Vang Vieng is known world-wide for it’s picturesque turquoise coloured Blue Lagoon pool, which is widely regarded as an Asia Bucketlist destination and one of the best things to see in Laos. However there isn’t just one Blue Lagoon in Laos, there are actually two more Blue Lagoons that are a bit more secret – Blue Lagoon 2 and 3!
Here in this article you’ll find all you need to know about visiting Blue Lagoon 1, 2 and 3, as well as how to get to each of them and which Blue Lagoon is the best!
Where To Stay In Vang Vieng
Before we talk about the Blue Lagoon, it’s important to get your accommodation in Vang Vieng booked.
There are some lovely boutique hotels in Vang Vieng to stay that are very reasonable – my favourites being Silver Naga Hotel and Inthira Vang Vieng as they both have the most Instagrammable pool overlooking the mountains and the Nam Song river!
Both hotels are located very close to each other in a convenient spot in town and have really nice rooms and pleasant staff. Click here to book a stay at Inthira Vang Vieng.
Vang Vieng Blue Lagoon
There are actually 3 Blue Lagoons in the Vang Vieng area – the closest (and busiest) to Vang Vieng town being Blue Lagoon 1 and the furthest away (and quietest) being Blue Lagoon 3.
The lagoons are lovely places to visit, have a swim in, relax and have fun! It is definitely worth half a day (or more!) exploring the 3 Blue Lagoons Vang Vieng has to offer.
There is a small entrance fee of 10,000 kip to visit each Blue Lagoon (just over $1).
How To Get To The Blue Lagoon In Vang Vieng
All of the Blue Lagoons are located the other side of the Nam Song river to Vang Vieng Town.
Check out the Google map here to see the location of each Blue Lagoon.
Blue Lagoon 1 is 7 km from town (around 20 minutes from town on scooter).
Blue Lagoon 2 is 10 km from town (around 30 minutes from town on scooter).
Blue Lagoon 3 is 18 km from town (around 45 minutes from town on scooter).
Whilst these distances sound small, it takes a long time to reach the lagoons due to the bumpy unsealed roads so make sure you allocated plenty of time!
Also bear in mind that they are all in completely different directions and so it can take a while to get from one lagoon to the other.
Transport To The Blue Lagoon
Hire A Scooter
The cheapest and easiest way to get to any of the Blue Lagoons in Vang Vieng is by hiring a scooter and driving it yourself.
There isn’t any public transport between the lagoons and they are all a few kilometres apart from each other. It is very much recommended not to take a bicycle as the distances are too far.
Here are some important things to bear in mind when hiring a motorbike in Vang Vieng:
- When you hire a scooter you will need to leave your passport with the scooter rental people.
- 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.
- It usually costs around 80.000 LAK to rent a scooter for the day ($10) – bargain! Check what time you need to return it by (and don’t forget to collect your passport before you leave)!
- Ask them for a map of the local area if they have one so you can easily plan out your route!
- 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!
- The roads around Vang Vieng are VERY uneven. They are actually the worst I have ever experienced. I was riding on the back whilst my friend was driving and I briefly hurt my back a couple of times on the motorbike because the roads were so bumpy and rocky.
- 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.
- There are lots of little ‘petrol stations’ along the road. The person there will fill up your petrol for you using a funnel to pour the petrol into your tank.
You can drive across the Nam Song Bridge, but it is a toll bridge so you have to pay 10,000 kip 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.
If you don’t want to drive a scooter yourself you can pay a tuk-tuk driver to take you around to the Blue Lagoons for the day. Make sure to agree a price beforehand – around 250,000 kip ($30) is a good price for5 or 6 hours. This includes waiting time for the driver.
It will cost you roughly 3 times more to hire a tuk-tuk and a driver than it will cost you to hire your own scooter, but it’s a great option if you are unable to drive or not confident driving a scooter. Plus it means you won’t get lost as the drivers know the way to the lagoons!
You will also need to pay the 10,000kip for the toll bridge (Nam Song Bridge) in addition.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to visit on scooter, you can go on one of these unique tours below:
Blue Lagoon 1 – Vang Vieng
Blue Lagoon 1 is the most well known of all the Blue Lagoons in Vang Vieng.
It is also the most convenient of all the Blue Lagoons to get to as it is the closest to Vang Vieng town.
This therefore means that it is the busiest of all the lagoons, with so many tourists here – both in the water and sitting on the side. It’s very crowded so you absolutely definitely don’t get the feeling of being in an isolated place, and for that reason many people (myself included) say this is their least favourite lagoon out of the three.
As Blue Lagoon 1 is the most famous and convenient of all the 3 Blue Lagoons to visit, many people just visit this one. However don’t make this mistake! Just because it is the most well-known certainly does not mean it is the most beautiful!
For this reason I actually advise to save Blue Lagoon 1 for last so that you can just skip it if you’re running out of time as it’s the least impressive in my opinion.
