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Vang Vieng

Eat and meet

Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng has dozens of restaurants-cum-TV-bars where travellers weary from tubing and trekking sit and do little more than stare vacantly at TVs, eat cheap Western food and slurp Beerlao. If mediocre burgers, pizzas, fried rice, pasta, salads and soups are to your liking, then take your pick from the 20 or so restaurants on the main strip offering the same cuisine and prices. Often the only thing differentiating them is whether they're playing Friends, Simpsons or Family Guy. Fortunately, some more interesting options are dotted around town.

Kangaroo Sunset Restaurant and Bar is a great little spot for watching the magnificent Vang Vieng sunset while snacking on a tasty burger and sipping on a cold beer. What really sets this place apart is the bright and breezy pavilion -- a perfect place to chill. A pool table is free to use and there are some groovy beats on the sound system too. A top spot with a Western influence. Open 08:00-midnight

B&P Restaurant is a good choice if you're sick of the Family Guy and Friends and looking for some decent Lao and Western food. The Lao food we tried was quite respectable and pizzas on previous visits were better than average. This place is quite popular and at meal times you might have to wait a little while to get your food. Open 07:00-230:0

The Aussie Bar is famous in Vang Vieng for serving big portions of Western food to Western standards alongside ice cold beer. The menu is actually a lot more complete than that with a huge section of tasty Asian dishes on offer as well. The Aussie Bar's theme is a bit of an anomaly in Vang Vieng and its vibe is shared perhaps only by Gary's Irish Bar just up the road. The punters love this place because of the quality of the produce and the vibe, which is a mix between party central and low-key hangout spot. Great burgers, steaks and chips. 07:30-23:45

Luang Prabang bakery wants to be good, but it's not. It's an extremely popular place at breakfast with a large selection of cakes, pastries and Western breakfasts all delightfully devoured by the masses every morning. The problem is that the food is mediocre at best and people come here because there aren't too many fantastic breakfast options in town. The food is inoffensive, however, and the environment is quite relaxing. Centrally located on the road which leads down to the river. Open 07:00-22:00

Nazim on the main road is a fairly average Indian restaurant that has nothing on the Nisha chain located around Laos. In fact, we thought the food lacked love, tasted mass produced and was devoid of flavour. All your favourites are on the menu though, including bone-dry chicken tikka masala, malai kofta as hard as golf balls and biriyani that was more like stir-fried beans with rice sprinkled on top. Still, if you're desperate for Indian food, come and check this place out. It's not all bad, but it's not all good either. T: (023) 511 214

Sababa has a cosmopolitan menu featuring European, Israeli, Italian and Japanese food. Signs on the wall are written on by Israeli tourists proclaiming their love for mama and papa who run the restaurant, and the falafel pitas and schwarmas here don't disappoint. If you're Israeli, you must visit Sababa. If you're not, give it a go anyway because the food is different from the Vang Vieng standard and tastes great. Dishes here a slightly more expensive than most in town.

Sakura has developed a menu to suit the tastes of the party scene, but it could do with a revamp now that the party in Vang Vieng is almost non-existent. There is a pool table and table tennis table which are both popular. A roll the dice game is also on offer where you can win a free bucket if you roll the correct number. Sadly, the once popular Sakura is living in the Vang Vieng of old and customer numbers are dwindling. A word of advice – pass on the club sandwich. Open till late.

River Sunset Restaurant on the river road downriver from the centre of town is worth a visit due to its different vibe -- groovy music, cheap but funky fit out and some good food. The menu is expansive as with every other place in town offering tasty pizzas, some decent breakfast options and an array of Asian dishes. Prices are ever so slightly lower than the tourist average and the quality definitely better. River Sunset is a worthwhile choice. Open 07:30-23:00

Vang Vieng Organic Farm, formerly the Organic Mulberry Farm, is a fabulous place for a meal -- perhaps the best in Vang Vieng. Ultra-fresh produce, an organic philosophy and food that is tasty, healthy and moreish. The yellow harvest curry is superb as are the spring rolls and the mango sticky rice. Thirsty? You have to try the mulberry juice. Sadly this place is rarely busy, but it should be because it's magnificent. Perhaps the main reason it doesn't get many visitors is because of its location four kilometres north of Vang Vieng directly next to the tubing start point. Prices here are great for the quality on offer and cheaper than some of the generic places in town. Worth a trip in its own right. Open: 07:30-21:00

The Rising Sun or Gary's Irish Bar as it's more commonly known these days serves up tasty Irish and other European food in a great little two-storey shack. They've got a couple of free pool tables and a darts board to pass away the time with, however, most people usually come here for a cheap meal, a beer and to socialise. It's not the party central that it once was, but it is a good place to come and wind down after a hard day kayaking, tubing or cycling.

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