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Itinerary advice needed 22days Laos&Cambodia

  • kif

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd July, 2010
    Posts: 8

    1 Vientiane
    2 Vientiane
    3 Vientiane - Vang Vieng
    4 Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang
    5 Luang Prabang
    6 Luang Prabang
    7 Luang Prabang - Phonsovan
    8 Phonsovan - Vientiane
    9 Vientiane - Savannakhet
    10 Savannakhet - Pakse
    11 Pakse
    12 Pakse
    13 Si Phan Don
    14 Si Phan Don
    15 Si Phan Don - Kratie
    16 Kratie- Kampong Cham
    17 Kampong Cham - Phnom Phen
    18 Phnom Phen - Siem Riep
    19 Siem Riep
    20 Siem Riep
    21 Siem Riep - Bangkok
    22 Bangkok

    Is this too much? Should i add/skip something? Too long in 1 place?
    All suggestions are welcome!

    #1 Posted: 21/10/2010 - 20:41

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  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2396
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    hi kif,

    i think this is too much for such a short time. in places like laos, travel times are very slow. from the intinerary you have, you'll be spending about half of your waking hours getting from place to place.

    two quick suggestions might be to cut out the side trip to phonsavanh, and work in a flight within laos - possibly even a long one like luang prabang all the way down to pakse. otherwise, you'll be spending your entire holiday in a bus, which is no fun at all......

    #2 Posted: 22/10/2010 - 03:30

  • kif

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd July, 2010
    Posts: 8

    Thx for the advice!
    In stead of the loop Vientiane -VangVieng-LP-Phonsovan-Vientiane
    this:
    Vientiane-->flight to LP --> Phonsovan --> Vang Vieng --> Vientiane
    This saves me a day, not?
    And eventually a flight Vientiane - Pakse.

    But... will my girlfriend have good reasons for NOT stepping into a Lao plane?

    #3 Posted: 22/10/2010 - 16:39

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    "But... will my girlfriend have good reasons for NOT stepping into a Lao plane?" Why? Is your girlfriend so objectionable they won't let her on a plane?

    By the way I agree with Exacto; there is too much travelling in your itinerary. Chill out a little. I mean, you are note even staying one day in Savannakhet. I might cut the 4000 islands.

    #4 Posted: 22/10/2010 - 20:06

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2396
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    the short answer is no, your girlfriend will not have good reason to avoid Lao Airlines. unfortunately, there are some folks who persist in spreading false rumours about Lao Airlines, but none of that bad info is based on facts.

    if you are interested, i wrote a feature article back in 2006 on Lao Airlines and Travelfish updated the article last year. it is at: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/50

    if your girlfriend still isn't convinced even after reading this article and all the positive follow-on comments from other Travelfishers, i suppose you could always get a new girlfriend. (smile)

    #5 Posted: 22/10/2010 - 21:42

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    Less is more...pick out the places you really want to see i.e. LP, Angkor and cut your itinerary in half.

    My suggestion is to spend a couple of days in Vientiane, bus (12hrs) or fly to LP and spend a few days, fly to Pakse and spend a week around the 4000 islands, Bolaven plateau, then head straight to Phnom Penh, spend a few days, head to Siem Reap, spend a few days, then a few days in BKK at the end.

    If you had extra time you could always head down to Sihanoukville for some beach time before heading up to Siem Reap.

    Your first itinerary had you traveling 7 of the first 10 days, your GF will love getting on a plane after that.

    #6 Posted: 22/10/2010 - 22:31

  • kif

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd July, 2010
    Posts: 8

    Many thanks for the helpful replies!
    According to the suggestions i've made some changes:
    (and convinced the girlfriend :-) )

    1 Vientiane
    2 Vientiane
    3 Vientiane - Luang Prabang (flight)
    4 Luang Prabang
    5 Luang Prabang - Phonsovan (8h)
    6 Phonsovan
    7 Phonsovan - Vang Vieng (6h)
    8 Vang Vieng - Vientiane (3h) - Pakse (sleeper bus)
    9 Pakse
    10 Pakse
    11 Pakse - Si Phan Don (3.5h)
    12 Si Phan Don
    13 Si Phan Don - Kratie (6h)
    14
    15 Kratie
    16 Kratie - Phnom Phen
    17 Phnom Phen
    18 Phnom Phen - Siem Riep
    19 Siem Riep
    20 Siem Riep
    21 Siem Riep - Bangkok
    22 Bangkok

    And got one spare day!
    (the few hours in vang vieng doesn't bother me)

    Any suggestions for the spare day?

    #7 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 00:59

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    It still seems like a lot of time on buses/flights but to each his own.

    You could always add a day in BKK at the end to do some shopping. I also don't know that i would spend anytime in Kratie unless you are really keen on seeing dolphins in the river. Personally I'd rather have the time in the 4000 islands, LP, Siem Reap, PP, BKK.

    I believe you can see dolphins around the 4000 islands as well.

    The sleeper bus from Vientiane to Pakse was not a very restful experience for us. There are different buses and I have a feeling that we didn't get one of the better ones.
    I am not much for overnight travel as even if I am flying biz class to Asia I don't get a lot of sleep such that the first day is a write-off.

    Here is a link to our trip on the overnight bus from Pakse to Vientiane in May 2009.

    http://mekong.kuchtaworld.net/2009/05/so-tired.html

    #8 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 01:12

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    Miles too much travelling for me. The overnight bus as smkutcha says, is not comfortable. Good luck to getting any sleep. I would seriously pare it further. How about Cambo another time?

    #9 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 14:12

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    smkuchta, just read your blog. There are 600,000 people in Vientiane, not 250,000.

    #10 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 14:18

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  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    Thanks Rufus. The confusion might be between the city population vs the metro population. Most publications put the city population at over 200k (i.e. wiki, LP etc) while the metro population is quoted at 600-800k people.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/shop_pickandmix/previews/laos-6-vientiane-around-preview.pdf

    #11 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 21:35

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    Don't believe everything you read in Wikipedia. As far as Laos is concerned, I find it a really poor source.

    #12 Posted: 24/10/2010 - 13:32

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 726
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    #7:
    if you don't care much for Vang Vieng, & now that your girlfriend has been convinced, you could simply fly from Phonsavan to VTE, &/or VTE-Pakse. time saved could be spent in Luang Prabang.

    #11:
    apart from city vs. metro, think there's also 'official' vs. 'unofficial'? there are quite a number of Lao people who've moved there to work/study/live with relatives/friends but did not register with local authorities (on paper they are still residing in their home district/province), much like the 'floating population' of internal migrants in China. & this is just for Lao people...the number of mainland Chinese in VTE has also been rising.

    #13 Posted: 24/10/2010 - 15:03

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    #12. LOL thanks for the "advice" Rufus. Should I not believe LP as well since they say the same thing?

    #13. I agree that populations in some of these countries aren't very accurate, but honestly don't care either, I simply referred to what Lonely Planet had as the population.

    Either way VTE is one of the quietest capital cities in the world at least in my humble opinion.

    #14 Posted: 25/10/2010 - 02:38

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    In my opinion Lonely Planet is a really poor guidebook. The newest editions are out of date as soon as they are published and there are numerous errors. The information on this site is far more accurate. Agree that Vientiane is quiet if you don't know where to look. We like it that way.

    #15 Posted: 25/10/2010 - 16:39

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    Yep we were pleasantly surprised with Vientiane and enjoyed it immensely. Some good restaurants, nice atmosphere not a must see but definitely a pleasant place to spend a few days.

    #16 Posted: 25/10/2010 - 23:08

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