Vang Vieng dining scene usually consists of small restaurants run in a laid-back style, local markets, and food stalls dotting the streets. Aside from traditional Laotian dishes, you can enjoy Thai, Chinese, and Indian food, as well as simple western cuisine – mostly found in the town centre. Some of the best things to eat in Van Vieng include grilled river fish, stir-fried noodles, skewered meat, and sticky rice.
Vang Vieng nightlife is relatively tame, even though this city was once notorious for its ‘shroom special shakes’. It’s much more common to chill out at the bar with beers and live music than partying in Laos – most bars stay open until late despite the country’s midnight curfew. Beerlao is served in most Vang Vieng restaurants, though another popular drink among backpackers is a plastic bucket filled with ice, liquor, and soft drinks.
Vang Vieng isn’t exactly famous for shopping as travellers often visit this city for relaxing, hiking, and water sports. You can find a few places that sell more than postcards to send home, while the local market lets you shop for fresh produce, beautiful Lao textile, and woven baskets. There are several family-run shops selling swimsuits, shorts, caps, hats and flip-flops, most of which open quite early in the day.