The Blue Lagoon is a must for any travellers visiting Vang Vieng in my opinion … if only to escape the searing heat for a couple of hours. Located around a 25 minute tuk tuk ride or 45 minute bicycle ride from town, the lagoon pretty much does what it says on the tin. Its a Lagoon with very blue water – hence its name. Clever eh!?
I wrote a wee bit about the Blue Lagoon in my previous post on Vang Vieng – Tubing in Vang Vieng. Whats the story in 2013? – but lets go into a little more detail shall we!?
Right, so basically you visit the lagoon to marvel at its beauty and relax, its not a complex or complicated place. You can lounge on the grass, swim in the cool water, jump from one of the trees into the lagoon if you’re in need of a wake up call from last nights antics. If you’re feeling a tad more energetic there is a volleyball court, but then again there are a few beds if you’re still half dead as a result of the previous nights jungle party. All bases covered.
Personally I really enjoyed my afternoon spent at the lagoon with my other half and a couple of new friends picked up along the way. We found the lagoon clean and relaxing. We weren’t hassled for anything and it was also a great place to hang out and meet other like minded travellers.
Entry to the water is either via one of a couple of wooden ladders, or from a grat height courtesy of a large tree overhanging the lagoon. Whilst the ladders would appear safer, its probably best to just jump out of the tree and just deal with the instant temperature change – like you have a choice once you’ve jumped. If you take the ladder you’re somewhat more likely to wimp out due to the chilliness of the water. Whilst the water is cold though, you get used to it and its actually very refreshing.
If you’re not a confident swimmer you should note that the water can also get quite deep in places and life vests are not an option so, I would avoid having too many beers and stay near either the swings or one of the ladders. The areas around the ladders are shallower but also a little rocky. If you feel the urge to run and jump into the water from one of the grass banks I would spot your landing area first, save yourself a nasty injury.
Such is the popularity of the true Blue Lagoon, imitations have now started to spring up in the area with the hope of cashing in on action. Simply throwing up a makeshift sign with ‘Blue Lagoon this way’ seems enough to throw many people off the right path and to a snide equivalent of the Blue Lagoon. Visitors to these imiations lagoons are also likely to be charged a premium from a priveldge.
As we took a tuk tuk we didn’t get lost, but once at the lagoon we met a group of girls you had been suckered into a fake lagoon scam. If we had biked however I knew which way to go as I had already read this excellent blog post on searching for the Blue Lagoon. Give it a read if you’re intending to visit by bike yourself and maybe check out this excellent hobomap of the Vang Vieng area or this somewhat simpler version created by Fluid, one of the bars in the area – Simple map of Vang Vieng. With both maps look for the hospital in town and then look due west until you see the words Phu Kham Cave. Easy!
Food and Drink
Whilst there is nothig to stop you taking your own juice and nibbles to the lagoon, there is a couple of small stalls/shacks on site where you can grab a soft drink, beer or if the mood stikes you, a fresh coconut. Yum!
There is also a toilet on site, but I believe it will set you back 1000 KIP or so.
Phu Kham Cave
Purchasing your ticket to the Blue Lagoon also buys you entrance to a nearby cave which is commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Cave’. This is due in no small part to a rather sizeable golden reclining buddha located within. The more traditional name of the cave if you havent already guessed is the Phu Kham Cave.
I read that the entrance to the cave was a modest 100m climb up a few stairs. Personally I found this to be a bit of an understatement. A climb of 100m might have been right, but the makeshift stairs were rather large and rather slippery. Shoes with some grip would be advisable.
Before climbing the stairs you have the option of hiring a torch. Depending upon how far you go into the cave a torch wouldn’t be the worst idea. But if you just want to take a peak inside the mouth of the save and at the reclining buddha you probably wont need one. Like on the stairs, watch your step in the cave. Its very slippery and uneven underfoot, especially in flip flops.
- Tuk Tuk from town – 30-50,000 per person for a return journey (depends on the number of people in your tuk tuk)
- Bike Hire – 30-50,000 for a days hire. Hire doesnt seem to come with a bike lock though, so be careful about where you leave your bike. Just a suggestion.
- Toll bridge – 4,000 KIP per person, or 6000 KIP if you’re on a bike. If on bike you an avoid the toll fee by using the bamboo bridge further up stream. It’ll probably only add 5 mins to your cycle time.
- Entrance to the lagoon – 10,000 KIP per person
- Entrance to the cave – Upon our visit there did not appear to be a charge. Reading online however it seems other people have been charges 10,000 KIP per person.
- Torch hire for the cave – 10,000 KIP per torch
Dont get me wrong, the locals dont hang out at the Blue Lagoon, they’ve no doubt found themselves quieter, more tucked away lagoons to hang out at a long time ago. This is a tourists spot, crafted in their mould. Its there for lazy days, having a laugh and a beer or two with your travelling buddies. Its not off the beaten track, not new, not original … but what it is, is a nice relaxing way to spend a day, with great scenes on both your journies to and from town to the lagoon through the countryside. I dont think you should feel guilty for spending a few hours enjoying the water and the cave. If anything a visit to the Lagoon might spur you on the find other amazing locations outside of Vang Vieng’s town centre and away from the endless re-runs of friends.