Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Itinerary advice needed 22days Laos&Cambodia

Posted by kif on 21/10/2010 at 20:41

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 kif has been a member since 2/7/2010. Posts: 8

Posted by exacto on 22/10/2010 at 03:30

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 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,628
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Posted by kif on 22/10/2010 at 16:39

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 kif has been a member since 2/7/2010. Posts: 8

Posted by Rufus on 22/10/2010 at 20:06

"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 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by exacto on 22/10/2010 at 21:42

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 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,628
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Posted by smkuchta on 22/10/2010 at 22:31

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 smkuchta has been a member since 10/8/2007. Posts: 72
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Posted by kif on 23/10/2010 at 00:59

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 kif has been a member since 2/7/2010. Posts: 8

Posted by smkuchta on 23/10/2010 at 01:12

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 smkuchta has been a member since 10/8/2007. Posts: 72
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Posted by Rufus on 23/10/2010 at 14:12

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 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by Rufus on 23/10/2010 at 14:18

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

#10 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by smkuchta on 23/10/2010 at 21:35

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 smkuchta has been a member since 10/8/2007. Posts: 72
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Posted by Rufus on 24/10/2010 at 13:32

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

#12 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by wanderingcat on 24/10/2010 at 15:03

#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 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by smkuchta on 25/10/2010 at 02:38

#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 smkuchta has been a member since 10/8/2007. Posts: 72
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Posted by Rufus on 25/10/2010 at 16:39

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 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by smkuchta on 25/10/2010 at 23:08

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 smkuchta has been a member since 10/8/2007. Posts: 72
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