Also, at Blue Lagoon 1 the water isn’t always as picturesque blue as you would imagine, especially if it has rained lately as the water can turn a murky brown. You also might find a few fish in this lagoon!
There is also a cave here and a long zipline if you’re feeling brave!
Blue Lagoon 2 – Vang Vieng
About 7km southwest of Blue Lagoon 1 lies Blue Lagoon 2.
What’s really nice about Blue Lagoon 2 is that there are several pools here you can swim in, and so even if it is busy it doesn’t feel as crowded as Blue Lagoon 1 as there is more space to spread out.
There are some platforms, swings and ziplines here at Blue Lagoon 2, as well as some deck chairs.
By the time we got to Blue Lagoon 2 late morning it was really crowded (actually with more locals than tourists!). We spent an hour or so there as well, and even though it was really busy there was a really nice laid-back atmosphere.
One thing that is particularly nice about Blue Lagoon 2 compared to the other two lagoons, is that is felt a lot more open and less enclosed by the mountains. This also meant that it was the sunniest lagoon which was nice, as you can spend some time relaxing in the sun.
Blue Lagoon 3 – Vang Vieng
Blue Lagoon 3 is the furthest away of the 3 Blue Lagoons.
It is located 18 km from Vang Vieng town but takes about 45 minutes to reach on motorbike due to the very bumpy dusty unsealed roads.
The time it takes to get there is definitely worth it though! As Blue Lagoon 3 is the further away, it also means it is the lagoon with less people. So if you don’t want to be surrounded by people, or want to get some great photographs without other people in, I definitely recommend to come here!
Infact most tourists only know about the first and second Blue Lagoon, so Blue Lagoon 3 remains the most undiscovered, and I’m always a fan of those kinds of places!
If you only have time to visit one Blue Lagoon when you are in Vang Vieng, I highly suggest this is the one you visit!
I actually recommend to start your day at Blue Lagoon 3, then work your way back to Blue Lagoon 2 then Blue Lagoon 1. Arriving here first thing will mean you’ll be able to enjoy the place to yourself. We had it to ourselves the whole time we were there and it was incredible! It certainly wouldn’t have felt as special if there were lots of other people there.
By the time we left at around 11am, a few other people were starting to arrive, which is why it’s important to start your day early if you want to avoid the crowds!
It’s also advised to visit Blue Lagoon 3 in the morning as opposed to the afternoon as the mountain covers the sun in the afternoon, so you’ll be in the shade if you visit in the afternoon so it won’t be as warm.
The water here at Blue Lagoon 3 is so clear and you can see down to the bottom of the lagoon with all the plants growing underwater.
Blue Lagoon 3 was actually my favourite of all the Blue Lagoons – not only because it was quiet but because the views of the mountains were incredible – and it was really fun!
There are bamboo rafts you can sit or stand on and row across the lagoon which is really relaxing. You can also climb up onto a swing or zipline and then use this to jump into the water!
From the platform the swing is on you can get some lovely pictures of the lagoon rafts, huts and mountains in the background. No drone was required for those pictures!
There are also toilets here at Blue Lagoon 3, as well as a small shop selling sandwiches and drinks, so you can easily spend a couple of hours here!
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Blue Lagoon In Vang Vieng?
One thing I highly advise when going to visit the Blue Lagoons is to start your day EARLY before other tourists get here as the lagoons get very busy!
The drier months from October to March are considered the best time to go to swim in the Blue Lagoons in Vang Vieng as this is generally when they will be a nice colour blue.
As mentioned above, when there is a lot of rain it causes the Blue Lagoons to become a murky brown colour. This usually happens during the summer months of June to August when there are big monsoons and downpours.
What To Bring To The Blue Lagoon In Vang Vieng
Remember to pack: swimsuit, towel, suncream, sunhat, sunglasses, camera, bottle of water, a change of clothes, tissues as often the toilets have run out of toilet paper, money for Blue Lagoon entrance, toll bridge and snacks.
Besides the Blue Lagoons that Vang Vieng is famous for, there are many other great things to do here.
The small laid-back town of Vang Vieng is a great place to spend a couple of days as there are so many activities to keep you occupied, and the landscape is stunning with limestone karst mountains in every direction.
What Else To Do In Vang Vieng Apart From The Blue Lagoon
Relax and explore the small town of Vang Vieng on foot. There are lots of really cheap restaurants here and the views are stunning.
If you hired a scooter to visit the Blue Lagoons, you can also use it to visit the nearby mountains and caves!
Phangern and Nam Xay Viewpoints
When in Vang Vieng make sure to climb at least one mountain during your time here as the views are out of this world!
The two most popular and incredibly picturesque viewpoints are from Phangern Mountain and Nam Xay.
They are located close to each other, both about 4km from Vang Vieng town and close to the Blue Lagoon.
