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Overland Luang Prabang to Vientiane.

  • mangie

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2006
    Posts: 14

    G'Day,
    We are Travelling Overland Luang Prabang to Vientiane. with a night stop at Vang Viang.
    Best modes of transport, Please.
    Bus --Boat -- or car.????????????????????????????????????????????????
    Is it possible to do it by road as well as river?
    To anybody who has done it, please share experiences,
    Cheers.

    #1 Posted: 17/11/2006 - 22:27

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  • Laura_B

    Joined Travelfish
    30th June, 2006
    Posts: 54
    Total reviews: 12

    Well I went by minivan, not sure about other modes of transport though. The journey from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng is stunning, takes about 5 hours and is mostly through mountains, absolutely breath taking! From Vang Vieng to Vientiane it takes another 3 hours, the road is generally straight and not as interesting.

    #2 Posted: 17/11/2006 - 23:05

  • LancasterLad

    Joined Travelfish
    13th September, 2006
    Posts: 62

    We came the other way by VIP bus. For the extra dollar or so it's worth taking the minivan. Agree with Laura_B about the scenery, it's stunning practically all the way to Vang Vieng. Make sure the driver keeps his eye on the road though, cos it's a fun journey!

    #3 Posted: 19/11/2006 - 14:56

  • mangie

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2006
    Posts: 14

    To Laura_B & LancasterLad,
    Thanks for the info, guy's.
    I'll look for the VIP mini bus in Luang Prabang & travel in style.
    Found a great place to stay in Vang Vieng so it should be pretty cool.
    Thanks again for the help,
    Mike

    #4 Posted: 20/11/2006 - 16:36

  • roverinexile

    Joined Travelfish
    12th August, 2006
    Posts: 18

    Anyone done the trip (LP - Vientiane) in 1 day by bus/minivan? Is it realistic, or even worth considering flying?
    thx.

    #5 Posted: 21/11/2006 - 02:07

  • somtam2000

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    Rover,

    Trip takes around 9 hours -- people do it every day. Worth flying though if you don't want to spend 9-10 hours on a minibus

    #6 Posted: 21/11/2006 - 08:37

  • riki_nt

    Joined Travelfish
    19th September, 2006
    Posts: 2
    Total reviews: 9

    I would recommend NOT taking the minibus. It actually took us 7 hours from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng (as opposed to the 5 hours advertised) because of delays, stops, change of van etc. There was also no leg room - even I was struggling and I am only 5 foot 3 inches. Most people were very uncomfortable. I would recommend the VIP bus instead. We took this from Vang Vieng to Vientianne and it was much more comfortable, actually ran to the advertised time and is a bit cheaper.

    #7 Posted: 22/11/2006 - 13:08

  • mangie

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2006
    Posts: 14

    G'Day riki_nt,
    Thanks for the info. -- useful tip!!
    Can I pick the VIP bus up in Luang Prabang when I arrive there or do I need to book in advance?
    Cheers

    #8 Posted: 22/11/2006 - 17:02

  • dilakeman

    Joined Travelfish
    10th September, 2006
    Posts: 2
    Total reviews: 6

    I've recently travelled from Vientiane to Vang Vieng(Nov), and from there to Luang Prabang the next day. I would definitely recommend the minibus for both jouneys (try to get the front seat). I found that any road journey can be extended unduly for any reason, stops, delays etc, so if you have to get somewhere in a hurry, don't take any bus. I found that bus travel does not have to be booked more than the evening before travel.

    #9 Posted: 22/11/2006 - 17:32

  • LancasterLad

    Joined Travelfish
    13th September, 2006
    Posts: 62

    It comes down to paying your money and taking your chance. Both VIP buses we took from Vientiance to V V and V V to LP were rickety old relics, and people were sat on plastic seats in the aisle. Getting to the bus was by feeder van, and obviously if you got there first(ish) you got the pick of the seats. Most of the minivans I saw looked alright, but I suppose that people carrying excessive baggage can make it a cramped ride.

