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The lively town of Vang Vieng

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1/ Vang Vieng is a small town located in Laos Vientiane province, between Luang Prabang and Vientiane, on the banks of the Nam Song (tributary of the Nam Lik itself sub- tributary of the Mekong). It has about 25,000 inhabitants. It is considered the capital of the natural beauty of Laos. The city, which attracts many tourists, has little interest by itself (no ancient monuments). The natural environment consists of karst mountains pierced natural caves and proximity to the capital makes this city an important part of tourism development programs in the country. According to the Lao Ministry of Tourism, Vang Vieng has 1,850 rooms for tourists (February 2010)

2/ History

Vang Vieng was created in 1353 as a step between Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Originally named Mouang Song Vang Vieng it was renamed in the 1890s, when the establishment of the French protectorate of Laos. She underwent a significant expansion from 1964 to 1973 during the Vietnam War, when the Americans built an air base for Air America. This airfield was known as Lima Site 6. More recently, the city has experienced significant growth due to the influx of backpackers attracted by the possibilities of adventure tourism in the karst landscape.

3/ How to get to Vang Vieng?

Vang Vieng is located on Highway 13 Vientiane-Luang Prabang, roughly halfway between the two cities. However, it is more accessible from Vientiane as the northern region is mountainous, especially from Kasi. The airstrip dating from the Vietnam War, between downtown and Highway 13, serves as entertainment and is not intended to be called on.

4/ Activities

The city was to some extent "sacrificed" backpackers: Many activities are a little young wealthy clientele, sometimes: tubing on the Nam Song, trekking, climbing, exploring caves, canoe rides, ballooning, etc.. Development, dramatically since the early 1990s, is mostly on the eastern bank of the Nam Song, opposite the villages, rice fields and karst peaks of the West Bank. A golf course is being built on it, which may mark a shift towards a more customer "high -end".

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