Nam Xay is a little easier to climb than Phangern, and has slightly better views in my opinion, so if you have to choose between the two I would pick Nam Xay!
There are also many caves you can explore around the town, including Changi cave, Elephant cave and Chinnaly cave.
HOW TO GET TO VANG VIENG
Most people when they visit Laos tend to visit Vang Vieng as well as Luang Prabang and Vientiane.
You can take a minivan or large bus (VIP bus) to Vang Vieng from either Vientiane (4 hour journey) or Luang Prabang (5/6 hour journey). Buses depart every day.
The VIP bus is the best option as it is the most comfy, and often the minibuses are always full.
We took the minibus and behind me were a load of noisy chickens, so I would definitely advise the VIP bus if you would like a quieter and less eventful ride!
It is always advisable to reserve your seat beforehand so you can get the most convenient time bus to suit you. You can ask your guesthouse to book your ticket when you arrive, or book at a travel agent (prices are all very similar wherever you look).
Alternatively you can also book tickets online on Klook or Bookaway.
How To Get From Vientiane to Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng is 160 kilometres north of Vientiane. Conveniently it is situated roughly half way between Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
It costs around 60,000 kip (£5.20) to get to Vang Vieng from Vientiane by bus or minibus, and they depart at all times throughout the day.
There are three bus stations in Vientiane but the buses for Vang Vieng depart from the Northern Bus Station.
The Northern Bus Station is about 10 km outside of town, so usually the price of your ticket will include the transfer to get to the bus station, but check beforehand!
It takes about 4 hours on the bus to get to Vang Vieng from Vientiane, often with a halfway toilet stop. The road is very bumpy and winding as you are going along mountain roads for a large part of the ride, so be prepared it certainly won’t be the smoothest ride of your life!
Before you get to Vang Vieng, check where the bus will drop you off. The main Vang Vieng bus station is 2km from town (in which case you’ll need to get a tuk-tuk to your hotel), but often the bus will drop you off in the centre of town or at the abandoned airstrip a few hundred metres from the hotels.
How To Get From Vang Vieng To Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is about 185 km north of Vang Vieng. Again, travel by bus or minivan is the best way.
The journey does take slightly longer than the journey from Vientiane to Vang Vieng though (about 5/6 hours).
We booked our transport for Luang Prabang from Vang Vieng, presuming we would be travelling in a minibus again.
This time however, a large tuk tuk showed up (one that fits about 10 people) – like the jeepeneys in Manila (see below picture)!
We travelled with local people all the way – many getting on and off. Even though we couldn’t communicate well with the locals, it was fun and really amazing to share this everyday experience with them. Even if it was very bumpy!
Things To Know Before You Visit Laos
The currency in Laos is Kip. 1USD is roughly 8500 Laotian Kip. There are plenty of ATMS and Exchange Houses in Vang Vieng, as well as in Luang Prabang and Vientiane.
A visa is needed for most passport holders to enter Laos. You can apply for a Visa On Arrival at Luang Prabang or Vientiane Airports.
If applying for a Visa On Arrival, be sure to bring a passport photo with you, as well as US dollars for the visa fee. Sometimes they accept Thai baht if you don’t have US dollars.
The Laos Tourist Visa is valid for 30 days and costs between $30-$40 USD depending on your nationality.
Laos SIM Card
It is advisable to buy a local Laos SIM card when you arrive at the airport in Laos. They are surprisingly cheap and internet connectivity is quite good!
It’s always a very good idea to download offline maps on your phone when travelling somewhere.
Especially if you’ll be travelling around Vang Vieng on a scooter, you should download an offline map of Vang Vieng and the surrounding area to include Blue Lagoon 3 so you can use it if you need to check your way and have no signal or run out of credit.
I always tend to find maps.me is really good.
Vang Vieng then vs Vang Vieng now:
Vang Vieng was once known for alcohol and drug fuelled tourists floating down the Nam Song River on inflatable rubber rings (known as tubing) all day for hours on end, stopping at bars that lined the river and buying drugs and alcohol (yes drugs were even written on the menu).
After many, many deaths of tourists (there were 50 deaths alone in 2011) in the river – getting drunk, falling in and getting caught up in the current, or simply just floating down the river way after dark and never coming back, the police decided to clean up the place overnight and tore down all the bars and laid down strict rules.
It was a brave move but it definitely paid off.
Nowadays, the atmosphere is a lot calmer and quiet, and Vang Vieng rightly so now focuses on promoting the natural beauty of the area: it is full of absolutely stunning scenery!
There is lots to do to fill up your days, including swimming in the blue lagoons, hiking the mountains, hiring a scooter and driving past the beautiful rice fields, or exploring the many caves. I for one am so glad the reputation of this town has changed for the good.
Hopefully this guide will help you plan your trip to Vang Vieng and the Blue Lagoon. Which Blue Lagoon do you like the sound of? Let me know in the comments!
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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!