    Don't miss out on V V though. Stay a few days, and you'll really enjoy the area.

    #10 Posted: 26/11/2006 - 09:07

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  • longleat

    Joined Travelfish
    12th October, 2006
    Posts: 53

    HI Mangie,
    All the postings from LP toV are of interest to me. Also, you mentioned you found a great place to stay. What place to stay have you found? Thanks!

    #11 Posted: 27/11/2006 - 04:17

  • mangie

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2006
    Posts: 14

    Hi Longleat,
    Staying at the Apsara in Luang Prabang & the Thavonsouk in Vang Vieng.
    thavonsouk@hotmail.com
    All the best.

    #12 Posted: 27/11/2006 - 16:06

  • LancasterLad

    Joined Travelfish
    13th September, 2006
    Posts: 62

    In V V make sure you have a Mulberry Shake in the Organic Cafe.

    There is a good selection of guest houses within easdy walking distance of where the bus drops you off. We stayed at the Dok Khoun1, it was US$8 a night for a big double with a/c and bathroom. It was very clean and away from the noise on Pizza Street. Next to the Organic Cafe is a place called The Babylon. Had we not been content with where we were staying we'd have definately opted for there.

    All the pushbikes for hire in V V looked in good nick, are v.cheap and well worth getting out into the countryside on.

    #13 Posted: 27/11/2006 - 17:26

  • TessaW

    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2006
    Posts: 8

    I did once hear of some people who did it by river, via some really beautiful lakes (maybe Nam Ngum???) and I think they either camped or did a basic homestay. I am not sure of the details but this seems to be a really different way of doing things ... everyone else just takes the bus.

    #14 Posted: 28/11/2006 - 01:03

  • sylvia

    Joined Travelfish
    7th October, 2006
    Posts: 4

    Hi All

    Need help on travelling from Siem Reap to Vientiane via Vang Vieng and then on to Luang Prabang. Does anyone know anything about Lao Aviation? Happy to take VIP Bus. What do you think??

    #15 Posted: 28/11/2006 - 15:25

  • mangie

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2006
    Posts: 14

    G'Day Sylvia,
    We are planning to do the same trip the opposite way -- LP to SR as follows: Taxi/bus Vientiane to Nong Khong -- Over night sleeper to Bangkok (arr. 05.45am) -- sky train across the city to the Northern bus terminal -- Bus to Aranyaprathet --tuk tuk to the border -- Taxi to Siem Reap (try & share this as its $45) Turn the trip around & there you have it.
    Its the long way comparerd to flying but at least you get to see a bit of the country. Enjoy the journey.

    #16 Posted: 28/11/2006 - 17:43

  • sylvia

    Joined Travelfish
    7th October, 2006
    Posts: 4

    Thanks, sounds great. Do you know how safe it is to fly with LAO AVIATION??

    #17 Posted: 29/11/2006 - 02:42

  • Thai_Tripper

    Joined Travelfish
    9th April, 2005
    Posts: 2
    Total reviews: 2

    My understanding is that LAO Aviation safety record is not that hot.
    When we went from BKK to SiemReap and on, last year we found the bus to be OK (as long as the roads are dry !!!) and the border crossing was easy.
    As Mangie says go overland you really see the country.

    #18 Posted: 1/12/2006 - 17:57

  • somtam2000

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    Sylvia - Lao Aviation is reasonably ok -- they're not perfect, but then not many airlines are. We've got a story about them here.

    #19 Posted: 1/12/2006 - 22:01

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
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    Sylvia,

    I've flown Lao Airways many times and would have no concerns about doing so again. Nothing is 100% safe, but if you compare flying around Laos to other forms of transport, such as taking the bus or riverboats, then flying starts to look even better by comparison.

    Read the feature that Somtam linked above and see what you think.

