Nam Xay Viewpoint in Vang Vieng is the best spot for one of Laos’s most breathtaking views. From the top, you will get unbeatable views of jagged limestone cliffs, lush forests and rice fields. After a 30 minute intermediate hike, you will reach the top, where you are almost guaranteed peace and quiet, as well as an amazing photo opportunity with a motorbike, which was mysteriously placed there by the locals. But before you start taking photos, catch your breath and relax in the hammock.
Best time to Visit
No matter the time of the year, the best time to visit Nam Xay Viewpoint is an hour or two before sunset. The heat isn’t as intense anymore and you’ll see a beautiful sunset from the top. Make sure you don’t stay too long after the sun goes down though, the hike down is scarier and more dangerous in the dark.
Good to know: If you’re the last person to make the hike down, the locals who keep track of all the visitors will wait on you.
How to get to Nam Xay Viewpoint
The easiest way to reach Nam Xay Viewpoint is by renting a motorbike. The cost is usually around $6-8 USD per day. From Vang Vieng town it will take you around 20 minutes to drive to the Nam Xay viewpoint parking lot. If you live on the right side of the stream (where the majority usually do), then you will have to pay a bridge-crossing-fee of $0,50 USD. This is a one-time fee for crossing and coming back. Keep that in mind and make sure to have change ready when you reach the Namsong Bridge.
WARNING: be careful when renting a motorbike in Vang Vieng. They will need your passport and often this can lead to a motorbike scam. A motorbike scam is where they ask you which hotel you’re staying in and then they go there and damage or steal your rented motorbike. This results in them not giving you your passport back unless you pay them for the ‘damage’. Renting via hotel is a little more expensive, but you don’t need to give your passport to anyone. This is what we did and had no problems.
Once you reach the parking lot, you will see a wooden stand on the left side of the trail start. The entrance fee to Nam Xay Viewpoint is 10,000 KIP, which is around $1 USD.
You do not need a guide to do this hike. The path is well marked and you are not likely to get lost on your way up.
The hike to the top
Hiking to the top of Nam Xay point takes around 30 minutes and is intermediate to difficult, depending on your fitness level. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes, because it does get very steep and slippery at times. You will walk on stairs, mud and stones and the hike could be dangerous in bad weather. If you have one, I would also suggest you bring a small towel with you, Laos tends to be quite humid and this hike gets very sweaty. Don’t forget to bring water and a snack or two if you plan to stay on top for a longer time.
I’d say that the Nam Xay Viewpoint is best enjoyed with a can of beer or a bottle of water. This depends on how you like to celebrate 😉 We brought a couple of beers with us and decided to watch the sun go down while sipping on some Lao.
Nam Xay Viewpoint was one of my favourite things to do in Laos and I hope this guide helped you in your planning to visit it.