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  • dj9900

    Joined Travelfish
    15th August, 2010
    Posts: 4

    This is my first posting in Travelfish

    We intend to visit Vietnam and Laos in Dec 2010. We will be crossing over from Vietnam into Laos via Dien Bien Phu. Can anyone recommend a customised tour operator in Laos

    We intend to visit Muang SIng, Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane.

    We are Singaporean. Do we require any visa for entering into Laos?

    Many thanks in advance

    #1 Posted: 15/8/2010 - 14:37

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  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 724
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    Singapore passport holders do not need any visa to enter Laos, unless staying for longer than 30 days.

    not idea what's your comfort level when it comes to road conditions - have you travelled by van on the unpaved road to Chek Jawa on Pulau Ubin before? the Laos section of the Dien Bien Phu - Muang Khua road isn't in great condition. work on paving it has started, but as usual progress is very slow, & a lot of the work gets 'undone' during the rainy season. don't know if it's possible to arrange for a private vehicle (preferably 4WD) for this route...& there's only 1 (usually crowded) ordinary bus per day.

    don't know about tour operators. but perhaps you could get in touch with the people behind mylaohome.com - they are Singaporean & should have a good idea of what most Singaporeans expect ;)

    #2 Posted: 15/8/2010 - 20:06

  • dj9900

    Joined Travelfish
    15th August, 2010
    Posts: 4

    Thanks for the info 'Wanderingcat'. Your information make me rethink the route going into Laos. Right now I am going through some of the postings in this forum and consider a free & easy tour instead of a guided tour.

    #3 Posted: 17/8/2010 - 21:59

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 724
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    rainy season condition of road between Tay Trang & Muang Khua:
    http://johnnyvagabond.com/crazy-stories/welcome-to-laos/

    (thanks to Captn Bob for the link)

    #4 Posted: 18/8/2010 - 00:13

  • dj9900

    Joined Travelfish
    15th August, 2010
    Posts: 4

    Thanks once again 'Wandering cat' for the info. I am convince not to go by Dien Bien Phu into Laos.

    Right now, my plan is as follow: -

    (a) Fly to Bangkok
    (b) Overnight sleeper train to Nong Khai
    (c) Vientiane to Luang Prabang (by flight)
    (d) Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha (by bus)
    (e) Luang Namtha to Muang Sing (to and fro - by bus)
    (e) Luang Namtha to Vang Vieng (by bus)
    (f) Vang Vieng to Vientiane (by bus)
    (g) Train to Bangkok

    Can advice on the following: -
    (a) road condition for the above bus journey (is it just as bad as those from Dien Bien Phu to Laos)
    (b) Going in the month of Dec 10, do I have to book hotel/guesthouse in advance?

    Thanks in advance

    #5 Posted: 21/8/2010 - 19:34

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1563

    Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha by bus uses main route 13 which is sealed road all the way, but there are defintely a lot of potholes in sections. Nothing to worry about though, the bus just clunks right through it and December is dry season. Luang Namtha to Muang Sing is a very good road, but you get to MS by songthaew (covered pickup taxi) rather than by bus. Then back down to Vientiane, again it's route 13 which is usually good just depends how much wet season damage there was earlier in the year and what's been cleared/repaired since. Should be just fine and nothing like in the johnnyvagabond link above.

    #6 Posted: 21/8/2010 - 20:26

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 724
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    (d) Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha (by bus)
    (f) Vang Vieng to Vientiane (by bus)
    (e) Luang Namtha to Muang Sing (to and fro - by bus)
    (e) Luang Namtha to Vang Vieng (by bus)


    as #6 said, the above roads are paved, althought not perfectly maintained. but far better than the unpaved roads in the video in #4.
    & the LNT-MS journey is by songthaew like this.

    for LNT-VV, the journey is ~15+h if there are no delays (LNT-Oudomxay = 4h, Oudomxay-LPB = 5h, LPB-VV = ~6-7h). you can take the LNT-Vientiane bus & ask to alight at VV (i.e. no change of bus), but the AM bus will reach VV close to midnight, while the afternoon bus will reach VV close to 6AM the next morning (but you'll spend a night on the bus). though the bus timetables may have since changed...see your luck.

    (b) Going in the month of Dec 10, do I have to book hotel/guesthouse in advance?

    depends on your budget, & what time of the day you will arrive in town. LPB can be very crowded around Dec 5 & 10 (Thai public holidays that usually stretch into a long weekend - many Thai tourists flood in), & also the last bit of Dec (Christmas to New Year), but if you arrive in the morning or afternoon you should still be able to find a decent place. Vientiane has plenty of new places in the USD20-30/night range, but many of the cheaper places are getting a bit old, again easier to find a decent place if arriving earlier in the day rather than late afternoon/evening. rest of the Lao towns you mentioned, should be no problem.

    btw if you are travelling between SIN & VTE, one option is to fly SIN-KUL (various airlines) & KUL-VTE by AirAsia.

    #7 Posted: 21/8/2010 - 23:11

  • dj9900

    Joined Travelfish
    15th August, 2010
    Posts: 4

    Thanks so much Wanderingcat and Captain Bob for the essential and useful information for the better planning of my trip.

    #8 Posted: 23/8/2010 - 21:37

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