    Also, you've got me confused on taking the bus from Siem Reap to VTE via Vang Vieng. If you are planning to stop off in Vang Vieng, then you might as well continue by bus to Luang Prabang. For the extra few dollars that it costs, the VIP bus is very much worth the cost. Cheers.

    #20 Posted: 2/12/2006 - 10:26

  • longleat

    Joined Travelfish
    12th October, 2006
    Posts: 53

    Is it feasible to hire a car with driver from LP to VV? Any idea of the cost? Also can we hire a car with driver from VV to Vietienne? Cost? Since we are three people traveling, sometimes it is cost effective to get the car instead of a bus. What do you think? Many thanks!

    #21 Posted: 4/12/2006 - 03:27

  • LancasterLad

    Joined Travelfish
    13th September, 2006
    Posts: 62

    Hi Longleat

    Don't know, but it sounds an A1 idea. The journey between LP and V V has endless superb scenery, though if you are driving you'll need to keep your eyes on the road! That said, I'd go for a self-drive if possible, do a bit of research and take two or three days to do the journey as there's probably lots to see off the main road, and I did notice the odd guesthouse along the way. The trip between V V and Vientiane is unremarkable in comparison.

    #22 Posted: 5/12/2006 - 21:45

  • puneh

    Joined Travelfish
    1st December, 2006
    Posts: 4

    I had read in a Laos guide book that the road from VV to LP is not very safe due to rebels and drug trafficking.. Can anyone comment?

    #23 Posted: 10/12/2006 - 11:35

  • puneh

    Joined Travelfish
    1st December, 2006
    Posts: 4

    I had read in a Laos guide book that the road from VV to LP is not very safe due to rebels and drug trafficking.. Can anyone comment?

    #24 Posted: 10/12/2006 - 11:36

  • puneh

    Joined Travelfish
    1st December, 2006
    Posts: 4

    I had read in a Laos guide book that the road from VV to LP is not very safe due to rebels and drug trafficking.. Can anyone comment?

    #25 Posted: 10/12/2006 - 11:36

  • Manticore

    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2006
    Posts: 67
    Total reviews: 3

    I read that in a guide book too. I took the road from LP to VV last April and only found out once I was enroute. I heard the previous year a bus full of ppl were sprayed with machine gun fire and a couple of tourists on pushbikes who saw the whole thing copped a bullet each too. Well thats the story given to me..

    that said, i wouldnt hesitate taking that road again!

    #26 Posted: 12/12/2006 - 20:44

  • g13john

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd February, 2010
    Posts: 1

    hi there i am going to luang praabang on around the 1st november, i am going to fly from bangkok, does anybody think it would be wise to book accomodation for my route thats going to take me from LB to vang vien for a few days then down to vantiene, i much prefer looking round instead of booking ahead, (i do in thailand anyway) but i have never been to laos so any advice would be great..
    thanks

    #27 Posted: 22/2/2010 - 02:08

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    I wouldn't bother booking ahead, looking around is a better plan. There are loads of accomodation options in Luang Prabang , Vang Vieng and Vientiane. Might be a good idea to find a few on travelfish that look good then check them out in person. If your flight arrives after dark in Luang Prabang then it might be a good idea to do some research before you arrive. I saw quite a few groups of people arriving in the evening, looking lost, wondering which direction to head in for accomodation.

    Hope that helps

    #28 Posted: 22/2/2010 - 03:11

  • loominpapa

    Joined Travelfish
    15th June, 2011
    Posts: 1

    We heard a few rumours about the bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane being dangerous so asked a local guide. He told us that it isn't safe in the rainy season and to fly instead. Apparently three weeks ago 700 vehicles ended up stuck because of a large landslide which happen quite regularly at this time of year. As much as I hate to fly it does seem like the better option when it's chucking it down.

