The Best Backpacker Hostels to Book in Vang Vieng, Laos

The mountain town of Vang Vieng, Laos, is an active traveller destination par excellence
The mountain town of Vang Vieng, Laos, is an active traveller destination par excellence | © Kwanchai Khammuean / Alamy Stock Photo
Anna Kaminski

Writer

Against a backdrop of jungle-clad karst and vivid-green rice paddies, the mountain town of Vang Vieng, in Laos, has shaken off its past reputation for unbridled backpacker excess. Yet, it remains an active traveller destination par excellence – from exploring limestone caves and tubing on the slow-flowing Nam Song River to rappelling down waterfalls, swimming in the Blue Lagoon and rock climbing, outdoor adventures abound. Good budget accommodation is just as plentiful – book the best hostels here via Culture Trip.

1. Vangvieng Rock Backpacker Hostel

Hostel

08c26ce7 Vang Vieng Rock Backpacker Hostel
Courtesy of Vangvieng Rock Backpacker Hostel / Expedia

Just metres away from popular restaurants and bars, this three-storey hostel is at the north end of town, right on the busy main street. The comfort of its guests is paramount at this crimson-walled, stylish place: there are personal reading lights and power sockets, plus a women-only dorm and a 24-hour desk ready to book your next outdoor adventure. The guest lounge with pool table and table football adds to the sociable vibe without it being a crush-a-beer-can-against-your-forehead party hostel.

2. Army Barracks Guesthouse

Budget Hotel, Hostel, Hotel

f9eb1ae5 Army Barracks Guesthouse
Courtesy of Army Barracks Guesthouse / Expedia

Despite the name, the atmosphere at this abode is anything but regimental – see the mural-bedecked common areas, where guests gather to strum guitars, hold impromptu singalongs or trade travel tips. Bicycles dangle from the ceiling in the breezy restaurant area, where guests queue up for the complimentary buffet breakfast. Here, the former-restaurateur-turned-hostel-owner dishes up an Italian-Vietnamese melange during the day and free vodka shakes come happy hour. Private rooms vary. Some are windowless, while those looking out over green spaces get snapped up very quickly; book ahead.

3. Real Vang Vieng Backpacker Hostel

Hostel, Hotel

a2d40778 Real Vang Vieng Backpacker Hostel
Courtesy of Real Vang Vieng Backpacker Hostel / Expedia
This chilled-out, family-run hostel is in the heart of Vang Vieng, yet removed from street noise due to its position on a side street. Simple furnishings belie the care and attention of staff, who go out of their way to be helpful, from keeping luggage secure after checkout to providing excellent recommendations for outdoor-adventure outfitters. The street-facing pool is a boon, as is the free breakfast and inexpensive restaurant, serving a mix of Western dishes to the homesick and local specialities to the more adventurous.

4. Far Away Suites

Hotel

363e8779 Far Away Suites
Courtesy of Far Away Suites / Expedia

Its name notwithstanding, this four-storey hotel at the north end of town is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the main shopping street and bars and restaurants in the centre, and it’s particularly convenient for Vang Vieng bus station. The monochrome rooms, arranged around a large outdoor pool with whirlpool tub, range from doubles to more spacious affairs aimed at families of four. A multi-bed dorm (with lockers and privacy curtains) accommodates backpackers, who get access to all hotel facilities.

5. Eden De Van Vieng Hotel

Budget Hotel

ab465ea8 Eden De Van Vieng Hotel
Courtesy of Eden De Van Vieng Hotel / Expedia

A block from the river, this wallet-friendly Art-Deco hotel comprises a selection of voguish, spacious rooms, largely shielded from street noise in spite of its location on the bustling main street. Appealing touches include Lao textiles on beds, walk-in rain showers, parquet floors and a large outdoor pool. The staff are welcoming and very responsive, and proximity to a clutch of restaurants is a bonus. Top tip: ask about the rooms with mountain views from their balconies; they are well worth the extra splurge.

6. Saksiri Riverside Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel

3e8aeedd Saksiri Riverside Boutique Hotel
Courtesy of Saksiri Riverside Boutique Hotel / Expedia

If the motorcycle fumes of central Vang Vieng and the late-night karaoke serenades in the bars do not appeal, this boutique hotel overlooking a citrus-green pool is an excellent alternative. Run by siblings, it exudes a minimalist aesthetic: tiled rooms look out either over the countryside or the inner courtyard. The placement of the property, across the river from town, means a few minutes’ extra walk when you’re in search of somewhere for dinner, but the tranquil setting makes it worthwhile, and there’s an excellent restaurant on site.

7. Villa Nam Song

Boutique Hotel

42af6350 Villa Nam Song
Courtesy of Villa Nam Song / Expedia

This serene hotel stands amidst lush tropical gardens of orchids and bougainvillea on the town side of the river. Its fan-cooled pink adobe bungalows all look good, with dark-wood floors and furnishings, snug interiors and mosquito nets. The al fresco restaurant serves a fine mix of French and Lao dishes with a side order of river views, while the terrace is a favourite for sundowners as well as people-watching, as frequent boat tours depart from in front of the hotel.

8. Riverside Boutique Resort

Boutique Hotel

62ce39cd Riverside Boutique Resort
Courtesy of Riverside Boutique Resort / Expedia

Walk through the manicured grounds of this elegant French colonial property at twilight in order to properly appreciate the misty karst views from the pool sundeck. Tranquillity reigns in the high-ceilinged lodgings, each room tastefully decorated with hand-embroidered textiles and artefacts from Laos’ ethnic groups; the suites do the trick with wrap-around balconies and river views. Traditional Lao dishes and local coffee are stars at the on-site restaurant, and you can soak away the day’s adventures at the traditional herbal spa.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Regina Beach.

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