Vang Vieng is a small town in Laos, half-way between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. It is a great spot to relax for a few days and try outdoor activities like trekking, rock climbing, and of course tubing in the Nam Song river.

For years, Vang Vieng had the reputation of having some of the wildest parties in Asia. It was an essential stop on the 2000's backpacker party trail just like Koh Phangan, Kuta, Goa or Koh Rong. 

(Un)fortunately, those days of unrestricted fun are almost over. In 2011, at least 27 travelers died, often from the combination of drinking + tubing. Facing international scrutiny and complaints from residents, the Lao government decided to crack down on the craziest aspects of the nightlife. It limited the number of bars on the riverside, imposed curfews and made a few drug-related arrests.

Vang Vieng nightlife today is certainly not the debauchery it used to be, but it has not completely died yet. Along the river, the two bars allegedly owned by the local police chief are - what a surprise - still standing. Recreational drugs are still easily available (mushrooms, laughing gas, marijuana, opium) and every night you still have at least two hundred backpackers filling up the bars in the city center.

Most of them are westerners in their early 20s on a gap year. I was also surprised to see many Asians, especially young Koreans. They all indulge in heavy binge drinking, similar to what you could experience during summer festivals or student parties.

I stayed two nights in Vang Vieng and that was more than enough to check all the nightlife spots. Below is a short summary of my findings.

Vang Vieng Nightlife Guide

Nightlife Areas in Vang Vieng - Hotels Near the Nightlife
Almost all bars in Vang Vieng are located in the city center within just a few streets. Sakura bar is the most crowded, and the other ones are within 100-200 meters.

If you come to Vang Vieng specifically for partying and meeting people, you may consider staying in a party hostel such as:

Nana Backpacker Hostel: The top party hostel in Vang Vieng. It has a loud bar downstairs with a swimming pool. Free alcohol after 6pm until 11pm. Double room for 20 dollars. Dormitory 4-5 dollars.

Real Backpacker Hostel 1 and Vang Vieng Freedom View Hostel: Both are clean, next to the bars and they organize a fun pub crawl every night. Several guests complained on Agoda of sexual activity in the dorms. Double room for 20 dollars. Bunk bed 5-6 dollars.

Vang Vieng CentralPark: This is where I was staying. Not a party hotel but it's new and very central. 22 dollars for a double room. Decent Wi-Fi.

Best Bars and Clubs in Vang Vieng

Beer shotguns in Sakura
Sakura is where the party starts in Vang Vieng. Many of the bartenders and staff are foreigners so it really feels like a college house party. They give free drinks every night from 8PM to 9PM, followed by a happy hour until 10PM. A beer is 10,000 kip, a glass of spirits 30,000 kip. The idea is to get as drunk as possible in 2 hours for less than 20$. If you buy enough drinks, you get one of their famous T-shirt "drink triple, see double, act single".

Once Sakura gets really packed around 11PM, it is more of a nightclub than a bar. People go crazy on the podium, couples start to make out, and sweaty guys will tell you they're your best friends.

At midnight, the bar closes! It takes about 15 minutes for people to get out and 30 more for them to leave the street. Many will just move to the next available bar, Viva.

More information (events, photos, etc): Sakura Bar Vang Vieng

Viva Vang Vieng
Even though Viva has free beer from 10PM to 11PM and a happy hour until 11.30PM (half price on all drinks), it does not get crowded until Sakura closes at midnight. It is a short walk away yet more than half the people do not make it. The banana pancake sellers are partly responsible for this.

Viva is a messy, borderline dirty bar with a small outdoor section and an indoor club. Nothing fancy, it's just 4 walls, loud music and a podium. This is not a place anyone would normally enjoy but it is fine if you've had enough beers.

Popular bar and restaurant, especially at dinner time. Good and cheap pub fare. Friendly service and owner. Live music. You can watch sports and play pool.

If you want to avoid the rowdy backpacker party scene, this is a better option than the two venues mentioned above.

Vang Vieng Friday Jungle Party
Since COVID-19, this event has been put on hold. They used to happen about 10 minutes from the town center by tuk-tuk. Tickets were 30,000-40,000 kip and the music was anything but EDM (techno, drum & bass, deep house, breakbeat, ..). If it ever comes back, I'll write about it (or you can leave a comment below).

Drugs in Vang Vieng
Drugs in Vang Vieng are sold quite openly. You will see several coffee shops and bars with "Magic Shakes" (mushrooms + opium = 100,000 kip), "Happy Pizzas" (pizza + weed) or "Laughing Balloons" (nitrous oxide = 10,000 kip) on the menu. It is often cheaper than getting drunk, but I can't recommend you to try anything.

If you are curious and willing to go against my sound advice, the following bar will have everything you need:

Full Moon Bar
Psychedelic bar with reggae music and a totally relaxed vibe. As you can see on the photo above, they are very explicit about selling cannabis.

It is located by the river and not really crowded. Pool table. Friendly owner. Another bar called Jaydee is about 50 meters further down the road and it offers a similar setting (and similar products).

Dating in Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng is quite an easy place to meet other travelers, especially young Europeans and Koreans/Chinese/Indians. However, dating apps don't work very well (unless you are a girl), so it's best to socialize during the day in one of the party hostels or cafés mentioned above. If you do any activities, especially tubing, you will certainly meet girls or guys that you can party with in the evening.

5 comments to '' Vang Vieng Nightlife (Laos) - Updated (2023) "

  1. "When you'll see them on the dance floor, you will already have half the job done for you (alcohol will do the second part)."

    What a disgusting bullish t. Did ur mother raise u talking about woman like that?

    1. Alcohol is known to suppress psychological barriers and therefore it makes it much easier for couples to form. I don't see why this would be bullshit and why this would be disgusting.

      I imagine that you interpret my words as if I was advising guys to take advantage of drunk women. It shows your bullshit vision of women as fragile beings who are unable to make decisions for themselves and who constantly need protection.

      I partied in Vang Vieng and my memory is that women were just as aggressive as men when it came to finding a partner.

  2. Thibaud. I can confirm your article as very informative and exactly to the recently facts of Vang Vieng. And you're right with your reply to the comment on February 3,2018.
    Good job!!

  3. One of the best articles I have found on Vang Vieng nightlife. Wanted to let you know that Room 101 is closed now and they are not active with organizing the Jungle Party. I reached out to DJ for them on FB and they informed me of the change.