    #29 Posted: 30/7/2011 - 17:40

  • sylvia

    Joined Travelfish
    7th October, 2006
    Posts: 4

    This is not a good time of the year to travel in the area. However, it seems that Laos Air is your option if roads are blocked due to land slides. We hired a private driver from Vientienne to Luang Prabang and stopped at Vang Vieng along the way.. It was fantastic, four of us shared the cost and it was very reasonable, comfortable, air conditioned, clean and very informative. I would love to do it again, but not at this time of the year. December, January, February are good. So I guess your only option is to fly, or go at a different time of the year. Hope this helps your dilemma. Cheers.

    #30 Posted: 30/7/2011 - 22:01

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1583

    There's a tropical depression hitting the region right now and extra heavy rain always means landslides in the hilly north of Laos. Be prepared for delays of an hour or even a day if roads are blocked. Gorgeous drive but sitting by the roadside waiting for something to happen kind of sucks. Lao people are used to it, but they probably don't have fixed travel plans. Fly if you want to be sure.

    #31 Posted: 1/8/2011 - 18:25

  • chopin

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2007
    Posts: 154
    Total reviews: 2

    Hi Sylvia, can you let us know the price of the private driver? a contact number would be greater if you highly recommend his service.

    #32 Posted: 17/8/2011 - 16:38

  • sylvia

    Joined Travelfish
    7th October, 2006
    Posts: 4

    Sorry I don't have this information any longer as we did this trip in 2006 and I'm sure a lot of things have changed. In Vientiane we went to a few travel agencies as well as contacted three private drivers and chose one after we spoke with him for a while. We were lucky with the driver we picked out, he spoke English, his car was air conditioned and it was very clean. To us it was worth every single cent. But do remember we were there in December- January. NO RAIN! Good luck. .

    #33 Posted: 17/8/2011 - 20:31

  • emileye

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2011
    Posts: 1

    Hi Sylvia,

    Thanks for the useful information. May I ask, how long did you stay in VV? We would love to go but just don't have much time, and I didn't know whether spending a few hours/half a day tubing and enjoying the scenery would be worth it. We were planning to fly from Bangkok to LP then travel overland (hopefully with a private driver as you did if they are still available!) to Vientiane and pass by VV.

    #34 Posted: 23/11/2011 - 07:00

  • Dyno

    Joined Travelfish
    24th April, 2012
    Posts: 6

    Hi all,

    Don't mind I hijack this thread for a quick question... :)

    Can i know the bus schedule and total traveling time from Luang Prabang to Vientiane ? There seems to have a 1930 bus and it will take 7 hours to Vientiane, can someone verify this?

    I am going to catch a flight out of Vientiane at 0830 in the morning and will not mind spending some hours at Vientiane airport :)

    #35 Posted: 17/5/2012 - 05:37

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    Hi Dyno - I knew that one of the regular posters had a link in their signature, but I couldn't remember who! After a bit of digging around, I came across this thread that has various bus timetable links:

    http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/8507_my-northern-laos-trip--beginning-to-end

    Not sure how current or helpful they are, but it's a start!

    #36 Posted: 17/5/2012 - 05:50

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    Hi Dyno - I knew that one of the regular posters had a link in their signature, but I couldn't remember who! After a bit of digging around, I came across this thread that has various bus timetable links:

    http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/8507_my-northern-laos-trip--beginning-to-end

    Not sure how current or helpful they are, but it's a start!

    #37 Posted: 17/5/2012 - 05:50

  • msimojoki

    Joined Travelfish
    18th September, 2011
    Posts: 11

    Hi all,
    I'll be in Luang Prabang in July 2012 and want to travel to Hanoi. I've heard the horror bus stories but am looking for alternatives to flying. Any ideas out there? thanks, MikeS

    #38 Posted: 18/5/2012 - 22:14

  • TonyM

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd May, 2012
    Posts: 29

    Hi guys,

    Thinking of a boat ride from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, is it possible if so how, would you do it, how long does it take or am I best going overland to take in Vang Vieng, time of year, mid July.

    Thanks in advance,

    #39 Posted: 15/6/2012 - 21:18

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