The original name of Vieng Thong (ວຽງທອງ) was Muang Hiam, a Tai Daeng word meaning 'Watch Out'. Back when tigers roamed the surrounding forests it was relevant, but these days barely a dozen survive in the enormous Nam Et/Phou Louey NPA, on whose vast doorstep Vieng Thong sits. While the town is highly forgettable, the park is not and should be visited through the Nam Et/Phou Louey NPA office at Vieng Thong Visitor's Center.
Vieng Thong has a clutch of guesthouses and food stalls, and if you're travelling between Nong Khiaw and Sam Neua, stopping here for a night makes the 10-hour journey more palatable. The dazzling green rice fields around town are photogenic and short walks or bicycle rides can take you to pretty Tai Daeng, Hmong and Khamu villages.