with an almost empty tank. You therefore fill up what you need for the day and return it with the same amount of petrol in that you received.
Of course you always end up putting in more petrol than you need! I think they do this so you will fill up too much and return it with fuel so they can use it, so don’t fill up too much petrol!
8. There are lots of little ‘petrol stations’ along the road. You may not even notice them at first as it is not like a regular petrol station. It is someone sitting on the side of the road with lots of see-through plastic bottles containing petrol lined up.
The person there will fill up your petrol for you using a funnel to pour the petrol into your tank.
Hopefully you enjoy the hike to the Pha Ngern viewpoint as much as I did! It is really one of the best things to do in Vang Vieng!
If you’ll be heading to Luang Prabang afterwards, make sure to do the much shorter hike up Phou Si Mountain – it takes just 10-15 minutes and the views are spectacular!
Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!