When Vang Vieng in Laos comes to mind, one would normally think of partying. However, this town is so much more with lots to offer and do. About seven kilometres west from Vang Vieng, near the village of Ban Na, is the Blue Lagoon and Tham Phu Kham cave. The road there is quite bumpy and meanders through rice paddies and impressive limestone karsts.
The picturesque Blue Lagoon is a very popular tourist spot because of its ever-changing blue hues. It’s like a slow-flowing river that varies in colour from an impressive turquoise (some might even say teal) to slightly emerald green, depending on the season. It tends to be bluer in the dry season and greener in the rainy season.
A tree hangs over the water. Visitors often spend a few hours jumping from the tree (there are two different heights for that) into the cool waters below or swinging from the ropes attached. Shiny fish swim around in the lagoon, adding to its magical effect. The atmosphere around the Blue Lagoon is generally festive and cheerful with everyone having a good time.
For those who aren’t confident swimmers, there are life jackets for rent. The area also offers opportunities to abseil, play on water slides, and zip line. There’s also a small eatery for meals.
Meanwhile, the Tham Phu Kham cave is a hike and stairway away. The trail takes visitors through a forest and up the limestone cliff via a steep rocky stairway. The cave entrance is located about halfway up the cliff, reached by a steep climb.
Upon arriving, you’ll see that the first large chamber houses a three-metre long bronze reclining Buddha lit by the sun rays streaming in through a hole in the ceiling. The main reclining Buddha is surrounded by a number of other smaller Buddha images.
Several galleries branch off from the main chamber and some of the caves in the system are vast. While vermillion arrows will guide you around the caves for the most part, not all of the system is marked. Visitors are advised to take caution while exploring the caves, to be sure of their footing, and to ensure that they know their way back.
The caves are void of lights, artificial or natural, so it’s advised that tourists bring flashlights along to help them navigate their way through the caves. A good pair of sneakers or hiking sandals are recommended as the rocks in the cave can be slippery.
As with any popular tourist attraction, there are some guides present, but not required. These guides often request a large tip for assisting visitors. There are also scammers in the area who misdirect visitors from the real Blue Lagoon and Tham Phu Kham cave in order to charge them a fake entrance fee.
The real Blue Lagoon and Cave have a large welcome sign and parking lot. There are also many tourists in the area and is locatable by your phone’s GPS.
The Blue Lagoon and Tham Phu Kham cave area offer a mix of adventurous exploring and lazy relaxing all in one place. Work up a sweat exploring the caves and relax and rinse off in the cool, clear waters of the lagoon afterwards. You’ll be assured of a trip to Vang Vieng that you won’t regret.